Around Kit Hill

A walk through a post-industrial landscape that has been won back by nature.


Kit Hill Country Park


2.5 miles (4kms)

210ft (64m)
1hr 30min

About the walk

Kit Hill was a busy industrial landscape during the 19th century but is now part of a World Heritage Site and lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The conical-shaped hill is over 1,000ft (305m) in height and dominates the countryside around the town of Callington. For today’s visitor it offers a mix of typical moorland environment punctuated by the remnants of Victorian mining and quarrying.

Exotic materials

Copper and tin were mined at Kit Hill for hundreds of years, but more exotic materials such as arsenic, fluorspar and wolfram were also found here. The old chimney stacks, pits, gullies and settling ponds of mineral extraction are now overgrown by a green pelt of grass and shrubby growth. The hacked and blasted walls of the old Kit Hill quarries are masked by trees and draped with plants and lichen. Scattered across the hill are the remains of a reputed 5,000 stone-splitting pits, many of them centuries old. Below ground, unseen, the hill is honeycombed with inaccessible tunnels and mine workings. Most mining activity at Kit Hill had ceased by 1910, and work stopped at the main Kit Hill quarry in 1955.

Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall, gave the hill and its surroundings to the people of Cornwall in 1985 to mark the birth of his eldest son, Prince William. In 2006 the hill became part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, and today Kit Hill is managed as a country park by Cornwall Council.

Great Consols

You start the walk from the summit of the hill, beside the mighty chimney stack of Kit Hill Great Consols mine, built in 1858. This complex was used for pumping water out of the mine and for lifting mineral ore to the surface. Later in the walk you pass the remains of South Kit Hill mine, dating from 1856. Look for the low circular stone mounds, known as buddles, which were used in separating tin from the crushed ore.

It can be very busy around the hill’s various car parks and the top car park especially is a favourite starting point for daily dog runs. Within minutes, however, you’re likely to find yourself alone, strolling along pathways and tracks that lead to Kit Hill’s sites of fascinating industrial archaeology amid havens of plant, insect and bird life.

Walk directions

From the car park, go up a short path to the base of the mine chimney stack, then descend steps on its far side. Cross a flat grassy area, diagonally right, to the beginning of a path beside a granite marker. Follow the path downhill, going through a wooden gate on the way.

At the bottom of the slope, at a junction of paths, go left through a gate with a stile beside it. Continue along the path, and at a junction take the left-hand branch up to the chimney stack of South Kit Hill mine.

Keep to the left of the stack, pass an information panel and follow a grassy track that winds round left and then uphill. Bear right, keeping along the main track.

Turn left through a wooden gate at a junction. In a few paces go sharply right in front of a wooden bench and follow a sunken path between banks. Cross a wooden bridge over a ravine (note the eerie grid-covered mine opening down to the left) and soon reach the Kit Hill middle car park.

Leave by the car park entrance, cross the road and go through a kissing gate. Follow a grassy track that soon becomes a rocky path. Beyond a bench, heaps of quarried granite appear ahead. Go through a kissing gate then a stand of dwarf oak.

Reach a T-junction with a track. Turn right and pass the entry to Kit Hill quarry on the left. Keep straight ahead along a rocky path and bear left at a junction. Pass a huge iron ring bolt in a boulder and, in a few paces, take the left-hand path at another junction. Go through a wooden gate.

Keep straight ahead up a rocky path. Keep left at a junction by a wooden post. Soon the summit chimney stack by the top car park comes into view.

Go through a gate and turn left along a stony track. In about 80yds (73m) turn right along a grassy path between fenced-off mine shafts and continue to the top car park.

Additional information

Good throughout, but rocky in places

A high isolated hill, typical of granite moorland; now a maintained country park

Lead required around grazing ponies, and during the bird-nesting season 1 March–31 July

OS Explorer 108 Lower Tamar Valley & Plymouth

There are three car parks at Kit Hill; use the car park at the summit of the hill

None on route

<p>The walk can be started from the Kit Hill middle car park at Point 5</p>

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About the area

Discover Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Cornwall has just about everything – wild moorland landscapes, glorious river valley scenery, picturesque villages and miles of breathtaking coastline. With more than 80 surfing spots, there are plenty of sporting enthusiasts who also make their way here to enjoy wave-surfing, kite surfing and blokarting.

In recent years, new or restored visitor attractions have attracted even more visitors to the region; the Eden Project is famous for its giant geodesic domes housing exotic plants from different parts of the globe, while nearby the Lost Gardens of Heligan has impressive kitchen gardens and a wildlife hide.

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