We visited Poldark mine at the end of October, a few days before it closed for the end of season and I have to say I was thoroughly disappointed. We arrived at around 10:30am as we had read on their site the first mine tour was at 11am. Our first impressions were not great, within the car park there were various cars, which I could only describe as old and abandoned. Things then only got worse, when we arrived there was no one on reception to purchase tickets for the tour, we waited but no one came, so we thought we would have a look around the rest of the site and come back. we walked around which only took about 10 minutes as there was nothing at all to look at apart from some models of mine equipment, rather than the real thing. Whilst walking around we saw one member of staff who did not look very happy and looked very unapproachable and another member of staff inside the pottery throwing centre looking after a baby, again looking very unapproachable. We then got back to the reception at about 10:45, still with no sign of life at all and no body around to ask. As there was nothing else to do apart from the mine tour, we left after only 15 minutes. This was certainly not worth the petrol cost to get here. Because of the disappointment, we then travelled to Penzance and visited Geevor mine, which was 200% better than Poldark, and I thoroughly recommend if you want a true mining experience you travel that extra distance and visit Geevor, we had a brilliant experience here, and they made you feel extremely welcome unlike Poldark!!!
This review is of the Poldark Tin Mine in Cornwall, a tourist attraction where you can take a tour down the mine to see what working there was like. The mine was formerly called the Wheal Roots mine, but was changed to Poldark after the books and television series, which was filmed here.
The attraction was opened in the 1970s, not as a mine, but as a site for the owner's steam engines and related exhibits. Only when developing an area for these did they break into the old tin mine workings, and substantial work began in opening this part of the site up to the public.
Firstly, I would say that this is one of the strangest tourist attractions that I've been to. Initial impressions were terrible, the location is under-staffed with no-one at the main desk, the staff that were there looked a little confused at what was going on, and visitors seemed unsure of where to go and what to do. Some people left thinking that sections of the site were closed, and they seemed somewhat disappointed.
But great things lie within. The mine tour is 9.50 pounds for an hour long tour of the mine, and I wondered whether it would be worth it given my first impressions. But, as I had traveled some distance, I thought that I should give it a try. The process was a little confused again, the guide was struggling with trying to do everything around the site, turning the volume up on televisions, showing visitors where to go, showing them where to buy tickets, and the tour was a little delayed.
The tour starts by selecting a safety hat and listening to an introduction by the guide, which lasted around ten minutes. He showed the weight of granite and tin, and explained the difference in weights, and how much had to be mined to get the tin that they wanted. He explained that the area had been mined for hundreds of years, and passed round some mineral examples to give examples of what he was talking about.
At this point, I would explain that the guide was superb. He was knowledgeable, interested and keen. He presented the tour in a way which was succinct, but also full of detail, and he managed to get across just how difficult it was for those who worked in these mines. He appeared genuine and keen about his tour, and he did well, very well given the clear staffing issues the site had.
I had worried that health and safety would mean that the tour would be a little too watered down, and maybe not that exciting. But it was explained that once a site is registered as a mine, then it stays as such, and it is still registered as a mine today, and subject to mining law. The start was a sedate walk down into the mine, via a newly built passage-way, as before the miners would have climbed down vertical ladders.
And then the tour proper started. The tour was not as I had expected, it was better, much better. The tour went down steps, with water coming down, and the guide explained that usually visitors would be soaked through. There were a lot of steps, it felt like a mine, accessible but still a challenge. Some of the children struggled a little, but most looked like they were really enjoying it. Sections had been left quite low, and just those short sections gave an indication of the working conditions that tin miners had.
As there was a bit of a gap between those in front of me and those behind, I paused when walking down some of the metal steps, which were covered in water, and really felt for those people that had worked here. You could look up and down and see the sections where tin had been taken out, all in near vertical sections due to how the rock was formed. Those with vertigo would have struggled to work here, although they may have had very little choice.
