Porthtowan is a small village in Cornwall, England which is a popular summer tourist destination. Porthtowan is on Cornwall's north Atlantic coast about 2 km (1.2 mi) west of St Agnes, 4 km (2.5 mi) north of Redruth, 10 km (6.2 mi) west of Truro and 15 km (9.3 mi) south-west of Newquay in the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a World Heritage Site. Porthtowan is popular with surfers and industrial archaeologists; former mine stacks and engine houses dot the landscape.
Coastal settlements in Cornwall between Perranporth and Porthtowan had copper, lead, iron, tin and zinc mines. Porthtowan mines mainly produced copper.
South Wheal Towan:
The South Wheal Towan copper mine also operated in the area. Still visible is its Echo Corner mine stack. The mine had a slide lode that intersected with the main lode, Hamptons and Downright lode. In addition to copper pyrites, brown iron ore was also found in the mine.
The Tywarnhayle mine was opened in 1826 as United Hills Mine but the name was changed in 1848 to Tywarnhayle Mine. It was an important source of copper ore until about 1860. Its engine house, Taylors Shaft, is visible in the hills surrounding the coastal village.
The mine was located about 1 kilometre southeast of Porthtowan. It was the United Hills Mine in 3 February 1830 when an engine boiler exploded and killed nine people. In 1906 money was invested to drain and work the Tywarnhayle mine. Water was piped out by Cornwall's first electrical centrifugal pumps, made by Worthington Simpson, at the rate of 1,000 gallons per minute. The amount of copper ore mined between 1826 and 1906 was 86,800 tons.
Culture and Activities:
Porthtowan beach is a family and surfing Blue Flag beach. Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along the coast are Gullyn Rock, Diamond Rock and sandstone and slate cliffs. It has more recently become well known as a surf resort and the surf club building. This is where the judges can be found for the annual SAS Rip Curl Cornish and Open Longboard Championship. The beach is kept under the constant scrutiny of the St Agnes based charity Surfers Against Sewage, which was founded in 1990 to improve water quality in Chapel Porth, Porthtowan, and Trevaunance beaches.
Restaurants and Pubs:
The Unicorn pub is a beachside bar, eaterie, hotel and hostel, which offers live music, dj's and panoramic sunset views. Overlooking the Porthtowan Beach is The Blue Bar, which has live music or disc jockeys on the weekend.
An amateur theatre group, Porthtowan Players, formed in 1968, operates from a permanent stage facility within Porthtowan Village Hall. The group puts on a pantomime, musical theatre show, short plays and a youth production each year.