Luxulyan Valley with Charlestown

luxulyan valley view across treffry viaduct

The steep-sided Luxulyan Valley on the south Cornish coast became an important transport corridor in the nineteenth century

Luxulyan Valley transported ores, granite and china clay. The dynamic local mining entrepreneur Joseph Thomas Austen, ‘Treffry’ after 1838, utilised the valley to carry process water by a specially constructed leat from the fast-flowing Par River to his extensive copper mines at Fowey Consols (Cornwall and Devon’s fourth largest producer), some 3km distant. Austen also constructed the harbour and breakwater at Par, primarily to export copper ore and granite, and set out a canal to link the mines and quarries with the port.  

Charlestown Harbour was constructed by local landowner Charles Rashleigh in the late eighteenth century to facilitate the export of copper ore from the many mines in the area then known as Par Bay. A number of the cobbled floors used for storing the copper ore prior to shipment survive at Charlestown in addition to the granite breakwater and inner dock facility. Charlestown is the best preserved example of an eighteenth and nineteenth century copper port anywhere in the world.

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of B Gamble at Cornwall Council

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