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Towanroath Engine House

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Located on the North Cornwall coast near to St Agnes this is an example of Cornwall’s rich industrial past often not appreciated by visitors in search of sea, sand and picture perfect fishing ports.

The Engine House was part of the workings of the Wheal Coates Copper and Tin Mine and was used to pump water from the 600 foot shaft. It was built around 1872 and is owned by the National Trust. Wheal Coates Copper and Tin Mine employed around 140 miners at the height of its production although the productiveness of the mine was intermittent throughout its lifetime from 1815 until 1914. Cornwall has long been recognized as rich in minerals and heavy metals and mining in this part of the country goes back many centuries. Even prehistoric and medieval mine workings have been uncovered in the area. The romans certainly valued the tin and for a period Cornwall was the ancient world’s largest supplier.

Towanroath Engine House is situated on the cliffs above the beach and there is a path which takes visitors past the derelict buildings. The engine house is one of the most photographed landmarks in the area and visitors describe the walk as being reasonably easy with a path starting from the National Trust car park – from which the ruins can be seen.

The cliff is steep and uneven in some areas. Navigating these pathways needs extra care and might be unsuitable for some people. Children and dogs need supervising at all times. However, the walk is well worth it because views from the ruins have been described as some of the most beautiful in the country and at sunset the opportunity to take some spectacular photographs should not be missed.

On the journey visitors will see the Towanroath shaft that is covered by a grid and if a small stone is dropped people can count how long it takes to reach the sea below. Wheal Coates Cave situated at the far end of Chapel Porth Beach below the cliffs can be accessed during low tide where the mine shaft can be seen. However, this is a location that requires respect and should not be entered by anyone unfamiliar with the tides as the sea comes in very quickly around this part of the coast and there is a very real risk of being cut off. Because of the nature of the terrain visitors should wear appropriate footwear such as walking boots. Extra care must be taken when visiting with children and pets.


The mine is said to be haunted by the miners that lost their lives working in conditions that were always very dangerous.



Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Trevarrian Hill (Rd), Nr Newquay
Cornwall, England, TR8 4AE
+44 (0)1637 860 448

Contact Details

  • Address: Beacon Drive, St Agnes, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, TR5 0NT
  • GPS: 50.30501944,-5.233061111
  • Part of UK: England
  • Sat Nav Postcode: TR5 0NT
  • Entrance Fees: Free Access
  • Disabled Access: Very limited. Dirt paths & steep inclines.
  • Visibility from Road: None
  • Image Credits: Header Image: Ian Woolcock

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