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Report - Great Flat Lode visit, Cornwall, Jan/Feb 2010

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Pasty, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. Pasty

    Pasty 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 3, 2007
    Likes Received:
    A brief history...

    The Great Flat Lode - a lode is a vein of ore, in this case of tin, it was called 'flat' because the angle of the lode was not as steep as most Cornish lodes.

    The Great Flat Lode is an enormous ore bearing body south of Carn Brea.
    It is tilted at an angle of 10 to 45 degrees, and is at a shallower angle than most lodes which are at angles of 60 degrees to 90 degrees. The Great Flat lode is therefore, in relative terms, a lot flatter in the ground.

    Mines could follow the tin or copper ore without having to dig vertically down to great depths, and the associated problems with pumping that this entailed.

    Between the late 16th century and about 1870, mining was for the copper deposits overlying the Great Flat Lode.
    These were the deposits that were nearer the surface.

    When these copper deposits became exhausted, the miners went deeper and discovered the high-grade tin ore.

    The mines of the Great Flat Lode helped to provide employment to Men (miners), women and children (Ore dressers) at a time when the rest of the Cornish Mining industry was in decline.
    As the copper ores became exhausted in about 1870, the mines went deeper to the high quality tin concentrations underlying the copper.
    This gave the mines of the Great Flat Lode a new lease of life.
    After some of the companies amalgamated in the late 1890's the mines continued producing until about 1918

    The visit..

    We have been looking for a way in for some time, there were photos of the great flat lode about on the internet, so we knew access was possible, tried asking people in the know but didnt get any help there,
    so it was just a case of looking at old maps and going to see if the shafts were still there.

    It was a harder task than you would think, there are capped shafts everywhere, some with heavy duty grills, some with bat vents, others completely filled with just a simple cap marker in some gravel.

    Anyway we found a way, well hidden as always, and as far as we know, its the only uncapped shaft which doesnt just go to water.
    Due to the history of this area im still struggling to belive that this is all there is to get in...

    The bottom of the shaft, old ladders still in place

    looking down the lode, it went down quite a way but the view was ofen obscured by the pillars left in place to support the roof

    looking down further

    another section further along

    looking back up where we came from


    At this point we reached the current water table


    looking into the water the lode continued as far as you could see, it would be amazing to see this place pumped out

    A view accross the water table. This is as far as you can explore for now, there were a few more chambers with passageways but some backfilling of shafts has occured here blocking any further progress.

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