Underground Tours in Cornwall

Carnglaze is set amongst 6.5 acres of ancient oak woodland in the steep-sided Loveny Valley on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Initially there was an open cast quarry but some 300 years ago the miners started to go underground too resulting in the formation of three hand created caverns of cathedral proportions. During your tour you will go about 150m into the hillside and 60m below ground. Between the first chamber, which is on the level and is fully accessible, there is a flight of 60 steps down to the other two chambers. In the lower chambers you will find the underground lake with its crystal clear blue/green water.

For much of the year you will be briefed and equipped with a route plan, safety helmet and rechargeable torch to go on a self-guided tour of the three chambers. Underground are information points which tell the story of Carnglaze and the skill of the miners. In high seasons guided tours may be in operation as there is a limit on numbers allowed in the lower chambers at one time. As part of the tour, in the first chamber, you will be able to browse a comprehensive collection of minerals mined and quarried in the South West. Please note that the Caverns have to close temporarily for the duration of an underground wedding ceremony. Please check the events page for dates and times of upcoming weddings.

Carnglaze is home to five recorded species of bats, some of whom sleep and hibernate in the unlit areas, so we ask you to switch off any flash settings on cameras and phones, so they are not disturbed.

The Caverns are at a constant 10°C underground, so a jumper and sensible footwear are recommended.

Cornish Mining Heritage

Carnglaze is Cornwall’s only slate mine (there are other, open cast quarries) and as such, played an important part in the mining heritage of Cornwall.

It was of course slate that roofed the industrial revolution and the finely laminated, dark blue slate from Carnglaze was extensively used in South East Cornwall and further afield.

At Carnglaze there is also visible evidence of tin and copper mining, not accessible today for safety reasons.

Woodland Walk and Enchanged Dell at Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall

Set amongst the wooded hillside at Carnglaze is a magical collection of limited edition bronze faeries, mushrooms and dragons.

Wander through the Terrace Garden along its zigzag pathways, through woodland flowers to the Enchanted Dell. Find Shanhara and her friends, where seasonal streams and a waterfall add to the enchantment. The houses in the Enchanted Dell were designed by the children from St Neot School, in collaboration with the Faeries, and built by our groundsman Geoff!

Follow the Woodland Walk through Quarry Wood to a panoramic view of St Neot village, looking out for Hubert’s House, a giant spider and various wood carvings before looping back to the main site: a round walk of approx. 25 minutes, or longer if you are counting the faeries! Children’s trail information is available at the ticket office.

Quarry Wood suitable for kids and families

Home to many different creatures, their various “holes” can be seen by the edges of the footpaths, set into the hillside. Sometimes visitors are privileged to see a roe deer or a fox walking through the woodlands. Birds of prey are often seen circling overhead. The more discerning walker will spot many woodland birds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees and much much more ~ attracted to the nectar rich flora and healthy food web of this sustainably managed woodland. See our Green Policy for more details.

Bluebells in the ancient woodland walk that kids love

In Spring, late April to mid-May normally, the ancient oak woodlands have a spectacular carpet of up to 4 acres of bluebells and other seasonal wild flowers. The Woodland Walk through Quarry Wood remains open on Tuesday evenings during the flowering of the bluebells for those who would like to enjoy the early evening perfume at its best.