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Levant Mine

levant mine and beam engine picture

Experience Cornwall’s Mining Heritage at Levant Mine and Beam Engine

Nestled in the beautiful, rugged landscape of west Cornwall lies one of the area’s hidden gems for families – the Levant Mine and Beam Engine. This historic copper and tin mine, which operated from the early 1800s until 1930, offers a unique glimpse into Cornwall’s proud mining heritage.

A day out here is educational and fun for all ages. You’ll get to journey deep underground, explore industrial ruins, and see a working steam engine in action. Plus taking in the coastal views over Mount’s Bay makes a visit to Levant Mine incredibly scenic. Here’s everything you need to know for a fantastic family day out at Levant Mine.

levant mine and beam engine

Getting to Levant Mine

The mine is located about 3 miles north of Land’s End near the town of St Just. The full address is: Levant Mine, Trewellard, Pendeen, Cornwall, TR19 7SX.

By car

It’s easy to access Levant Mine by road. Simply follow the A30 west towards Land’s End. At Sennen, take the A3071 signposted to St Just. Continue north for 4 miles then follow signs to Levant Mine which is well signposted. There is free parking available at the mine.

By public transport

There are regular buses running from Penzance, St Ives and other major towns in Cornwall to St Just. Check the First Bus website for up to date timetables. From St Just there is a steep downhill walk of just under a mile to reach Levant Mine.

Opening Times and Tickets

Levant Mine and Beam Engine is open seasonally:

  • April to September – 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm
  • October to March – Weekends and school holidays only, 1030am – 3pm

Ticket prices (as of 2023) are:

Adult £11

Child (5-16) £5.50

Under 5s are free

Family (2 adults, 2 children) £27.50

There is no entrance fee for the relatives of the 31 miners who lost their lives in the 1919 disaster, but they do ask that you book ahead.

Tickets provide access to the full below and above ground experience at Levant including the mine tours, museum and steam engine. Tickets can be purchased online or on arrival. Card and cash payments are accepted.

levant mine

Tours of the Mine

The highlight for most visitors is taking a guided tour into the dark depths of the Levant tin and copper mine. After getting kitted out with a hard hat and torch, you’ll descend over 600 feet underground as an experienced guide explains how the 19th century miners worked this narrow lode mine.

Tours head along the main tunnel then through a series of narrow “manholes” connecting the 100 fathom, 200 fathom and 250 fathom levels. At points you need to crouch low or even crawl to move between the levels. The mine has a constant, cool temperature so warm layers and sturdy footwear are a must.

Tours take 45 minutes and run approximately every 30 minutes. Do allow extra time to queue during peak periods. There are fewer spaces available on each tour so booking ahead via the website is recommended during school holidays and weekends.

levant mine tour

The Museum and Landscape

Back above ground, the site itself provides a glimpse into the vanished mining community. Scattered ruins of old engine houses and chimneys stand testament to the industrial workings. The coastal views from the 190m cliff top are spectacular too – sweeping moorland abruptly meets the sea.

Pop into the museum to uncover more of Levant Mine’s history through photographs, tools, maps and minerals. Kids can try their hands at gold panning while adults appreciate the 1950s office preserved in its original state.

The Beam Engine in Steam

One of Levant’s prides is their working beam engine – the only original Cornish beam engine still operated by steam power. On days when the engine is running, you can view this impressive victoriana machine in action.

These huge engines were vital to the function of any mine, powering underground pumps and winding gear. But they are also beautiful feats of engineering themselves, all polished brass, steel arms gliding back and forth orchestrated by hissing steam and the occasional shrill whistle.

The beam engine fires up at 2pm most days with extra showings during school holidays.

Facilities On-Site

Picnic tables dotted around the site allow visitors to eat packed lunches while admiring the location. There are no other catering facilities on-site.

Toilets including disabled facilities can be found next to the car park. Note there are no toilets underground.

levant mine in 1865

Special Events

As well as the standard tours, Levant Mine hosts various special events throughout the year like sunset tours or mining heritage days. Around Halloween, there are scary mine tours featuring spooky tales and creepy underground Hide & Seek games for brave kids!

It’s worth checking their website closer to your intended visit date for any special events or additions to the usual timetable.

Levant Mine Disaster 1919

The disaster of 20 October 1919, stands as a grim reminder of the perils of Cornish mining. On that fateful day, a catastrophic failure of the man engine, a system used to transport miners between the mine’s different levels, resulted in the tragic loss of 31 lives.

