Carnglaze Caverns are found tucked away on the edge of Bodmin Moor, half way between Bodmin and Liskeard. Found in mid Cornwall this attraction show cases the mining heritage of the county which is not often seen by visitors.
Carnglaze Caverns are made up of three main caves formed from a slate and tin mining industry which began in the 1700’s.
We took a walk around on a wet summers day to learn more about this corner of Cornish history.
Carnglaze Woodland Walk
Visiting during the peak summer months you may find there’s a little bit of a waiting time when you arrive. Only a certain number of people are allowed in at a time so we were given a counter and showed where to find refreshments, souvenirs and where to begin the woodland walk.
There’s a small terraced garden leading to the enchanted dell where lots of fairies will keep you company along the way. You can follow the woodland walk through the large Quarry Wood where you climb up to enjoy wonderful views of the valley over St Neot village. The circular walk takes about 20 minutes so it’s a perfect way to spend some time before entering Carnglaze Caverns.
Make sure you’re wearing suitable foot ware as it can get muddy in places throughout the season.
Carnglaze translates as ‘Blue Rock Pile’, with the area used predominantly to extract large slate slabs of the local building trade. Some of the old mining buildings can still be seen today with the old powder store being used for storage in the car parking area and the old coal store and work shed being converted into the owners house.
Inside Carnglaze Caverns
Carnglaze Caverns first opened to the public in 1973 showcasing the history of the area for all to see. Before you’re allowed in you get given a torch, cavern map and a bright yellow hard hat. It’s unlikely any rocks will fall, but once you get inside and realise how vast the caverns are you definitely cannot see the roof of the cave.
Back in the 1700s when the miners began work you have to imagine and appreciate that all their work was done by candle light. Gunpowder was used to blast the rock at the end of the day, the next day work would begin on clearing away the rock, with the good quality slate used for export out of Looe, Polperro and Plymouth.
Once the mine was closed down the Royal Navy from Plymouth used the caverns as a rum store during World War II as more of the areas of Plymouth were heavily bombed. Carnglaze Caverns seemed a safe store, and most stores in the war also stored national treasures such as the Crown Jewels.
These days the Rum Store is used as a wedding venue and concert hall with a 450 seat auditorium. The temperature is usually a consistent 10°C, so visitors and wedding guests are advised to wrap up even in summer.
As you climb down the 60 steps into the main cavern the large cave will open up in front of you. The map shows you the pathway around with lots of information given along the way to show the history of the caverns.
Carnglaze Caverns is a great place to visit throughout the year as it’s suitable for all weathers. Theres a small garden area where you can enjoy a picnic if the weathers kind, or shelter under cover on those slightly greyer days.
It’s £6 entry for adults and £4 for children, with under 3’s free.
Find them at Carnglaze Caverns, St Neot, Liskeard PL14 6HQ, for more information visit their website.
If you fancy exploring more of mid cornwall then take a wander or cycle in Cardinham Woods just down the road. There’s some great cycle and walking trails less than 20 minutes away.
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