to a place where people learn about Cornwall’s mining past and green energy future. This is the Meadow Barns Centre, perched high on a hill, with St Austell Bay ahead and Luxulyan Valley woods below – one of the best sea views in Cornwall.

Winter visit, with hot chocolate & stories by the fire

The views may be what you notice first, but our location is special for other reasons. We are right at the centre of an area of mining history and hydro (water energy) systems. This is where people love to come to read or listen to stories, play with water wheels and then go walking through historic landscapes.

We see restoration of historic energy-generating structures – such as wind and water mills, reservoirs, mines and tramways – as a wonderful opportunity for communities to come together and make a difference. For this reason, early in 2022, we propose to set up a new organisation of Heritage and Hydro Restore.

Centre Director, Caroline Stephenson, is shown in the image above telling stories and sharing pictures, in front of the famous Treffry Viaduct. Between January 10th and approximately March 4th 2022, whilst the Black Hill car park in Luxulyan Valley is closed for re-surfacing, she has put together a special offer package for locals.

Come and park at Meadow Barns, and enhance your walk with a few ‘extras’. Read on for a short summary of what is coming .. online booking facility will be available by January 12th. In the meantime, please text your enquiry to 07967 653346


D.I.Y. visit – this is where people want the minimum attention, just parking for one vehicle, a look around the displays, use of the loos and the open-fronted, covid-safe ‘Cafe/Shed’ for eating their own picnic, and loan of a pack containing snippets of stories/ information and maps to take with them as they navigate this eastern side of the valley. The special locals price starts at £5 for 3 hours, either 10 a.m. to 1, or 1 to 4 p.m. bookable in advance. There is a refundable deposit of £10 (CASH please) when you borrow the walk pack.

STORY visit – this is the option that adds a set of stories, chosen to match the interests of the group. They are a great way to bring the history and the green energy systems (especially the hydro) to life, either around Meadow Barns displays and activities, or on a walk. On a nice spring day, you could make a whole day out, with stories on site in the morning and a guided walk after lunch.

Up to Easter, story sessions at the centre start at £12 minimum (for the first hour), then £6 each half hour on top. At least 50p will be donated to restoration funds. If told on a walk to the valley, due to insurance and licence costs, the amounts go up to £16 (for the first hour) and £10 each half hour on top.

A little later in the year, it is intended to offer stories and walks starting from Luxulyan, down to the viaduct. These will include all the most up to date news on restoration of the tramway track.

A few of the stories and walks are already described under ‘Day Visit’ and ‘Green Hero’, but a full list (25 stories and 12 walks of Mr. J.T. Austen Treffry), will be uploaded soon. In the meantime, it may whet your appetite to see how a 3rd type of visit has operated in the past.

SCHOOLS visit, working in 3 teams: –


You will identify the local mines, learn about rocks and ores, go prospecting for tin, copper and lithium – the mineral of great potential today. Here is a short film of the ‘Red Team’ from Gorran School, engaged in these mine explorations.


Next you will view a miniature landscape, featuring local hydro systems (leats and a canal). This gives you an overview of how water and wheels were used to generate power 200 years ago, all invented by our Green Hero, Mr. JT Austen Treffry. We also explain how wheels or turbines can help make green energy today. The Gorran ‘Blue Team’ demonstrate for us, here.


The 3rd set of activities revolve around green building and green energy systems, which have been used in converting the barns.

Caroline is seen here during her ‘Grand Design’ type project (as described in Green Build) … lots of stories to share!

The ‘Green Team’ sum up some of the content for you.


After a snack break, (in Cornwall we call it ‘Crib Time’) we undertake a little safety training and set off to explore. Find more about this walk & others locally here https://themeadowbarns.co.uk/walks/.

Miner’s Pork or Vegan Pasty
Bag of ‘sweet mossels’ (morsels)


Studying viaduct construction on a guided walk

A magical day out with a wonderful guide and host.

Our 4 year old had a brilliant time!

David Morgan

Testing different types of water wheels
Eden drilling rig

Fascinating to gain this understanding of renewable energy and see such positive steps towards a sustainable future.

Amanda Penk

ACCOMMODATION – more information, see Overnight

A review of a camping stay on Fig Tree lawn.

This is our 3rd visit! The centre is a favourite place for us, where we can help our grand children learn so much – fitness, camping, history & how to be responsible green citizens.

Roger Larham

Finally, if you cannot visit in person we have loads of other things to offer at a click of the mouse, in the ‘Do More!’ download area. There you will find Green Campaigns and the weekly Green Fridays Blog http://www.betterways2learn.co.uk/green-campaigns-blog/

Also at ‘Betterways2learn’ you can find an archive of free films, download PDF publications, and from Easter 2022, will be able to purchase some Treffry Tramway Trails packs, of maps, images and history – these link with Green Hero, Mr. JT Austen Treffry of Fowey.

Key Features of The Meadow Barns

  • Exceptional panoramic coastal views
  • Unique local history stories (Treffry Tales)
  • Woodland walk and story experiences
  • Waterwheel learning centre
  • Green energy (solar & biomass) systems
  • Excellent value ‘save the planet’ accommodation
Artist impression

Front patio of cottage

Wild flower banks
Model of Luxulyan Valley
Overshot water wheel

What our supporters say

“At Meadow Barns you are perfectly placed to tell the story, paint the BIG picture! “

Sir Tim Smit

“So pleased that you want to inform people about Joseph Thomas Austen Treffry”

Jonathan & Sarah Treffry

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