The Portreath to Devoran Mineral Tramway
Part 1: Portreath to Scorrier
About 4.5 miles
Last Walked 30 December 2001. Time taken: 2 Hours 10 mins.
OS Explorer Map 104 grid reference SW653453 to SW723454
The tramroad was opened in 1812 and connected the copper mines around Gwennap with the harbour at Portreath. Copper ore was then shipped to the South Wales Coalfields for smelting. The ships were then 'back-loaded' with timber and coal for the mines. Park your vehicle at the car park above Portreath beach. Head towards the harbour and then make your way over to the harbour the start of the walk. Head east towards the 'Portreath Arms' Free House. Compare the present view with the old pictures of the port found in local books and photographs. Pass a granite pillar marked with a black minestack indicating the route of the Portreath-Devoran Mineral Tramroad. Head down the metalled Sunnyvale Road until you pass another marker. Across the way Portreath CP School should be visible through the trees. The large building to your left is nothing more than an electrical sub-station for South West Electricity plc. This section is heavily used by cyclists so please keep your wits about you. Continue on the well made path and cross the minor road carefully at Tolticken Hill. You should now be about 25 minutes into your walk. Look through the trees to your right shortly to see the hamlet of 'Bridge'. Where offered a choice of tracks bear right slightly passing the now customary granite pillar. The path narrows now as it climbs gently. Meet the main Redruth/Portreath to Porthtowan road and cross it carefully. This area is known as Cambrose. Continue heading in a general easterly direction. After another 15 minutes walking, bear right as signed at Embankment.
Look to your right to see an oval sign indicating that Lower Forge Embankment was built between 1810-1812 to cross the valley. Meet another road and cross it at Lower Forge. Shortly meet and cross another minor road passing the Mawla pillar. You should pass the Wheal Plenty marker about 1 hour 40 minutes into the walk. Look to your right shortly to see a wooden post marking Trevennen's East Shaft and then look left by a metalled gate to see 4 mine chimneys. Take 5 minutes out here for a snack and a drink on the seats provided. While you are here explore the area and see if you can spot Whip's Shaft's marker post. You then arrive at Lower Briggan. Sometime later you should pass Bolitho's Shaft marker as you enter the Wheal Rose area and see the Wheal Rose Adit Shaft. Now about 2 hours into your walk, pass the North Downs pillar and bear left as indicated passing the model engine houses. On meeting the road at the Wheal Rose marker bear right up the pavement. Pass the 'Crossroads Hotel' and go through the tunnel. Take care as you round the bend passing the granite pillar of Scorrier Station. Walk through the rear entrance to the 'Fox and Hound's Inn' car park, proceed to the main road at Scorrier and look for signs indicating the remaining part of the 'Portreath-Devoran Mineral Tramroad'
Part 2: Scorrier to Devoran
About 7.5 miles
Last Walked 26 June 2005. Time taken: 3 Hours 30 minutes
OS Explorer Map 105 grid reference 723454 to 799389
Start your walk at the 'Fox and Hound's Inn' car park in Scorrier. Cross the busy road with care and head southeast towards Devoran as marked. The noisy traffic is soon left behind as you near Unity Wood and the start of the Poldice Valley. Ignore the turning off left to Killifreth, this can be explored another day. Continue passing 'Pits and Bollar Shaft' and 'Blamey's Shaft' on your way deeper into the Poldice Valley. Pass the large information board as you drop down the wide track on the half-hour mark. After a further 10 minutes or so pass the pillar for Bissa Pool. Shortly after passing a large sign for the 'National Cycle Network' look to your right to see the granite sleepers here - a remnant of the Redruth-Chasewater Mineral Railway that ran here between 1826 and 1915. Now about an hour into your walk continue southeast towards Bissoe passing near Wheal Henry, Hale Mills and Wheal Fortune.
On the hill behind you stands the headgear of Mount Wellington Mine and shortly you join the road for a few metres at Wheal Andrew. As you near the Cycle Hire point at Bissoe you pass the remains of Point Mills Arsenic Refinery. Pass the marker for Old Dunstan's Bridge as the old and new viaducts across the Carnon River come into view.
Follow the wide track under the structures and head for Devoran. Once at Devoran take time out at the Village Hall - formerly the 'Railway Repair Shop' and also contine on to explore the ore hutches and Quay area of this once busy mineral port.
Since the area has now achieved 'World Heritage' status, Cornwall in Focus will monitor improvements and events and report back. The majority of the trail is off-road and suitable for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. There are even some parts accessible to wheelchair users.