Cornwall and west Devon are renowned as an area of extensive historic mining activity, chiefly for copper and tin, and at various times during the 19th century there were over 2,000 mines working in the region. Many of these were less than 100 metres deep and employed only a handful of people; of which Rosevale Mine was a typical example.
The western side of the Foage Valley has been extensively prospected for tin by means of costean pits and shallow trials, which delineate the outcrops of the main lodes. Underground mining in this area was well established by the 18th century in the form of shafts and exploratory/drainage tunnels driven into the hillside from the base of the valley.
Plan of the trial pits and workings of Rosevale Mine (courtersy of Adam Sharpe)
Rosevale Mine is the ideal site for restoration for several reasons:
The workings are entirely in granite, requiring little artificial support.
Continuous natural ventilation between the levels (low radon levels).
Self-draining, therefore no pumping requirement.
Walk-in access, therefore no hoisting requirement.
Contains varied examples of Cornish mine workings.
Potential for longer-term work and expansion.
The principal workings are on Main Lode and comprise:
No.1 Level - driven in from the hillside for a distance of 200 metres;
No.2 Level - driven from the base of the valley for a distance of almost 300 metres; at its end this level is over 60 metres (200 ft) below surface.
The levels are 30 metres apart and are connected by a stope. A raise at the end of No.1 Level connects to surface.
Deep Adit Level - which lies at a depth of 9 metres below No.2 Level, has been driven along Caunter Lode for a distance of over 200 metres.
We have a copy of an original plan of the mine, dated 1914, held at Cornwall Record Office:
Throughout the period from the mid-1970s the team has collected a variety of mining relics that illustrate various aspects of Cornish mining. We have also received some extremely generous donations of used mining equipment.