Crown Mine Ruins – Botallack, Cornwall - Atlas Obscura

Crown Mine Ruins

Botallack, Cornwall

These picturesque ruins crumble beautifully into the ocean. 


Clinging low on the cliffs above the Atlantic on Cape Cornwall, the Crown Mine Ruins are a stunning reminder of Cornwall’s mining past.

The town of Botallack dates back to the early 18th century and was centered on the region’s tin mining operations. In 1858 work began on a deep mining shaft that ran 500 meters under the Atlantic ocean in order to access deeper deposits of minerals. This impressive feat of engineering would come to be known as the “Boscawen Diagonal Shaft” and as word spread of the ambitious project a number of high profile guests such as the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Victorian author, R. N. Ballantyne came to view the work. The Crown Mines finally closed in February, 1914 during a depression in the mining industry.

Now there remains two crumbling engine houses on the lower part of the cliffs and near the top are the broken remains of the mine’s arsenic refinery. The picturesque ruins are a popular photography subject and strike a powerful contrast against the verdant nature surrounding them. The Crown Mines drew a number of visitors while they were still in operation, but they pale in comparison to the number of tourists who flock to the site of the ruins. 

Know Before You Go

Located between St Just in Penwith and Pendeen

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