A standard visit involves you spending about one hour around the centre and 2 hours on a local walk. Most school visits extend this to 5 hours. Read on for an overview of the various options on offer.


All visits are tailored to the ages and fitness levels of the participants. 4 and 5 year olds have proved fantastic Adventurers, but so too have grans and grandads!

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A restful moment, by the miniature version of the Luxulyan Valley
A distraction for little ones, hunting wild flowers and bees


Caroline tells a few stories about Treffry, outside his mansion at Place, Fowey.

Stories are at the heart of everything we do

Stories of olden times and stories that are new

And yes some stories will be in rhyme

Or even in Cornish dialect sometimes!

Day in the life of a miner from Tywardreath


The question is

OPTION 1 will you read on your own

And take pictures of stories on your phone?

OPTION 2 we’ll prepare a folder of stories and maps

And you pay a deposit to borrow that.

OPTION 3a You may prefer a more active way …

A bit of joining in and a bit of play?

For this you’ll need an expert by your side

Your very own story-teller & guide.


OPTION 3b Accompanied Walks

Your guide can continue on local roads and tracks

telling stories in the woods and on the way back.

Ready to make an enquiry? Please take this link Bookings

OR for more information, read on.

THE STORIES in more detail

Old pictures and maps illustrate our pages

1) Treffry, the Green Hero of Fowey. A selection taken from books and other records of the time, including the mansion called Place, some cows and donkeys, ships and cargoes, farming and lime.

2) The mines and people of Tywardreath. This commences with the background to local mining of tin, copper and lithium. Then explores the way of life of miners and employers in early and middle 1800s.

3) Mine machinery and power at Meadow Barns. Using the exhibits on site, these tales delve deeply into the types of machines and the power, from horses, wheels, water and steam.

4) Par Canal and Harbour. Treffry solved many of his copper transport problems by building a new canal for 3 miles to the sea. There he had to solve numerous problems in order to make a massive harbour, that continues playing a role in the local economy today.

5) Luxulyan quarries for granite and china stone. The Luxulyan Valley is carved out of immense folds of granite, some the normal grey and one a rare pink version. Treffry made a very successful business from cutting and polishing this rock and others. The famous viaduct is a monument to his skill and ingenuity. Queen Victoria became his most famous customer.

6) Tracks, trucks and trains, from Fowey to Newquay. All through his life Treffry was experimenting with how to transport goods in trucks on rails. No surprise, then that in his latter years he was chosen as the Chairman to oversee the new Cornwall Railway Company. In this role he engaged and supervised Brunel! This legacy lives on even today, in the GWR Atlantic Coast line.


Here again we have 6 sections: –

  1. Insulating houses. Learn about building from scratch or retro-fitting.
  2. Heating houses. Discover how best to combine solar with bio-mass and use heat exchange options, such as Air Source and Ground Source (geo-thermal).
  3. Restoring water power (hydro). Study different types of wheel and turbine. Grasp some of the challenges involved in restoring the ancient leat system nearby.
  4. Lithium production. Learn about the 2 companies operating in Cornwall and understand the differences between lithium in water & rocks.
  5. Big scale geo-thermal. When you go much deeper below ground, geo-thermal drilling or restoration of old mine shafts opens up potential to heat a whole housing development.
  6. Bio-fuel for transport. Taking an Indian scheme as a model, we pose an ambitious question. Could we power the Atlantic line trains using bio-fuels from food, animal and human waste?


Every winter, when we are closed, we invent and install new equipment and types of activities. New for 2022 we have an entire mining tunnel (not shown above) with a challenge to hunt for different minerals and compare their viability for investment. For our younger visitors we have a very popular, low-level wheel barrow where they can get gloriously mucky, streaming for tin!

Besides 3 different wheels, the waterwheel centre now also includes some water pumps to play with and a large wooden wheel on a post to illustrate a machine called a Horse Whim.

University student and teacher study hydro

The granite area offers opportunities to design and install a viaduct. And in the Big Shed (AKA Drying House for Men’s Clothes at the mine) we can stoke the boiler of a steam engine and learn how to crush and process ores with various tools.

Last, but not least, is the magnificent new inclined plane and truck on an old kitchen table! Big thanks indeed to our colleague, David Skelhorn, for the many hours spent constructing this. Under the table is a little version, with rails and tiny trucks for small children to play with.

Sincere thanks to the Treffry family, Kresen Kernow centre and the many other sources of information we have consulted. We all share the hope that visitors will remember the name Treffry & his achievements, long after they depart!

NB Friends of Luxulyan Valley website and Historic England website give fuller detail on Treffry monuments and buildings and why they have special, listed status.