But all of this is why I'm going to rate this place with full "marks". It got the atmosphere absolutely right, I can't say that I know how a tin miner felt working down the mine in the dark and wet for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, but the tour gave me the best indication possible of what it would be like. It gave pause for thought, especially amongst the children, as the guide reminded them that 8 year olds used to work down the mines, with the same hours as the adults working there.
No women worked down the mines, it was bad luck, but they worked at the mine head, with touch and difficult work. The men down the mines would have to walk for two or three miles each morning to get to work, down 150 feet using wet and slippery ladders, work 12 hours, then climb the ladders back up, and walk home. Day after day, for all their working lives. The average life expectancy we were told was 30 to 35 years old.
I left the tour feeling really satisfied with the experience, and very pleased that I had gone on it. The only downside was that some children were left out of control by their parents and were running around, it made it difficult to hear the guide in places, but that wasn't the location's fault. The guide tried to speak to them to engage them, but they didn't speak English, and the language barrier of being translated via their parents didn't seem to work, but the guide tried his best.
It was also interesting to know that the mine has the lowest post box in the UK, and you can post letters there and get them post marked with the Poldark Mine. The same room is also where weddings are held, a strange location, but definitely something a bit different! The location also hosts ghost tours if you fancy touring the mine for different purposes.
There is a museum, which is free to access, at the entrance to the mine tour, and this is comprehensive and useful. It's probably best to go on the mine tour before visiting this, as there is a lot of background knowledge explained on the tour, which makes the museum seem more relevant. The exhibits are interesting and some videos are playing to help give an understanding of the site.
The attraction does let itself down a little with some irrelevant attractions, such as gold mining and some rather expensive funfair games, which most irritate parents who see pounds being spent on them. They don't seem relevant to the site, they don't seem good value, and I personally would get rid of them. The mine tour is what this place does well, the rest isn't needed.
The site is expensive for a family, and the set-up means that you can buy a family ticket for the mine, which is an experience which should be had, but feel ripped off because of the other costs you will face with the rest of the unnecessary attractions, designed to make money from kids. I'd personally rather they just charged an entrance fee of the 9.50 pounds, including the mine tour, and made the other exhibits free. Given the number of people I saw walking away, paying nothing, I suspect they'd make more from doing it this way.
There are also the usual features at the site, a shop which is well stocked, although again under-staffed as the one staff member was busy trying to explain the site to visitors and sell tickets for the tours. There are toilets, an audio-visual hall, a cafe and some other buildings to have a wander around. You can see the old water wheel, some old steam engine parts and other various bits and pieces, although none of these are very substantial. There are also some picnic tables if you want to save some money by bringing in your own food instead of using the on-site cafe, and there is a good sized car park. The site isn't very well sign-posted, so check the route before leaving home, don't expect to rely on brown tourist attraction road signs to get you there.
Having checked the web-site of the site, at www.poldark-mine.co.uk, it says that they charge 2.50 pounds just for site entry. They didn't when I was there, and the guide said they don't. It's not clear, but I'd not recommend going if you're not going on the tour, until they sort the site itself out. The mine tour is 9.50 pounds for adults, 9 pounds for seniors, 6 pounds for children, but family tickets are available. I'm impressed that they do family tickets for 2 adults plus 1 child, a minor thought which many bigger sites fail to make the effort to do.
I'd advise contacting the site before you go if you're unclear on anything, as the web-site isn't really tallying with the experiences we had, and we did go on what could be a considered a busy school holiday. The site was relatively busy when we were there, but don't make too many arrangements without checking with them first, I'm not sure the web-site can be relied upon.
As to why I'm rating the location so highly, when there are so many problems, I'm rating the experience of the mine itself, which is their major attraction, and I'm prepared to ignore what I see as failings which relate to what to what appear to be other badly planned out attractions. Those with families might not be so forgiving as these other attractions may cost them money, but for me, I'm reviewing my experience of the site, but bear that in mind if you're trying to make the day cost effective.
Overall, the site looks run down, and seems to be run in a rather chaotic manner. But I'd personally suggest that you shouldn't let this put you off, because the mine tour is brilliantly atmospheric, it's interesting and really reminds you what Cornwall tin miners went through. That should be the point of this place, they do it well, and I hope they make the most of it. Highly recommended.
