Carnglaze Slate Caverns
The Carnglaze Slate Caverns, which are well worth a visit, are located near the village of St. Neot and are set in six and a half acres of wooded hillside in the Loveny Valley on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor.
The caverns are known to have been worked since ancient times. Initially there was an open cast quarry but some 300 years ago the miners started to go underground too resulting in the formation of three hand created caverns. Carnglaze is Cornwall’s only slate mine (there are other, open cast quarries) and as such, played an important part in the mining heritage of Cornwall.
Guided tours of the three vast caverns, which are of cathedral proportions, are available (around 45 minutes duration). The famous subterranean lake within the complex has crystal-clear blue-green water. During the tour the visitor will be taken about 150m into the hillside and 60m below ground
The Carnglaze Slate Caverns were actively worked for slate quarrying and mining in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Much of the slate, which is blue in colour, was used for roofing and flooring in buildings. The slate was transported by packhorse to quays on the River Fowey at St. Winnow, near Lostwithiel. Another route lead to the villages of Polperro and Looe.
There are landscaped gardens with water features to explore and the Enchanted Dell, set on the wooded hillside, sells limited edition bronze faery statues. The houses in the Enchanted Dell were designed by the children from St Neot School.
A Woodland Walk leads through Quarry Wood which offers views over to St Neot village,there is also a giant spider and various wood carvings. The wood is home to many different creatures, including roe deer and foxes, birds of prey are often seen circling overhead. In springtime, late April to mid-May, the woodlands are clothed in a spectacular carpet of almost 3 acres of bluebells.
"The Rum Store" is an underground concert and theatre venue with a highly atmospheric setting, excellent acoustics and a capacity for 400. It is so called because during the Second World War the Royal Navy used the first of three caverns at Carnglaze to store its supply of rum. It was converted into an auditorium in 2001.
There is also Minerals of Cornwall and the South West to see, an impressive collection which is on on permanent display. Craft centre and shop selling minerals from around the world and locally made crafts including slate and wood.