Danescombe Mine

Calstock, Cornwall

Overview

A courageous conversion has made the engine house of a former mine a lovely and interesting Landmark. Standing by a stream in a steep wooded valley leading down to the Tamar, the mine worked on and off from 1822 to 1900.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • RemoteRemote

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
4
4 nights from
£241 equivalent to £15.06 per person, per night

Nestled in the woods

In the woods above Danescombe lie the abandoned shafts of other mines; and only a short and beautiful walk away is Cotehele, a noteworthy unaltered medieval house owned by the National Trust. We took a long lease from the National Trust for this Landmark, which was in a dilapidated state and without a roof.

Following a careful restoration it now makes a comfortable base to get a good sense of the tremendous past of the Devon and Cornish mining industry. This was a dreadful but romantic trade that has its own mythology and enriched, among others, the Dukes of Bedford and the family of William Morris. The mine worked on and off from 1822 to 1900, kept alive by the demand for arsenic which protected cotton against the boll weevil.

The living room leads onto wooden decking where you can sit out and overhear the stream running past the back door and wonder what life was like here a century ago.

‘The decking cries out for coffee, cream cakes and cocktails.’

Woman and Home Magazine

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Danescombe Mine is a short distance from Calstock, a small village dominated by a spectacular viaduct, which carries the Tamar Valley Line, one of England's loveliest country rail branch lines. Travel in style to visit nearby Cothele, an impressive Tudor mansion set high on the banks of the River Tamar, amidst an extensive estate with gardens and orchards. Take a ramble through the woodlands surrounding Cothele, following planned routes.

Calstock also hosts an ecclectic mix of  music festivals and events . 

Experience life in Victorian times first hand during a day out at Morwhellham Quay, a fascinating, award-winning museum. There's a wealth of fun activities for all, such as: exploring the enchanting, historic village; travelling deep underground to venture into a copper mine; dressing up in period costumes. 

Nearby museums include Cotehele (2.4 miles) and Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre (14.9 miles). You can gain free entry to both with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it at artfund.org/national-art-pass.

For more information on things to do during your stay at Danescombe Mine, please see our Pinterest page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions

‘My favourite Landmark! Sleeping in the top bedroom is like being in a tree house.’

From the logbook

FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Calstock – 4 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There are two parking spaces at the bottom of the steps which lead up to the mine.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and a wood burning stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    Yes, the stairs are steep with open sides and treads.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a small decking area.
  • Is this a property for hardier visitors?

    Yes, this property is hard to heat in winter.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Former copper and arsenic mine

Danescombe Mine is a former copper and arsenic mine, which was worked on and off throughout the 19th century. Its beginnings are obscure, but it was working before 1837 when it was restarted under leases granted by Lord Ashburton and the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. This company was wound up in 1842 and the 30-inch pumping engine was sold to the South Hooe lead mine on the other side of the river, and the steam whim to Marke Valley in Linkinhorne.

There were further operations at the mine and the closely related Wheal Calstock mine between 1846 and 1868, the company's name being changed to Calstock Consols in 1850. The machinery was sold off in 1872. Then the mine was restarted again in 1888 and both copper and arsenic were produced. After 1900 production ceased, though there was some later prospecting in the valley.

The varying fortunes of the Danescombe mine and the replacement of copper by arsenic as the main product were the result not only of the unpredictability of mining, but also of the changing economic situation. Copper mining was rendered unprofitable in Cornwall by the discovery of deposits in Cube, South Australia, Chile and then Michigan, culminating in the great copper slump of 1866-8. Tin became the mainstay of Cornish mining after copper declined, but the opening-up of the Australian tin deposits brought about a slump in the 1870s. The subsequent opening of mines in the Malay states and in Bolivia after 1900 further injured the Cornish tin mines. In 1891 there were 6,156 men and boys classed as miners in Cornwall; seven years later this number was 2,749. Thus the events in Danescombe are representative of the experience at all Cornish mines. Even today, the decline of the world tin price can make Cornish tin uneconomic to mine and thus what was once the country's main industry is virtually extinct.

For a short history of Danescombe Mine please click here.

To read the full history album for Danescombe Mine please click here.

Restoration

Only the structural walls were sound

The part of the mine buildings that is now leased by the Landmark Trust from the National Trust and let out for holidays, was restored in 1972-3 to plans drawn up by Paul Pearn of Pearn and Procter, architects of Plymouth. They formerly housed an engine, a Cornish boiler and crushing plant. The builders who worked on the project were E.L. Greening and Sons, of Tavistock. When work began the building was extremely dilapidated with only the structural walls being sound and there was no roof.

In the course of restoration the following alterations were made. A new staircase of steel strings and traditional cast-iron open chequer type treads was placed at the north end of the building and new floors were inserted at the levels of the original platforms. A concrete slab was poured at the entrance level over the pit, which housed the condenser and this and the higher ground floor were finished with the used slate flagstones. The upper floors were laid over now softwood joists; the new floor covered what would have been the large hole for the tall condenser. The roof trusses, of softwood, were left exposed, whilst the covering is random width Delabole slates with a grey clay ridge tile. It is almost certain that the original slates would have come from that famous Cornish slate quarry or one very near it. By great good luck it was possible to reinstate the cast-iron window frames. A firm was found, Irons Bros. of Wadebridge, who still had the moulds for the window frames of the right size and new ones were cast.

The buff-coloured bricks for the quoins, which had originally been made at Calstock nearby, were matched with some from the brick yard of Messrs.Hexter Humpherson of Newton Abbot. From these a new flight of steps was made between the boiler house and crushing plant building. A terrace of open timber slats was made at the top of walls which carried the axles of the winding gear and balance wheels, surrounded with a traditional balustrade consisting of diagonal criss-cross members. This has been painted in the red-oxide colour which is still commonly used in the county. Almost the only alteration that was made to the original plan was the new top window. The gap where the lever of the main engine would have protruded was glassed over, forming a top bedroom with a wonderful view down the valley. The glazing has been arranged in small pieces and allowed to overlap, as is still found in early industrial buildings.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.