Carnglaze Caverns are privately owned by Graham and Caroline Richards. Caroline, whose background is in teaching, specialising in environmental studies, is also a keen amateur geologist. Graham still works in architecture, as well as supporting Caroline in the day to day management of Carnglaze.
When they came to view Carnglaze in March 2001, having seen an advert for the cottage in Country Life magazine (yes, it does pay to daydream at the dentists!), they found not just the three-bedroomed bungalow they were interested in but the complex that is Carnglaze. The decision was taken later that year not just to live at Carnglaze but to share the Caverns and grounds with others. They see themselves as “stewards” of this small part of Cornwall’s Industrial Heritage.
During August 2001 they opened the gates and tourists came, with no advertising. Carnglaze had been opened previously to view the underground lake only but was closed at the time of purchase. With the encouragement of many, they spent the next few months over the winter “refurbishing” the Caverns and grounds in readiness for opening in full in March 2002. The waste slate in the Rum Store Cavern was tidied up and compacted down; the central concrete path was reinstated that was originally laid by The Royal Navy; and 120 tonnes of sand laid to produce a smooth floor in readiness for the concert chairs.
Quarry Wood had a footpath cut through to create the Woodland Walk, into which were placed the faerie statues and wooden sculptures. Brambles were cleared to allow the Bluebells and other woodland flowers to return in force. The woodland flowers were also encouraged to return to the less-manicured gardens which, in turn, have encouraged the diversity of insects and other wildlife. There are many creatures and birds that call Carnglaze their “home” (see our green policy section).
Graham and Caroline are more than ably supported by Geoff Wilton, our deputy manager, who has looked after the grounds and Caverns for more than 30 years, (he came as part of the purchase!) and Pam Cutmore, a horticulturalist, who also helps with the ticket office and bookkeeping. Alongside these are several others who assist on event nights. Over the years there have been many other members of staff, without whose help we would not be where we are today. Our thanks and appreciation go to all of them.
The vision Graham and Caroline have for Carnglaze is to provide a warm (!), friendly environment where visitors can learn about part of Cornwall’s Industrial Heritage; enjoy the outstanding acoustics of The Rum Store; celebrate getting married; wander through Quarry Wood and above all relax in an unrushed, family-centred environment.