Home Page Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand - Slate Quarries  

Walking from Tintagel Castle to Trebarwith Strand, through the lovely cliff side scenery of Glebe and Treknow cliffs, you will pass St. Materiana, a fine old Norman Church. Further on the coastal path also leads you through the remains of a once thriving slate industry. There is evidence that slate has been quarried here since 1650 and the last, Long Grass Quarry, did not close until 1937.  The slate has been worked in two ways, the traditional digging down from above to form large quarries as was done in Lanterdan and West quarries; and, north of Hole Beach, small quarries working the actual cliff side.  In Lanterdan quarry there is a tall pinnacle of rock left behind (left) as the slate in the pinnacle was of inferior quality. Shorter pinnacles were left in West Quarry for the same reason. Masonry strongpoints were built in the smaller cliff face quarries to support timber structures which lowered cradles and buckets down the cliff face. The slate itself was exported from Tintagel Haven on boats 'hobbled' in a similar fashion to that used at Boscastle.  A wharf was also constructed at Penhallic Point where the cliff edge was trimmed to form  a  100ft  vertical  face. Ships  would  lie against this face in the natural deep-water berth whilst the slate was lowered by crane down into their holds.

If you walk towards Trebarwith Strand from Tintagel Head you will pass: 

You will, no doubt, also use and pass rights of way across the fields that lie between the village of Treknow and the old quarries. These four paths were the ones used by the men working in the quarries.  The signs of their passing can be seen on the well-worn steps of the slate stiles over the stone walls of the fields. Many of these walls are built of slate in the local 'curzyway' style where the slates are laid diagonally in a chevron design with horizontal sections at regular intervals for added strength.  

Lanterdan and West Quarries

These two quarries were worked in the traditional quarrying manner and are notable for the huge amounts of slate that have been extracted here.  The tall stacks of rock were left behind by the quarrymen because they are composed of inferior slate.  The remains of old tram lines and buildings can be seen though these quarries are long since disused.

Cliff-face Quarrying

In the cliff face quarries, masonry strongpoints on the cliff tops supported 'poppet heads' and 'tail masts'. Cable ways were laid between these with the tail mast forming the anchor.  Travelling cradles moved along these cables and from these buckets and hoops could be lowered down the face of the cliff to the men working below.  Huge chunks of slate were then hauled up the cliffs, usually by horses or donkeys, and split into smaller roofing slates in the splitting sheds. Tintagel youth hostel has been converted from the old office, engine and blacksmith's shop of Long Grass Quarry, which was the last working quarry here closing in 1937.  In the previous year a man was killed whilst working here. Another tragic accident happened in 1886 when three men were killed when the rock they were drilling, broke off and fell into the sea taking them with it. Opposite the youth hostel is Gull Point Quarry and the round platform near the top is where a blindfolded donkey used to circle operating the winding gear. Looking across the cove from the hostel you can see the masonry strongpoints and the two deep, vertical bites where the quarrymen have taken the slate. Lambshouse Quarry operated between the two sites and Gillow quarry lay between Long Grass Quarry and Tintagel Castle.  Past Penhallic point and its disused wharf can be found the remains of Dria and Bagalow quarries.

Bagalow Beach to Trebarwith Strand Bagalow Beach
Dunderhole Point Dunderhole Point & Gull Point Quarry    
Gull Point Masonry Strongpoint Higher Penhallic Point
Foot of Dennis Scale Lanterdan and West quarries West Quarry, Slate Industry - Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand
Hole Beach to Penhallic Point Cliff side quarrying Hole Beach Lanterdan Quarry Penhallic Point from West Quarry Penhallic Point to Trebarwith Strand
St. Materiana Church Gull Point