The man engine was a vital component of the mining operation, efficiently bringing miners up from the depths of the earth. However, its reliance on a complicated network of gears, rods, and pulleys made it susceptible to mechanical failures. On this particular day, as the man engine was carrying a full load of miners, a critical link connecting the engine to the rod snapped under the strain.

With a deafening crack, the rod broke into several pieces, unleashing a cascade of heavy timbers and cages that plummeted down the mineshaft. The descending wreckage struck the loaded cages, crushing and entombing the miners within. The horrific incident unfolded in a matter of seconds, leaving behind a scene of utter devastation and despair.

Rescue efforts commenced immediately, but the depth of the shaft and the mangled wreckage made the recovery operation extremely challenging. It took several days to retrieve the bodies of the deceased miners, who were laid to rest in a collective grave in Pendeen churchyard.

The Levant Mine disaster sent shockwaves through the Cornish mining community, highlighting the inherent dangers of the industry. It prompted calls for stricter safety regulations and a reevaluation of the reliance on outdated equipment. While the mine continued operating for a few more years, the disaster marked a turning point in the history of Levant Mine, and the deep levels were never worked again

inside levant mine

Frequently Asked Questions

How deep is Levant Mine? – It is 600m deep and the tunnels extend 2.5km away from the cliffs under the sea.

How long does the tour last? – Approximately 1.5 hours

Are dogs allowed on the tour of Levant Mine? – Only assistance dogs are allowed in the tour

Make a Day of It in West Cornwall

Levant Mine makes for a great day out just on its own. But you can easily incorporate it into a wider adventure discovering the far west of Cornwall. Here are some ideas nearby to pair with your mining experience:

Geevor Tin Mine Museum: Embark on an underground adventure at Geevor Tin Mine, a former tin mine lovingly transformed into an engaging museum. Delve into the depths of the mine, where you’ll encounter authentic workings, interactive exhibits, and fascinating stories of Cornish mining life.

Botallack Mine: Witness the dramatic ruins of Botallack Mine, a former copper and tin mine perched precariously on the cliffs of Cape Cornwall. Explore the remains of the engine houses, miners’ cottages, and towering chimneys, gaining a glimpse into the perilous yet enduring legacy of Cornish mining.

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum: Journey back in time at the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, where you’ll unravel the fascinating tale of the first transatlantic cables. Explore the reconstructed cable station, delve into the history of telegraphy, and marvel at the ingenuity and engineering prowess that connected the world.

Cape Cornwall: Take a breathtaking walk along the South West Coast Path to Cape Cornwall, the westernmost point of Cornwall. Enjoy panoramic views of the rugged coastline, the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and the towering cliffs of the Helford River.

St. Just: Immerse yourself in the charming village of St. Just, a former mining hub with a unique character. Stroll through the narrow streets lined with traditional Cornish cottages, visit the Miners’ Museum to learn about the village’s mining history, and indulge in local delicacies at one of the many pubs and cafes.

Land’s End: Venture to the iconic Land’s End, the southernmost tip of mainland Britain. Stand at the edge of the world, where the cliffs plunge dramatically into the crashing waves, and take in the breathtaking scenery that has inspired generations of travelers.

Lappa Valley Railway: Escape to the enchanting Lappa Valley Railway, a miniature railway nestled in the heart of the Cornish countryside. Embark on a scenic journey through lush green meadows, alongside babbling brooks, and past charming Cornish cottages, all aboard a charming miniature train.

Penwith Wildlife Sanctuary: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Penwith Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for wildlife including seals, dolphins, and seabirds. Enjoy guided boat trips to observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat, and learn about the conservation efforts that protect this precious ecosystem.

Pendennis Lighthouse: Climb to the top of Pendennis Lighthouse and experience panoramic views of Falmouth Bay, the Carrick Roads, and the surrounding coastline. Marvel at the intricate mechanisms of the lighthouse, and gain an appreciation for the role it plays in guiding ships safely through the treacherous waters.

Visiting one of Cornwall’s historic engine houses certainly makes a novel and educational day out. Levant is one of the few opportunities to journey deep into a traditional Cornish tin mine. Both adults and kids alike will enjoy uncovering the stories of the men and women who worked this claustrophobic, yet impressive, underground world.

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