The public can discover more about local history and the work ongoing to highlight the importance of the little-known mining heritage of a popular Cornish beach at a free event this weekend.
Experts are working to find out if the search for tin and copper in the cliffs at Perranporth began in medieval or even prehistoric times.
Thousands of visitors enjoy Perranporth’s beautiful beach, but many don’t realise that most of the caves in the cliffs are man-made. The coast was used for mining rather than leisure in the past, with the solid rock being tunnelled through by miners. Evidence of mining along the coast is being lost as the cliffs erode in the face of increasing winter storms.
The research is being carried out by University of Exeter archaeologist Dr Gillian Juleff, who grew up in the area, with Perranzabuloe Museum, Perranzabuloe Parish Council, Dr Nicola Whyte from the University’s Department of Humanities and Dr Kate Moore from the Camborne School of Mines.
Throughout the day on Sunday, 27 May, as part of the project, there will be pop-up talks and walks by local experts on the beach on topics such as Perranporth’s connections with Winston Graham and Poldark, mining heritage, seine fishing, geology, the history of surfing and St Piran’s Oratory. There will also be a beach art activity that visitors can join in with and the museum will be open for visitors to see the new Beach and Storms display.
Dr Juleff, who was inspired to become an archaeometallurgist in part because of her mining roots in Cornwall said: “There is so much we don’t know about the mining history of the beach and cliffs. We want to find ways to tell people about the mining heritage on this coastline. We are also carrying out an integrated survey of the cliffs that includes oral histories from the local community as well as geology, archaeology and environmental sciences.
“The sand in the area is shifting and the cliffscape is constantly changing. We hope our work will help all involved safeguard the environment and promote Perranporth’s mining heritage to the tens of thousands of visitors that come to Perranporth every year. We looking forward to meeting the community at this event, which promises to be a fascinating and fun day.”
This is the second Heritage on the Beach community day run by those who are working on the project including Perranzabuloe Museum volunteers and Exeter students. The first event in September last year won the “Audience Initiative” award at the first Cornwall Heritage Awards.