Thursday, 2 March 2017

Caradon Hill – Cornwall’s Old Moorland Mining History

Caradon Hill – Cornwall’s Old Moorland Mining History

A few photos from a walk this afternoon, not down The Dark Path, but up, into Cornwall’s Industrial past.  Caradon Hill is dotted with cairns, suspicious mounds and deep mines, so any direction you walk you are bound to find something interesting, especially if you are eyeing the landscape with a gamers eye. 

A moorland pony on an old mining tip (spoils and loading platforms), from the nearby mine, busy chomping the turf. 

The weather was threatening to become very stormy, as we approached the first mine building, adding to a sense of gloom. Ravens (the largest of the Corvus family) have made a nest in the upper window, a massive twiggy stack, like something out of legend.

Passing through a cool tunnel, somewhere dripping and dark, is often where you will find this character, always holding a twig.

The buildings are quite striking, looking more like weird churches, with the long high ‘window’ (the old steam pump would have filled the building, powered by the furnace that raged under the chimney stacks). 

To the south of the mine there is a train/tram tunnel, one of many that created a network that connected the moor to the coast, where the metals and minerals were loaded onto ships on Buller Quay, in Looe!

There are many spots, across Caradon Hill, where you can see old chimneys and ruinous pump houses in every direction. It was hard to imagine the noise and smoke of an industrial past, as we stomped on, to the next destination.

This ‘sett’ of Cornish mines surrounds the hill, which must be riddled with passages and mines, in all directions. There have been several eras of activity, starting with Bronze Age people, later medieval times saw a lot of tin mining, operating around the river, with the height of industrial mining in the early 1800’s, when they took everything of anything! 650,000 tonnes of copper ore were mined in three decades. That’s a lot of light bulbs and toasters.

Caradon is the local source of television, and when I say ‘local’, I mean the signal is the TV supply for all the surrounding areas, including Looe, on the coast. Weather permitting.

This small arched space is a bit of a mystery; it has a back wall, same era as the arch, with no obvious use. I did think ‘toilet’ at first, then a well or spring. There is a curious hole in the back, but it’s still a weird little curio. Answers on a virtual postcard please!

A nice example of natural granite, weathered but unbroken. Good job, ‘cos here comes the rain!

A rare glimpse into an open mine shaft. Lots of the old shafts are hidden under turf, or fenced off, for good reason. But, this one has a view hole, which is really neat. Pit props and chains are visible for quite a way, and the hole is surprisingly deep. There’s a small reservoir above the mine, on the upper bank, so it’s a weird wonder that the mines are so well preserved.

Looking in the direction of the East-West ‘lode’, the once rich seam has obvious markers in the form of chimney stacks. The Caradon Sett of mines was enormous in its ambition, many of the buildings still standing, as they are built from tough  granite.

Recent sensitive repairs and restoration means many are open to explore, without the risk of a sudden, horrible death from falling masonry. Granite packs a punch.

Oblivion Gate?

He’s always on his bloody phone!

Flora on the hill is distinctive; there’s the ever present gorse, with vivid yellow flowers, but also a surprising number of oak trees. I was reminded of Wist’s Wood in places, so if you’re into Druidism or folklore, go have a wander. It’s brilliantly isolating on the hill, with buzzards mewing, overhead.

I think this is Witches’ Butter, but don’t trust my info if you are foraging. Instead, trust the always reliable Wikipedia instead. (Don’t)

Witches' Butter -


There be gold in them thar hills, but you’d have to be a fool to find it...

Again, only a thought, but this looks like a lump of copper ore, green from oxidisation. They missed a bit!

The basin valley is formed by the river, which continues down to the nearby village of Crow’s Nest (cool name). It’s a whopping great basin, with signs that it was a used for loading and transportation by trains. The water continues down, off the moor, and eventually becomes the River Seaton.

Who needs Mars? This is a perfect spot to act out scenes from your favourite sci-fi show. We got through a few lines of Blake’s 7, Doctor Who and, of course, The Martian. Thankfully we didn’t experiment with growing potatoes, as we had a packed lunch. Plus, there are enough sheep on Caradon Hill to supply a massive Easter carvery.

