Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape


Heritage Category: World Heritage Site

List Entry Number: 1000105

Date first listed: 2006

Date of most recent amendment: 2010


Ordnance survey map of Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape
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Much of the landscape of Cornwall and West Devon was transformed in the 18th and early 19th centuries as a result of the rapid growth of pioneering copper and tin mining. Its deep underground mines, engine houses, foundries, new towns, smallholdings, ports and harbours, and their ancillary industries together reflect prolific innovation which, in the early 19th century, enabled the region to produce two-thirds of the world's supply of copper. The substantial remains are a testimony to the contribution Cornwall and West Devon made to the Industrial Revolution in the rest of Britain and to the fundamental influence the area had on the mining world at large. Cornish technology embodied in engines, engine houses and mining equipment was exported around the world. Cornwall and West Devon were the heartland from which mining technology rapidly spread.

This is a cultural World Heritage Site in England. Its coordinates are N50 8 10 W5 23 1 and it measures 19,719 hectares.

There is a World Heritage Site Management Plan for the World Heritage Site (2005) and implementation of the objectives and action plan is undertaken by a World Heritage Site team in Cornwall Council. A Steering Group made up of key stakeholders oversees World Heritage activities.


This entry is compiled from information provided by UNESCO who hold the official record for all World Heritage Sites at their Paris Head Quarters. This entry is provided for information only and those requiring further assistance should contact the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO.

Criterion (ii): The development of industrialised mining in Cornwall and west Devon between 1700 and 1914, and particularly the innovative use of the high-pressure steam beam engine, led to the evolution of an industrialised society manifest in the transformation of the landscape through the creation of smallholdings, railways, canals, docks and ports, and the creation or remodelling of towns and villages. Together these had a profound impact on the growth of industrialisation in the United Kingdom, and consequently on industrialised mining around the world.

Criterion (iii): The extent and scope of the remains of copper and tin mining, and the associated transformation of the urban and rural landscapes presents a vivid and legible testimony to the success of Cornish and west Devon industrialised mining when the area dominated the world's output of copper, tin and arsenic.

Criterion (iv): The mining landscape of Cornwall and west Devon, and particularly its characteristic engine houses and beam engines as a technological ensemble in a landscape, reflect the substantial contribution the area made to the Industrial Revolution and formative changes in mining practices around the world.

End of official listing