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  "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul" - John Muir.

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Thanks again for taking us to such beautiful parts of Cornwall. The journey was really great with you.

- Rose Marie D, Germany

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Walking blog: The philosophy of walking

In awe of ore

cathedrals of toil
The Great Flat Lode is a mainly rural 7 mile (12km) trail based around the 228m Carn Brea and Bassett monument with what must be the greatest number of preserved mining buildings, shafts and artefacts from the county’s industrial heritage in the world. Along with other mining sites in Cornwall and Devon it became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/).
Here on this trail, there are remnants of the dominant industrious activity that heralded the Industrial Revolution in. It celebrates Cornwall’s technological nous, understanding and organisation, of the “Hard Rock Men” who eventually spread their honed expertise and knowledge throughout the world. This area was the crucible of the copper and tin revolution and the buildings remain as historic cathedrals of toil. The architecture, awe inspiring in itself as symbols of life long sweat can barely evoke the actual body breaking work of extracting the ore from the ever deepening shafts.
Engine houses, smelting works, stamps, shafts, tramway tunnels and museums (www.kingedwardmine.co.uk ) all feature along the trail. Humbling as the experience is, feelings of pride, awe, sadness and respect welled up within the author whilst traversing this landscape. One can only be moved by the scale and complexity of the numerous sites. The ripple effect of the industry must have permeated the lives of those who lived and worked here whilst the lodes were viable. Later, in harder times with the advent of migration, cheques would eagerly be awaited from odd sounding addresses in Australia, South Africa, North and South America where the migrant Uncle Jacks sent back the monetary spoils earned in return for their knowledge. In the mining heyday surrounding countryside villages grew and were interwoven into the industry’s success and the eventual wane has left granite tombs and an all so familiar skeletal infrastructure.

smelting works on the Great Flat Lode at Seleggan