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Two people walking on the coast path above Towanroath Shaft pumping engine house, part of the Wheal Coates mine, near St Agnes, Cornwall
Towanroath Shaft tin mine engine house near St Agnes, Cornwall | © National Trust Images / John Millar

Wheal Coates tin mining walk

Explore the remnants of Wheal Coates's tin mining history, while taking in beautiful views of the Atlantic, on this short circular coastal walk. Visit old mining buildings, including Towanroath Shaft engine house, with its distinctive chimney, stop to gaze down at the bottom of one of the disused shafts, and look out along the coast to Chapel Porth, Porthtowan and beyond.

Total steps: 12

Total steps: 12

Start point

Wheal Coates car park, grid ref: SW707497

Step 1

Go through the gap in the hedge to the left of the information sign. You'll immediately be able to see part of the tin mine ruins of Wheal Coates, against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.

Step 2

Take the first left as the path forks and carry on down the wide gentle sloping pathway.

Step 3

You will reach a crossroad. Go straight across, following the path away from the ruins, and down toward Chapel Porth.

Step 4

You will pass several footpaths and a triangular patch of heathland on your right. You have an option here to go left and follow a steeper path down the valley, with a couple of benches along the way. For an easier walk, stay on the wider, less steep pathway and carry straight on toward the sea to meet with the South West Coast Path.

Step 5

Notice the mine shafts topped with conical grids, known as Clwyd caps, dotted along on your left. You'll pass over a metal revetment (a supporting barricade) and the Chapel Porth white stones sign will soon come in to view, also on the left.

Step 6

As you reach the viewpoint, a number of paths lead off left to Chapel Porth, but follow the pathway round to the right. Here you'll find a bench where you can stop to take in the view, which changes depending on the tide and the weather.

An aerial view of Wheal Coates and Chapel Port in Cornwall, looking over the landscape with the sea and coastline visible in the foreground of the image
An aerial view of Wheal Coates and Chapel Porth | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Step 7

Head toward Wheal Coates along the wide coast path, with the sea on your left. The Towanroath Shaft engine house will soon come into view. You are walking in the footsteps of the miners who worked here over 200 years ago.

Step 8

Have a good look around the engine house. Find the hole in the ground just past this first building. Stand on the grating and look down to see the water deep at the bottom. Imagine heading down this shaft to work every day.

Step 9

Listen for the rumble of the sea below as you head further into the ruins. The path gets quite rocky as you head uphill, so watch your step. You'll reach a waymarker with a pink arrow pointing right and up. Zigzag back on yourself as you climb the hill. You'll pass a very smart Cornish hedge on your left and see a wooden barrier up ahead.

Step 10

Follow the smaller paths in and out of the tin mine buildings to explore.

Ruins of an engine house at Wheal Coates featuring curved window holes built
Ruins of an engine house at Wheal Coates | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Step 11

Keep heading up the hill. You'll reach a lone chimney and a large granite boulder. The information signs here should answer any questions you have about the tin mine, and the surrounding heathland you've been wandering through.

Step 12

As you walk back to the car park, you'll see the small hill known as St Agnes Beacon in front of you. If you have some extra energy before finishing your walk, there are several footpaths leading to the viewpoint at the top.

End point

Wheal Coates car park, grid ref: SW707497

Trail map

A map of a walking route around the disused tin mines at Wheal Coates, Cornwall
Circular walking route around the disused tin mines at Wheal Coates, Cornwall | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Wheal Coates, Beacon Drive, St Agnes, Cornwall, TR5 0NT

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