A tour of Central Cornwall.

This tour takes in the long established china clay industry, a Victorian house and garden, as well as a refreshing interlude at Cornwall’s top vineyards. It starts at St Austell on the south coast and can finish there if, on leaving Lanhydrock house, you take the B3269 and the A390 back to St Austell.

The China Clay Country Park is 2 miles north of St Austell on the B3274 between St Austell and the villages of Stenalees From the town centre in St. Austell, take the B3274 to the village of Carthew. The entrance to the village is on your left.

Lunar landscape of the quarry

Settling tanks

Wheal Martyn

Kaolin or china clay, is formed from the decomposition of minerals in Granite. It is a fine white powder that is extracted with the use of water to give a slurry. The slurry is then pumped firstly into refining channels, then into settling pits, and finally into settling tanks where it remains for up to three months. Once is has begun to solidify it is transferred to a kiln, where it is dried and cut up into blocks.It is used in a vast range of products, from pottery and paper to toothpaste.

Wheal Martyn China clay museum was set up in 1975 on the site of 2 china clay quarries. The walk up through the old workings leads to a working pit, where current extraction can be witnessed in a landscape that resembles the moon. Currently about 2000 tonnes are produced every week. The 35 foot waterwheel (see picture) is the largest working wheel in Cornwall.

Leave Wheal Martyn and turn left down the road to Bugle. Cross the Newquay railway line and carry on for about 2.5 miles to the roundabout on the A30. Ignore the A30 turnings, but take the Bodmin road (2nd exit) through the village of Lanivet. After approx 2.5 miles, turn left down the minor road to Nanstallon. Go through the village and cross the River camel at Boscarne. Turn left and follow the signs to Camel Valley Vineyard.

Bob and Sam Lindo in the Vineyard (Picture from Camel Valley Web site

Camel Valley

The vineyard of Camel Valley is one of Cornwall’s top food attractions, and is run by 2 generations of the Lindo family. Planted in 1989, it is the largest of the Cornish vineyards, and stretches down a south facing slope to the Camel. The vineyard is open Monday to Friday all the year and on Saturdays from Easter to the end of September. The shop sells a wide range of award winning wines

From Camel Valley, go back to the Boscarne road, and turn left up the hill. At Mount Charles, turn right down the A389 to Bodmin. In the town, look for signs for the B3268 turning off right. Go past the station on your right and leave the town. After 2 miles, you will cross the A30. Just beyond the bridge, you will see signs to Lanhydrock house to your left.


Lanhydrock is described as a magnificent Victorian mansion A fire in 1881 destroyed all but the 17th Century gatehouse and the north wing. However, the rest of the house was rebuilt with the latest in contemporary living, including central heating. The garden has an extensive collection of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias. The 900 acre estate comprises woods and parkland, running down to the River Fowey. Visits to the house (with guided tour) are estimated to take about 2 hours. There is a shop and restaurant


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