Well, Poldark Mine what can I say! I was very upset when me and my family visited last summer. A dead old theme park come tin Mine was what we found. Not much to do really but what could we do Flambards was closed for the day. Our only option was to come to Poldark and I have to say a poor decision which has left my son and my eldest daughter scared for life. But on the plus side, the chef Fred at the onsite cafe served up a great meal and saved the day! Cream teas and a lovely winter soup!! So in conclusion a mixed bunch.Susan Wright, from West Yorkshire
We have visiting many a museum or mine over the past few years, and on a recent trip to Cornwall, my wife and I decided that it might be a good idea to visit a Cornish Tin Mine. The mine we decided to visit was Poldark Tin Mine, this was because this is one of the few mines where you can see the workings of the Tin Mine underground. As far as I know there are only two tin mines in Cornwall which have an underground exhibit, one being Poldark and the other being Geevor Tim mine near to Lands End, however we chose Poldark as they have a pottery exhibition on the site as well. The mine is situated just off the B3047 in between Redruth and Helston, about 7 miles from Redruth. Its very easy to find, as once your almost there as its signposted from about 1 mile away. Entrance to the mine site is free and some of the attractions are free such as the museum which is described below. The main attraction of the Poldark Tin Mine is the mine tour itself. This costs £5.95 for adults and £3.75, however a family ticket can be bought for just £16.45. (Prices are correct as of July 2003) The mine tour is definitely not for the faint of heart, unfit, elderly or those of a larger frame as there are lots of steps going up and down and some of the passageways are very narrow or very short in places. The tour starts with a brief safety introduction which basically tells you to "wear your hat". This is a must as i´d only walked 20 metres and banged my head on the roof. The tour then takes you down into the mine to a depth of 100 feet through narrow, low and twisty passages, there is even a section where you go down several flights of stairs and the rock even interferes with your progress down these steps! All through the tour you are accompanied by a guide, ours guide was called "Robert" and the bloke was a few pints short of a full barrel, but he cracked jokes and helped people throughout and put others at easy as
they descended into the mine. Along the way Robert informed us about the mine, the miners and the workings of the mine. He also pointed out interesting Geological facts and answered any questions along the way. Making the tour extremely informative and amuzing. The Poldark Mine also has a post box underground where you can post letters and post cards to people and they will be specially stamped "posted underground at Poldark Tin Mine" Apparently its the only place in the UK with a underground Post Box. Not too sure how the Post Office go about emptying it as every postman I have ever met wouldn´t go to the trouble to empty this one! To sum up most of the Poldark mine site is entertaining, they have a museum which houses artefacts and items on the history of Tin mining at Poldark and Cornwall in general. They also have a beam engine which now works on electricity but originally was used to pump water from the mine. As you walk round the Poldark site there are a variety of machinery scattered around the site, these include a couple of steam engines. There are a few shops on the site which sell bits and bobs, a wood smith shop and a pottery, which was closed when we visited the first time. If your going to go and see a Tin mine and aren´t afraid to get a bit wet and dirty then Poldark is probably the closest thing to a real mine that I have been in, and I´ve visited Coal and slate mines. Update: Having recently returned off holiday in Cornwall, we deceided to visit the Poldark Mine again, as since we visited last year the mine has changed ownership. I am glad to say that the new owners have done a good job in expanding the mine and there is now a number of Craft shops such as painting and pottery where you can either watch the experts or have a go yourself for a price. The museum seemed a bit better since last time and the big water wheel was working this time :) The food at the
