The Unexpected Devon & Cornwall Motorhome tour- Part One- Morwhellham Quay
It’s amazing how a little sleep can make you see things in a happier light. Last night I was fuming at having to pay £24 for one night’s stay- but today I’m grateful that we were on a site, we had a great night’s sleep and we were able to set ourselves up for the next few days. Here’s the campsite in the (slightly foggy) light of day. For details of how we got here (instead on being in Norfolk!) read here
First job was to figure out where we wanted to go. As luck would have it, it turns out we were just down the road from somewhere I had wanted to visit for a very long time- Morwhellham Quay. This is a reconstructed historic port, village, copper mine and railway- right at the top of the River Tamar. Big boats used to sail up the river where the copper and other goods were loaded onboard and then they’d sail off again. I watched a documentary on it years ago and was excited by being able to visit at last. Baby Bird was excited by the prospect of a trip into the heart of a mine.
The day was particularly cool & foggy- not at all like the late October sunshine we enjoyed yesterday. We pulled into the car park at Morwhellham, expecting it to be crowded- it was October half term after all- but to our surprise the car park was mainly empty. We paid the entrance fee (£44 for all 3 of us) and the lovely lady on the desk held the next train into the copper mine so we wouldn’t have to wait 2 hours for the next one! I was especially grateful as the next train was a ‘ghost train’ for Halloween… and that didn’t appeal to me at all!
The walk from the entrance to the train station took about 10 minutes- made worse when you know an entire load of strangers are waiting for you! The ‘train’ is an open style carriage so you have 360 degree visibility but its probably not much fun in the pouring rain. It starts off with a lovely journey along the river, whilst a very funny and knowledgable guide explains a little about the hillside around you, why they mined for copper here and how the process worked. It was astounding the back-breaking work our ancestors used to do for such little reward- we felt very lucky not to have to do that for a living.
Eventually, the train reached the entrance into the mine and they weren’t messing around- this tunnel went deep and it was completely black. Couldn’t see a thing. Every now and then we passed under an air vent which let some light down but showed us how far under the hill we were.
The train stopped at various points and the guide explained more about the process and what the roles of the men were inside the mine. The whole trip took about an hour but was well worth doing- totally recommend it. Just pick a dry day unless you have good waterproofs.
The rest of Morwhellham Quay was more set up for younger children. There was a sweet shop that we avoided for the sake of our teeth and a couple of gift shops which we also avoided. We panned for gold next to the massive waterwheel and read a little of the history of the settlement. You could easily spend hours there if you wanted to read/ do everything, but we decided to move on and head off to Dartmoor Zoo. You can read about that adventure here.
Watch the video of our trip to Morwhellham Quay: