Rosevale Mine

Useful Information

Location: South of Zennor, Cornwall peninsula, west of St. Ives.
Open: on appointment for groups of 5-15 persons.
Classification: MineTin Mine
Light: Miners battery lamps, helmets, and rubber boots provided.
Guided tours: D=1-2 h.
Address: Rosevale Mine, Rosevale Historical Mining Society, E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


18th century Wheal Chance mine operated by local miners.
1840 mine closed.
~1900 re-opened by local miners who had returned from abroad.
OCT-1912 purchased by Rayfield Tin Syndicate Ltd., renamed Zennor Mine.
FEB-1914 fall of tin price.
1914 mine closed due to World War I.
1974 leased by the West Cornwall Mining & Minerals Club, begin of restoration.
1975 Rosevale Historical Mining Society(RHMS) formed.
1990s tours to obtain additional funding for the mine restauration.


The typical ores for Cornwall are tin ores in narrow fissures crossing the granite diapir radially. From the coast they run towards the center of the peninsula. The granite diapir, which actually forms the main part of the peninsula, was formed by an intrusion of hot magma. Stuck underground, the magma cools very slowly, as the surrounding rock insulates the heat, so the result contains big patches of different minerals. After the magma became solid granite, the rock was still very hot. When ground water reached the hot rock it broke and got fissures, which slowly became wider by the shrinking of the rock due to the cooling. The water circulated through the cracks in thermal convection cells. The heated water is able to dissolve small amounts of minerals from the surrounding rocks which were deposited in the clefts.

The result is a so-called hydrothermal ore deposit. The ores are very high grade, easy to smelt, and as such they were important for Medieval mining. The narrow clefts on the other hand make mining difficult, it is best done by hand. This was no problem during the middle ages, but modern mines try to reduce manual work by machinery. Such ore bodies have lost their relevance to modern mining completely.


The Rosevale Mine is located on the northern coast of Cornwall near Zennor. This Medieval mine follows a narrow vein in the granite, which was filled with very rich hydrothermal tin ores. The mine is visited with gum boots, helmet, and miners light, which are provided.

A tour starts by entering the mine on the lower level (No.2 Level), the entrance is located at a small leveled plateau near the bottom of the Foage Valley. There is numerous mining equipment, which was used by the Rosevale Historical Mining Society to restore the mine into its original state. At the rear end of the mine, the mined cleft forms a high but narrow, slightly slanted chamber. Here the visitors climb 30 m on fixed wooden ladders in a near vertical stope up to another level (No.1 Level). The mine is left through this tunnel and there is a short walk downhill, back to the entrance.

The mine is privately owned, three enthusiasts own and restore the mine with their work and money, and money obtained from public tours. At the moment tours are offered only on a pre-arranged basis for private groups of between 5 to 15 people. But the mine is also available as a research site, for students of mining or geology, for survey courses or geologic research. And it is available for film shoots, having been used by the BBC and by several independent film companies for documentaries, drama and advertising.