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Visiting Levant Mine and Beam Engine

Levant Mine and Beam Engine, Cornwall, on a sunny day
Levant Mine and Beam Engine on a sunny day | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Levant Mine and Beam Engine sits on the rugged cliffs of the ‘Tin Coast’, part of the Cornish Heritage World Mining Site. See the steam-powered beam engine, built in 1840 and the only one of its kind. Explore the wider site including the count house ruins, miner’s ‘dry’ area and towering chimney stacks. Observe the diverse natural habitats, home to local wildlife including the rare Cornish chough.

Highlights of Levant Mine and Beam Engine

Guided tours

Pre-book your guided tour to start your visit to the World Heritage Site of Levant. Walk along Maggies Lane footpath from Geevor Mine, following in the footsteps of those who worked and lived here. The Levant Mine and Beam Engine Tour lasts for approximately one to one and half hours and incorporates all of the site including the man engine tunnel, skip shaft, zawn and beam engine.

This May half term, the Minor Miners family tour will be running at Levant from May 26 to June 2. The tour lasts for approximately an hour. Learn about the gruelling life of a miner and have a go and help to run the winder or steam engine. Bookings open May 16.

Engine house

At the heart of the site is the 1840s beam engine, powered by steam – the only one of its kind in its original engine house. See the moving engine, which was originally used to bring the ore up to the surface, in action.

Skip shaft

The skip shaft sits close to the cliff edge and is over 500m (1650ft) deep. It was initially sunk to bring ore to the surface in skips using the steam engine. In 1970 the electric winder was installed and used to winch the man cage.

Levant Mine and Beam Engine, Cornwall, on a sunny day
Levant Mine and Beam Engine on a sunny day | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Winder House

Step inside the Winder House built by Geevor mine in the late 1960s. It houses the electric winder that winched engineers in a man cage up and down skip shaft.

Prior to the man cage, the skip shaft was used for skips containing rocks and ore being pulled to the surface by the steam engine: the 19th-century forerunner of the electric winder.

Man Engine Tunnel

Walk through the short tunnel that leads to the side of the man engine shaft. Look out for the alcoves at each side where miners would leave their helmets and candles.

Thirty-one miners sadly lost their lives in the shaft when the man engine failed in 1919. It was the second worst mining disaster in Cornish history.

Mining remains

Walk around the remains of the Compressor House and the Count House. The Count House is one of the site's most important buildings, housing the accountant who handed out wages for workers. Dinners for important shareholders were also hosted here. The granite and brick top stacks serve as a reminder that this coastal site was once an industrial landscape, with all the noise and smoke that goes with it.

See the remains of the miner’s dry where the miners would change prior to starting work and going underground. At the end of each shift they would bathe here before changing and going home. You can still see the baths in the concrete foundations.

A little further up the hill is the site of Higher Bal which was acquired by the mine in the late Victorian era. By exploring the wider site you can see how busy the area would have been in its heyday. From this vantage point many mine remains and chimney stacks can be seen along the coast in both directions.

Sea Campion at Blakeney Point, Norfolk
Sea campion flowers | © National Trust Images / Hanne Siebers

Wildlife highlights at Levant

Flora and fauna

The habitat for wildlife here is diverse and ranges from the steep cliffs at the sea’s edge to heathland and a patchwork of small granite-walled fields. During spring and summer the clifftops are transformed by the colours of flowering sea campion, thrift, thyme, scabious and centaury.

The plants form part of the habitats loved by butterflies and moths. Six-spot burnet moths are a regular sighting here – their red spots can easily be seen against their darker wings. The mine waste also provides a micro habitat for specialised plants and lichen.

Bird spotting

The Cornish chough is the symbolic bird of Cornwall. This rare and beautiful bird left the area over 50 years ago but conservation of their habitats is now seeing their return. Look out for their black feathers and distinctive curved red beaks.

Peregrine falcons and kestrels can often be seen flying near the old engine houses. Take a walk up to Levant Fields to see a wide variety of birds including linnets, rock pipits and buzzards.

More to explore

Artistic inspiration

Many artists come to St Just and the surrounding coast and countryside for inspiration. This changing landscape provides ample opportunity for you to complete drawings and artwork of the landscape, nature and buildings. Why not bring your sketchbook and have a go yourself?

The Tin Coast

For more mining sites to visit take a short walk from Levant to Botallack, where you can see the iconic Crowns Engine Houses clinging to the foot of the cliffs.

Part of the pump mechanism in the engine house of the Levant Mine and Beam engine, Cornwall

Book your visit

Please note you need to book tickets to Levant Mine and Beam Engine. You can book for today up to an hour before the start of a tour. Every Thursday time slots will be available for the next 14 days.

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The engine tunnel at Levant Mine and Beam Engine, Cornwall

History of Levant Mine and Beam Engine 

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Visiting Geevor Mine on the Tin Coast 

Find out more about this Cornish tin mine on the Tin Coast near Levant. With parking and facilities it’s a great place to visit in combination with Levant.

Visitors at the Levant Mine and Beam Engine, Cornwall

Booking your visit to Levant Mine and Beam Engine 

The main site at Levant Mine and Beam Engine is open for pre-booked tours only and we ask that you please book your visit in advance. If you're planning a visit, read this article to find out everything you need to know.