Our walk today was narrated by voices from the past, telling the stories of the Treffry viaduct. There were creative activities organised by Storylines to help us connect with those who had travelled this way before us.
We walked through the woodland on a fairly steep sided bank with the river below us. The beech leaves formed an orange carpet under our feet and the sun, low in the sky reminded us that winter is really nearly here.
At the top of the valley we reached the old tramway where we were warmly welcomed and invited to design a family banner on a napkin. The children loved this and we learned about the Victorian families who would have come to see this modern wonder, pincnicing nearby (with their napkins). The ones who weren’t working in the mine, that is. Next we tried our hand at bridge building, like Joseph Treffry who built the viaduct between 1839-18432. It was built to connect the harbour at Par with his mines on the other side of the valley. It also serves as an aqueduct, carrying water to service the mine workings. It was the first of its kind in Cornwall. Ours was a rather more simple design and won’t be attracting many visitors.
Finally we were challenged to move a marble across the width of the viaduct using only paper and tubes. We came up with a very satisfactory system, know as the ‘one potato -two potato’. It’s a technical term. It worked well for a marble, but I can’t imagine it would have been so effective for the stone masons and movers whose jobs we were emulating.
Below the viaduct there runs the branch line from Par to Newquay. We were lucky enough to see a train today which added to the atmosphere.
A few mine workings remain and there is a circular walk that takes in a wheel pit and a clay kiln. Tired legs curtailed our exploring today, but this is a place we will return to.
The Viaduct is in the care of the Cornwall Heritage Trust. There’s more info about the vidauct on the website as well as other sites of interest to visit. The Friends of Luxulyan Valley work to promote and preserve the valley. They have a website with information about the area and a very helpful interactive map.
What you need to know
Parking: Black Hill Car Park, Luxulyan.
Pushchair suitable? Hmm, I’d say no. The path up to the viaduct is narrow and the bank is steep.
Time: 1 hour with time to stop and look.
See the information board just beyond the car park. We walked up and over the small bridge to the left and continued up to the viaduct with the river on our right. We crossed the viaduct and came back over again to walk along the tramline towards the wheel pit (although we didn’t get that far.)