resta urant was very good and reasonably priced. My wife had the soup of the day and I had a Miners Bap (Bacon, Sausage and Egg) sandwich. We also had a Cornish Pastie between us which has to rate as one of the best we?ve had, this may have been because it was straight from the overn. (For the Best Pasties in Cornwall try Ann?s Pastie Shop, The Lizard Pasty Shops (Beacon Terrace, The Lizard, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7PB)) Excellent. We went on the mine tour once more and our guide again was the delectable Robert. The tour was excellent, more informative than last time, with more Corny jokes! but Robert was as helpful and entertaining as ever. If your in Cornwall and your stuck for something to do then I can heartly recommend the Poldark Tin Mine. Poldark Mine & Heritage Centre Wendron, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 0ER, Tel: 24 hour hotline 1326-563166, Enquiries 1326-573173. E-mail: email@example.com Web: http://www.poldark-mine.co.uk (you will need to sit about 600 feet away from your monitor, the font used on this site is massive!) © Mike Porter, Copyright 1999 ? 2003
Having visited Poldark mine for the second time in fourteen years, this time with my Sister and her two young children, I was dissapointed to find the removal of certain childrens attractions including but not limited to the plastic ball play pen. It seems that these childrens facilities have been replaced by a shop selling candles and giftware. Out in the grounds were the radio controlled boats costing 1 Cornish Penny (or the equivalent of 50 pence) for what seems like a very short time, and my boat was stuck on some wood right from the start. By the time I had freed it, my time was up and I had wasted 50 pence. There were a few contraptions to see such as old industrial pumps, nicely painted red and green thus destroying the illusion of age. There was an old steam rail engine to stand on for a photograph, some very tatty slides for the children and a broken model racing car circuit. Plenty of little gift shops and a cafe made up the rest of the site except for the biggest money grabbing area of all, the bandits, video games, mini bowls and those 'grab a fluffy doll' cranes that never seem to work. Have you ever noticed how the grab always closes after it has left the bunny's head. Quite honestly, these electronic 'attractions' were the kind of thing that one can play in almost any Cornish high street, at around the same price. The Cornish Penny issued at Poldark Mine is now worth 50 pence. You insert a pound coin into the cash box and it dispenses two Cornish pennies. Most of the attractions which took these coins cost one Cornish penny (or 50 pence) to play. For a pound sterling, one didn't seem to get much in return. Two goes of something and it was all over. One of these attractions was the failed remote control motor boat referred to earlier. Since we did not take advantage of the underground tour due to being short of cash (it was the end of the holiday) it wasn't long before we left feeling fle
eced and unimpressed.
On our recent holiday to Cornwall one of the things we decided to do was visit on old Cornish tin mine. Cornwall as you might know is famous for many things (don’t worry, I’m not going to harp on about the pasties too much in this op!) one of which is its Tin Mines. Although we predominantly made a return visit to Cornwall because of the excellent trial biking facilities in Par, where we were, we also wanted to do a spot of sightseeing and learn a little about the county whilst we had the opportunity. Despite what you all might think we did not go from town to town trying to find the best Cornish pasties! Eighteenth century Cornwall was the centre of an extensive tin and copper mining industry and the western part of the county is rich in ruined buildings showing you this, and reminding you of this heritage. Eighteenth century tin miners were often joined down in the mines by their sons, at the tender age of just 8! One of the leaflets left for us in our caravan was all about the Poldark tin mine near Helston, which is situated on the South coast between Land’s End and The Lizard. Although there are other mines that are open to visitors we decided to visit this one as it was a nice drive out from where we were and we also wanted to check out the ATV (Quad biking centre) not too far from Helston! The leaflet states that this is, “by far the best Underground experience in the South West” How many more are there I wondered? Actually I have to confess here, I didn’t actually make it as far as underground, I woossed out! The thought of being a considerable distance below ground level was a bit more than I could cope with. Not as terrifying a thought as a flight on The London Eye, but a damn close second! So I sent hubby and son down with instructions for a full and comprehensive report upon their re-entry to the surface! I safely sat myself down on a very nice bench and enjoyed the late summer sunshine! I guess the underground tour lasted about 30 minutes? Just enough time for me to scour the souvenir shops! There are a few here, ranging from the usual tourist type one to craft style shops selling jewellery, candles and the like. Sadly I did not have enough time to check out the latter but I was well pleased with the goodies