“In every out-thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth”

-Rachel Carson

Transient ‘golden hour’ winter light bathing the cliffs around Towanroath engine house, between Chapel Porth and St. Agnes in Cornwall, UK.

The Wheal Coates mine opened in 1802 and was worked until its closure in 1889. It was re-opened for a short period between 1911 and 1913 when it was finally closed.

The site is most notable for its three engine houses and in particular the iconic Towanroath Shaft engine house, which is now a Grade II listed building. The whole site is in the care of the National Trust.

Built in 1872 the Towanroath engine house was responsible for keeping the water out of the shaft 600 feet deep shaft of this tin mine.

The other two engine houses on the site were stamping and winding (whim) engine houses, built at around the same time. These were responsible for hoisting and crushing the tin ore.

There is also evidence of prehistoric and medieval mine workings in the vicinity including signs of excavations in the Towanroath Vugga cave on the beach below

In its heyday Wheal Coates employed some 140 miners with tin being transported on the tramways and shipped from Portreath, Hayle, Trevaunance Pier in St Agnes and Truro.


Ordnance Survey Grid Reference – SW 698 500

Pentax K-X
Pentax 18-55mm SMC/ DAL lens
Hoya Circular Polarizer
tripod (weighted down with rocks!, average windspeed = 50 knots)

f/9.5
ISO-200
1/45 second

Pseudo- HDR created from 3 Spilt-RAW processed TIFFs (at 1.5, 0, -1.5 ev equivalents) in Photomatix Pro 3.26. Finished in Adobe Photoshop 6.0 (including Orton Effect layer, which was blended with original HDR)

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