St. Agnes is a picturesque village on the north coast of Cornwall. Steeped in mining history, the village still retains a traditional friendly Cornish atmosphere and makes a wonderful base for your holiday, with four varied beaches and a central location for touring the rest of Cornwall.
It has dramatic coastal walks and breathtaking scenery filled with relics from the past. It is fortunate in having a thriving community with a choice of shops. There are several pubs, cafes and restaurants, serving food and drink to cater for all tastes and pockets. It still has a bank in the village and a thriving Post Office. There is a large and modern Doctor's surgery, and a veterinary surgeon should they be required. St Agnes offers a variety of year-round activities for all the family.
St Agnes is well known for its high quality tin, which has been mined for hundreds of years. The remains of the old engine houses can still be seen today around the cliffs of St Agnes and around the village. St Agnes has some of the finest surfing beaches in the UK. Whether surfboarding or bodyboarding, there's no better place to try your hand at one of Cornwall's most famous watersports.
Mount Hawke is an expanding village in the parish of St Agnes, which stands atop a high flat area of land within a short distance of the north coast village of Porthtowan. Mount Hawke dates from the 18th Century. A village which grew as a result of local copper mining activities. Between the village and Porthtowan, an extensive copper working area was until recent years visible.
Navvy Pit, as it was known locally, formed part of Wheal Music, the largest open cast copper mine in Europe. This ancient open-work of stringer lodes is reported to have made profits of in excess of £100,000 by 1843. From 1815 to 1833, Wheal Music produced at least 4596 tons of copper ore. Unfortunately, this huge excavation was filled with rubble over a number of years including stone from Wheal Concorde Mine. The name is believed to derive from the Hawke family, ropemakers and the lane Ropewalk bears testimony to this former industry. The church is dedicated to St John the Baptist and is of relatively modern construction being erected in 1878. The font is believed to be Norman, removed from Trevaunance manor chapel at St Agnes.
Porthtowan is set in a narrow winding valley flanked by impressive granite cliffs. The village has a great beach and a wealth of heritage. A little over a century ago the scene was very different, back then mining flourished with the most notable mine, Wheal Towan copper mine generating incredible wealth. Owned by Ralph Allen Daniell of Trelissick who it is said earned a guinea a minute, day and night from the mine during it’s heyday in the late 18th century. That’s £10,000 a week in old money!
Located just to the north of Porthtowan at Chapel Porth is the Towan Roath engine house, the archetypal Cornish mine dramatically positioned on the cliffs overlooking the beach. There is still some evidence of the old mining tramways network used to transport the tin or copper ore to the nearby harbours of Portreath and St Agnes. These tramways are presently being converted into cycle-paths and footpaths. These days Porthtowan is probably best known as a popular holiday destination owing largely to its extensive sandy beach and this is indeed where the name is derived (Porth – beach and towan – dunes). In fact its popularity as a resort dates back to the Victorians who came here to brave the Atlantic, mainly from the nearby towns of Redruth and Camborne.The beach itself is huge at low tide extending as far as St Agnes Head in the north and joining up with Chapel Porth Beach on the way. As one of the more exposed beaches on this stretch of Atlantic coast Porthtowan is a great surfing beach producing powerful, ‘hollow’ waves – probably not the best spot for beginners when there is a swell running. Being a Blue Flag beach means you can rest assured there is no shortage of amenities and facilities at Porthtowan.
Blackwater is a small rural village situated in the Parish of St Agnes between Truro and Redruth and close to the north coast and its sandy beaches.The Victorian philanthropist and journalist John Passmore Edwards was born here.