For more information do visit :

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Barrow Hill: The Dark Path is released on DVD-Rom.

Barrow Hill: The Dark Path is released on DVD-Rom.

Get the full game on disk and a 15 page colour manual, featuring a woodlands map and story of Baibin, along with instructions of how to play.

 Order online for free shipping worldwide HERE

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Halloween trip down The Dark Path with the Barrow Hill games sales.

With Halloween upon us (one of my favourite times of the year), what better time to take a spooky walk in the woods... take a trip down The Dark Path with the Barrow Hill games.

The Dark Path - Halloween Sale - 25% off

Follow The Dark Path this Halloween, journey into a world of Druidic lore and Celtic myths. You have one night to make the offerings, follow the Dark Path and escape Barrow Hill.

The Original Barrow Hill: Curse of the Ancient Circle is also available on Steam with 25% off this Halloween.

Somewhere deep within the woods of Cornwall, a timeless force is stirring. Unseen beneath the ancient burial mound, known locally as Barrow Hill, a forgotten myth awakens. Use archaeology to discover that the barrow is more than just a collection of forgotten standing stones.

Sales End 1st November

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A Hike to Wistman's Wood - fabled 'Druid's Wood'

Wistman's Wood is an ancient oak woodland, south of Longaford Tor, on the huge expanse of Dartmoor. It is one of three high altitude oak woods, featuring in folklore, literature and film (which is where I first heard about Wistman's in the Found Footage horror "A Night in the Woods")

Wistman's Wood is South West facing, but nestled in the valley of the West Dart River. It is protected from the worst of the weather that blasts the high altitude. The rocks, huge granite boulders, tumbled from the nearby Tor's, allowing rich soil to gather and maintain the Oak Woods for millennia.

You can just about see the woods - Top Middle.

Basically, Wistman's wood is one of the oldest Oak Groves in Britain. It has an eerie atmosphere where you can imagine Yoda popping his head out.

I’ll admit it does feel odd to be entering an Oak grove, high on Dartmoor. I can understand why it has been enigmatic to artists and writers over the years.

Entering Wistman’s wood, the colour pallet changed from autumn yellows of the grassland to a deep mossy green, and Oak oasis teeming with woodland life (unusual on the moor).

Moss upon moss, upon moss. Many varieties can be found competing on every branch, even if the branch has long since perished.

Among the Oaks, a couple of Rowan trees and a Holly can be found, as well as their bright red berries littered across stone and green.

Strange mossy forms grow on the Oak branches, some of which are only held together by the moss itself.

Puffball full of spores, waiting for the popping

Coffin Rock

Every surface, crag or corner is packed full of interest. Cup Lichen grows alongside what I think are Petticoat Mottlegill mushrooms (Panaeolus papilionaceus)

Tumbled rocks are scattered through the oak woods, some curiously upright. Ancient man, Druids or Aliens?

Mossy tendrils

Some of the Oaks are thought to be 500 years old.

An example of Brown Roll Rim mushrooms, I think! (Paxillus involutus)

These 3 trees look like dancers.

A ferny wig for an old Ent.

What at first appears to be another large boulder, was revealed to be carved with text. Nothing ancient, this text has Serifs!

The Buller Stone, commemorates an attempt in 1866 to date the trees, when Wentworth Buller (with permission from the Duchy) felled an oak.

Amethyst deceiver mushroom

A brilliant autumnal day to be exploring the middle of Dartmoor.  The grasses, in particular, looked vivid against the mix of storms clouds and blue sky.

Dartmoor Ponies dot the hillside, leading up to Longaford Tor.

There are few signs of industry, ancient or modern, up at Longaford Tor. As a natural outcrop, it has been crumbling and tumbling for millions of years. The hillside shows evidence of Bronze Age hut circles, meaning the Tor is likely to have been significant to the people who lived here 4000 years ago.

Where did all the rock in Wistman’s wood come from? Further up the slopes, the exposed Tor with the ‘Clitter’ beyond, scattered all the way down to the West Dart River