Monday, 10 July 2017

Walking in the neighbourhood

The weather continues warm and we took ourselves off for a walk from home. Just round and about to stretch the muscles and open up the airways. There's always something to see on your own doorsteps when you take the time to go and look.
Out of our front door, up our lane and then a right turn for a just under 4 mile circuit. The route took in quiet lanes, woodland footpaths, old miners' tracks, industrial archaeology sites and some far-reaching views. And a few inclines to get the hearts pumping. Lucky us.
The ivy-covered engine house and chimney of the Windsor Mine. This was consolidated a few years ago but it doesn't take long for the ivy to grow back and takeover. The roof is still reasonably intact but is now out-of-bounds to the casual walker. This mine was in operation from the mid-1800s until the very early 1900s. Copper, tin, arsenic, silver, lead - you name it, they went for it. Over the years, the many changes of ownership meant that the name changed and the type of minerals mined varied.
Just up the hill from the Windsor Mine are the remains of the Holmbush Mine, also know as the Hitchens' Shaft Complex. I've not been able to find out who Hitchens was and why he gave his name to a big hole in the ground. There are many mineral processing artifacts around these buildings and it is likely that ores from nearby smaller mines, like Windsor, were brought here for processing and purification. At its peak, there were over 100 men and boys working underground here, with an equivalent number working on the surface. As with most mines in the area, the Holmbush Mine has not been worked seriously since the late 1800s, although some of the spoil heaps have been reworked spasmodically over the years. To bring the story right up to date, an Australian company is currently doing some test drills to see if it is worth restarting mining in the area for Tungsten and whatever else makes it worth their while. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.

A field in South Coombeshead Lane. Although it takes a little imagination, there is a depression in the middle of this field which was caused by a RAF plane crashing there in 1941 with the loss of 4 lives.
This is a copy of the plaque to the four airmen which was place in Stoke Climsland Church a few years ago, in the presence of some members of two of the airmen's families. I was involved in the researches that revealed the personal details of the men and it still rankles that they were not listed on the plaque in alphabetical order, rather than in order of rank. One day, maybe, I'll give some more details about the men.
Stoke Climsland Church from near the site of the 'plane crash.
For many years the route from Callington to Launceston went through the centre of Stoke Climsland village and this milestone is alongside that old road However when the Callington Turnpike Trust was established in 1785 this road was bypassed in favour of the route taken by the present day A388 to Launceston via Wooda bridge and Treburley. I guess we people of Stoke Climsland should feel lucky that this two hundred year old bypass has left us with such a quiet village.

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