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Report - - Kennel Vale Gunpowder Works - revisit Aug 20 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Kennel Vale Gunpowder Works - revisit Aug 20


Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User


If you were lucky enough to catch my first report you will know I loved this place, it has such natural beauty and appears that nature is saying screw u mankind this place is mine!


After my report last year which can be found here https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/kennell-vale-gunpowder-works-sept-19.120429/ someone said to me "u missed the best stuff beyond the public boundaries" which of course sparked my interest & I had promised myself a revisit anyway.
"Best" Im not sure but there was certainly some good stuff & the fact that this is out of the public eye made it even more enchanting.


Iv covered the history before but its interesting so here is a more detailed look.
By 1800 the Cornish mining and quarrying industries were consuming some 4000 barrels of gunpowder per annum, all of which was manufactured outside Cornwall. The first gunpowder mill in the County was at Cosawes Wood, Ponsanooth, set up by Nicholls and Gill in 1809; although small, its evident commercial success was enough to encourage the powerful Fox family to set up their own gunpowder business at Kennall Vale in competition. Licences for gunpowder manufacture were granted in 1811. The company seems to have been very successful and soon expanded. In 1844 its capacity was more than doubled when a complete new works was built higher up the valley in Roches Wood. The Kennall Company had by this time taken over the Cosawes mills, and for some time ran them alongside its own works; by 1870 they were in use only for storage. Another addition to the factory in the 1850s was a saltpetre refinery south of the main site. At its peak c1875, the Kennall Gunpowder Company consisted of the original works in Kennall Wood, including the Manager’s house, Sulphur Mill, and workshops; the ‘new’ works in Roches Wood, higher up the valley but continuous with the original; the farm below the main works; the Saltpetre Refinery; the Magazines adjacent to the farm; and the Charcoal Mill in Ponsanooth Village. In addition, the Company also owned several cottages in the village.


Modification and elaboration of the factory to suit changing demand and new processes continued through the latter part of the nineteenth century, although by this time the demand for gunpowder was in steep decline, owing to the collapse of Cornish mining and the development of the new nitro-glycerine based high explosives such as dynamite and gelignite. The directors of the Kennall Company were all too aware of these changed circumstances, and in 1889 established a new company to manufacture high explosives at Hayle — the National Explosives Company. The Kennall powder mills, now operating at greatly reduced production levels, were sold in 1898 to the biggest explosives making group in Britain, Curtis’s and Harvey. The new owners appear to have used the works at Kennall for some time to manufacture specialised types of cartridge and fuse powder, until production ceased c1910. The site was leased by Cornwall Wildlife Trust in 1985 for development as a nature reserve.


Firstly in the "hidden" part I encountered the largest building, a mill & workshop spanning the river, in a very unstable state. The building appeared newer than most but still had great natural ingress.










Making my way to higher grounds I came to the afore pictured house (possibly the old managers house)






Moving back down to river level is the remains of a strange complex of small rooms & buildings




Thinking there was not much else to see I headed out a different way to stumble across the most spectacular mill workings with a huge circa 14' gear wheel which was obviously at some point attached to a similarly sizes water wheel. Its difficult to get the scale of this but it is BIG!











]

And a few more random pics









Thats Goodbye from the Kennel & its rather odd looking forna!




 

urbanchemist

28DL Regular User
Regular User
More like a flora in that last pic...but seriously, there must be a map or plan of this place somewhere which would give some indication of what you were taking pictures of.
 

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
More like a flora in that last pic...but seriously, there must be a map or plan of this place somewhere which would give some indication of what you were taking pictures of.
There is maps of the site as u walk in but this only tells u what all the buildings were in the public area. Its really odd it ends with a wall at the far end u need to scramble over to get to this other stuff as I suppose it was deemed too unsafe to b left public.
There is also underground workings here but the few I found only went in a few feet then were blocked by collapses
 

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Thats the best I can find which handily tells u how to get over the wall. The building marked Mill Laden is the big building I was in.
 

Jane Doe

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Love this place ... beautiful photos... and i love the way nature is relentless in claiming back and encroaching on anything in its way :)
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
What a lovely explore. That wheel is something else. And the flint buildings are great. Nature is definitely the stronger force here, everywhere is being reclaimed, its quite beautiful :thumb
 

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