The underground tour at Poldark has been described by a distinguished authority as ‘one of the two most atmospheric mine tours in Europe’. Poldark, 3 km from Helston, is a multi-facetted visitor attraction that takes its name from a television series, parts of which were filmed there, but it is also one of the best places in which to experience Cornwall’s mining heritage. As a visitor attraction Poldark originated in 1972 when Peter Young acquired the blacksmith’s forge at Wendron and developed it as a tourist venue that included his collection of motor cars. He bought the adjacent properties, and in the course of ground work on the site an entry to the workings of the eighteenth century Wheal Roots mine was discovered. The workings were subsequently opened to the public. In 1999 the enterprise went into receivership, but was taken over the following year by Transcroft Ltd, a group of mining heritage enthusiasts.
Some of the principal lodes from which mineral ores were obtained in Cornwall can be observed during the one-hour underground tour. While it appears that the mine was not used after about 1780, the stamps and dressing floor were occupies by the nearby Wendron Mine from 1856, and substantial parts remain, including a waterwheel that was used by the Trenear Dairy on the site until about 1970.
The mining museum at Poldark includes the collection from the well-known Cornish engineering firm Holmans of Camborne, and includes the first compressed air rock drill to be used in the county.