Wheal Martyn - Historical Trail
The historical trail takes you through the old clay works, where you will be able to see the largest working water wheel in Cornwall at 35 feet high. It is the power source traditionally used to power the pumps at the pit used to pump slurry out of the pit to the processing areas. The wheel is connected to red flat rods which travelled through the site to the pit over a mile away from the wheel itself.
The Historic trail guides visitors through the former Wheal Martyn China Clay Works, past water wheels, settling tanks and sand drags helping to uncover the secrets of the China Clay industry.
Look out for the slurry pump used to move slurry around the site. It was powered by the 18ft water wheel and is still vital for the site today circulating water around the drags and tanks.
Near the slurry pump is the workers crib hut. This was the small tin hut used by the refining workers as a canteen. It had a small stove inside used to warm their pasties and heat water in a big black kettle for their tea. It was the job of the Kettle boy who could be as young as 13, to keep the kettle boiling and make sure all the pasties were ready for the men when they had finished their mornings' work.
Stroll through the Linhay or Pan kiln where the clay was finally dried and packed into casks or bags for shipment to customers. The clay was dried by the heat from furnaces at one end of the building. The hot air created circulated under the tiled floor drying the clay spread out on top of the tiles.
When you have walked the historic trail why not walk up to the viewing platform right at the top of the pit. You willl be able to see hundreds of feet down into the working area where the modern industry is at work. You may be lucky and see a monitor at work washing out the clay from the face of the pit.