I acquired from the mine souvenir shop. I hastily plonked myself back down on the bench and smiled sweetly as my men returned, hubby totally unawares that I had run amuck in the aforementioned shop! “Oh I have had a lovely time sitting here in the sun” lied I with my fingers crossed behind my back! “It’s ok” they both reported, “But it was a good thing that you didn’t come down, you wouldn’t have liked it.” My hubby is 6’4” and he said he had to bend very low at times. They said it was very interesting though, knowing that they were treading the same path of those 18th century miners and their sons all those years ago. At all times they had to wear hard hats, which are supplied at the entrance to the pit and they had a guide with them for the excursion. No danger of anyone wandering off and becoming lost underground then! Just next to the mine entrance there is a little room that shows a short film about the mine and the lives of the miners who used to work here. It was quite interesting, and ran on and on so if you came in halfway thru you could just sit and watch up until where you came in, if you get my drift? I have already mentioned the gift shops so I have no need to go there again, alas! The cafeteria is very basic I have to say. There are tables and chairs set outside and inside and more than enough during the height of the holiday season I would have thought. Besides which there is plenty of nice g
rassy areas to sit on and enjoy a picnic should you so wish. We had a sandwich, your usual run of the mill pre-packed thing and a mug of tea. The mug being a nice option. Why anyone would choose to drink tea out of a farty little cup is beyond me, the bigger the mug the better! Hot meals are available and look like they would be cooked upon request, and there is a plastic fronted display cabinet with cream teas and…YES Cornish pasties in it! Oh I am sorry but I just could not resist! But resist the pasty I did, and chomped on a prawn mayo sandwich instead. The actual gardens that the mine is situated in are very nice, very well laid out and picturesque. I get the impression that this place hasn’t been open all that long. It seems very new to me. There is much room for development, not too much I hope, as they have done at Land’s End and to my mind completely ruined it:o(. Another op, another time… There is the usual children’s soft play area with ball pool and the like. What I want to know is when are the powers that be going to realise that us grown-ups would like a soft play area and more than anything a large ball pool to go wild in? Anyone know of a grown-up one anywhere? There are amusements with the penny (ah those were the days!) machines. One thing that I did like here was that you could exchange a pound coin for four old Cornish pennies that had to be used in some of the machines as opposed to ‘English money’! I exchanged some but only to bring them home to send to my Canadian pen pal. I really don’t know if they used to be legal tender in Cornwall, if anyone else does I would be very interested to know? So, a few bullet points to sum it all up: ·Free site admission! Yes you only pay if you want to do the mine tour! ·Fun for all the family. ·Guided underground tours ·Amusements ·Children’s p
lay area ·Restaurant ·Gift shops ·New craft workshops ·All-weather attraction ·Fascinating museum I think I covered all of the above points except to say that I did not find an all weather attraction there? Unless of course you would class the underground tour as such, which could be undertaken whatever the weather. Poldarks mine is open 7 days a week from 9th April to 1st October. 10.00am to 6.00 pm. Last underground tour at 4.00pm From October through to April it is open half an hour later and closes at 4.30pm, with the last tour then being at 3.00pm. It closes during January and February for essential maintenance. So they ask you to ‘phone and check for opening times during the winter. 01326 573173 As you saw on the bullet points admission to the site is free and prices for the underground tour are as follows: Adult £5.50 Child (5-15) £3.50 Family (2 adults and 2 children) £15.00 A footnote at the bottom of the leaflet states: Admission free for under 5’s but under 4’s are at the mine guide’s discretion. For safety reasons children may not be carried underground. Regrettably the mine tour is not suitable for the Disabled. Web site: www.poldark-mine.com If you were going to pay a visit here I would advise you to combine it with another attraction in the area, as we did. I think little children would get a tad bored here after a while. We had a thoroughly lovely day here and finished it off with a visit to the ATV centre I mentioned earlier so that boys could be boys! Alas I never got it together with Poldark down the mine! Another time another place? Demelza…oops I mean Kazzie xxx