Mid Cornwall Mining, past & present; Green Construction & Power; Nature & Habitats; Stories & Creative Arts: –

These are subjects that anyone can apply to study at a Higher Education level, from the age of 18.

But what if you are much younger, or older, or only have time for a short, fun introduction? A bit of STEAM (which is the new acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), served with a helping of ‘Climate Hope’, instead of all the doom and gloom we hear so much these days?

The MEADOW BARNS is a perfect place for this new and refreshingly different style of learning, which unfolds in the company of your own family, friends or colleagues. Our approach is mostly outdoors, through stories, told by our Director, Caroline, who also leads walks and events and writes the weekly Green Fridays blog.

It felt more creative, and like I could do what I wanted to do. It wasn’t ever boring”

“It was more special than school, because I had my family learning with me”

A 5 year old encourages her Grandma to play, dressing up as mine maidens!
A school team has great fun with the Truro Bishop, at a Climate Hope event in 2023


Although we have an indoor library for sharing information in books, maps and film, by far the best way to engage with mining and STEAM topics is through stories and ‘messy play’ outdoors. This can either be through investigations and walks in local towns and villages, or via playful sessions and walks at the centre.

Walks – most of us realise the value of an hour or two spent building fitness and mental well-being in the fresh air. But there is another dimension entirely when someone local shares secret places in nature and points out historic structures you would never notice through an app on a phone, or simply looking for yourself. The Meadow Barns stories of mines and quarries, dreams and disasters, bring the landscape to life in new and unexpected ways.

Centre Play Sessions – we have a great collection of rocks to dig for and crush, trucks on tram-tracks for moving the ore and – most important – water wheels that provide the power. These are lessons from 200 years ago, which suddenly are extremely relevant as we aim to reach Net Zero. It informs our mission statement … ‘to help people learn from the past, and build a greener future!’

A historian studies slides in the library before a walk
A family tests their skills with sledge hammers
A university lecturer and student study water wheels

COMING UP – Treffry Tuesday weekly walks starting in Fowey; A Wednesday Book Launch in Par during May Half Term and further workshops for Climate Hope. To book please visit the Calendar page, and/or email enquiry@themeadowbarns.co.uk

Upcoming Events


Monday is our main visitor open day in summer, with sessions in the morning, afternoon or evening. Also, on other summer days we can offer after school times. Or specially for locals, Saturday bookings are available at any time of year. Schools are usually on Thursdays, but other options may be possible.

Please use the Indoors and Outdoors links to learn more about things you can enjoy at the Centre. One of our most popular activities, especially for small children, is the story of 3 Little Pigs at Penpell, told in and around the House of Green Play – https://themeadowbarns.co.uk/adventure-site/


For all ages and levels of fitness, our programme of local history walks has been updated for 2024. For some routes you can just start with your guide (usually Caroline, sometimes David or Bob) then borrow or buy a Story Walk book and go independently. Others are only available with a guide. Through the summer season you can book 5 different circular walks, on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. (Friday is Blog Day!) Full details are here:- https://themeadowbarns.co.uk/walks/


This brand new concept came together in 2023, with the first ever Ceremony 4 Climate Hope being planned and delivered for our local Red Moor school. It was a brilliant start in Lanlivery, which we used as a spring board, learning what would deliver the best outcomes for our volunteers and small communities in future.

The 2nd harvest-related October event in Lostwithiel involved around 70 people and many local businesses in the run up, although the Ceremony itself was quite small. It was a big, ambitious and wonderful project! So, with the arrival of 2024 we began to plan for our next, which was even bigger and better!

A Ceremony that celebrated CHINESE NEW YEAR in TRURO

To appreciate more of what we offer, please see the films on our YouTube channel. There is a Climate Hope playlist, look especially for the Westcountry TV report of Chinese New Year; and a playlist with history stories and local views in it. Also, you can follow the evolution of each project and Ceremony by signing up to the weekly Green Fridays Blog, which you will find under Climate Hope.

Go to the Meadow Barns YouTube Channel

COMING SOON – full details of our summer term Climate Hope workshops in May Half Term and the Ceremony, featuring stories of the Amazon and Andes, which will be on SUMMER SOLSTICE SUNDAY, JUNE 23rd in Pensilva. Perhaps this is something you would like to help with?

For volunteering, paying a visit, joining a walk or any other query, please EMAIL our Director, Caroline Stephenson – cjs@themeadowbarns.co.uk

And if you would like help with History or Climate work in a school, just ask! We are now planning a course for teachers, ready for the Autumn Term.

Where to find us and introduction to the site

You will find us perched high on ‘Penpillick Hill’ a few miles north of its famous big cousin, the Eden Project, where you can enjoy ever-changing, beautiful views of St Austell Bay, some of which are shared in the slider above.

Coming by car, you will find Directions under About Us/Contact. But remember also, to save money on your booking and reduce local congestion, you could come by public transport and we are always happy to advise and support, if you do.

The buildings were consciously planned and the site landscaped to showcase innovative, often recycled materials and to illustrate a range of sustainable energy systems. Read the story of the construction phase (2017 – 2019) under Climate Hope/Green Build.

Main cottage, before
and after

Joseph Austen Treffry – our Green Hero and inspiration

Read more about this extraordinary mining entrepreneur under Climate Hope/Green Hero.

WORDS from a past visitor, on their family water wheels STORY WALK ADVENTURE, 2021:-

A totally unique experience. Caroline’s attention to detail and passion make this a truly lovely adventure. Hot pasties and hot chocolate were waiting for us on our return, accompanied by a glimpse into history with Caroline’s amazing storytelling skills. The walk itself – even being lost for a little time – was totally awe inspiring. We both loved every minute and if there was an annual Pass to Meadow Barns we’d definitely get one. One day was definitely not enough and we will return!

Finally, those practical things that real matter e.g. 1) HEALTH and SAFETY

The site is fully insured, with additional cover for Caroline as an approved official valley guide. Each walk is subject to a separate risk assessment, conducted within the past week, and available along with a first aid guidance page, at the start.

To ensure maximum comfort and safety, please tell us your interests, fitness & budget, plus food choices and preferred length of walk in advance, so the team can create the most suitable bespoke plan.

River-side route in the valley
Our largest ever audience – 37 people for a story!


For a snack break (in Cornwall we call it ‘Crib Time’) we are happy that you bring your own food and tea or coffee bags and use our tea urn & milk. Or you can pre-order and pay for Miner’s ‘Sweet Mossels’ (morsels of saffron & yeast buns and hevva cake), Hot Sausage in a Pot (an idea we are testing during walks at the moment!) or Pasties (pork and apple, steak, vegetable, or vegan bean and vegs). Please email your request in advance.

Sweet ‘Mossels’
Miner’s pasty


A magical day out with a wonderful guide and host. Our 4 year old had a brilliant time! David Morgan

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

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