The earliest records of mining date from the 1840s and the Okel Tor Silver, Lead & Copper Mine Co. was formed. At its peak 200 people worked here including women and children, though it was only the older boys that went underground.
The fortunes of the mine ebbed and flowed and when the price of tin and copper fell it was arsenic that became the most valuable product. Closure eventually came in the late 1880s and the mine was abandoned. It was some years before the machinery was removed and then a slow, steady decline as nature reclaimed the site.
In 1999 English Heritage (now Historic England) scheduled Okel Tor Mine as an Ancient Monument and, a few years later, UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site. Since then some of the more important structures have been repaired to prevent further decay and an ongoing management plan will help preserve it for future generations.
Okel Tor Mine lies within the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and adjacent to the river it's a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We're blessed with a variety of habitats resulting in a rich variety of flora and fauna - a delight for both the casual walker and keen naturalist.
Amongst the heather and gorse you may see a newt warming up in the morning sun; in the woodland perhaps catch a glimpse of a roe deer; down by the river, the blue streak of a kingfisher or the splash of a jumping salmon. Stay a little longer and your patience could be rewarded with the sight of an otter or seal. At dusk the night shift comes on; the tawny owls hoot and the barn owls silently glide through the trees; look up and see the bats against the darkening, star filling sky.