I visited Carngalze Caverns early on a Saturday morning in April. The caverns are based in the Cornish village of St Neot, halfway between Bodmin and Liskeard. I was met by the owner Caroline who has lived onsite at the caverns for the last 17 years.
Caroline was hard at work when I arrived cleaning the display cabinets of all the minerals and rock formations found in the caverns and locally in the South West. Caroline introduced herself and warmly invited me to join her as she walked around the caverns doing the morning safety checks and ensuring everything was ready to open to the public.
Party at the Rum Store
First Caroline showed me the Rum Store which is the bar and function area. Various different functions are held here including weddings! Caroline told me about the history of the Rum store and how it is now used as a 400 capacity concert hall. Caroline informed me about how many different local bands play here and how they benefit from the amazing natural acoustics the caves offer. You can check out upcoming events on the Carnglaze Caverns Facebook page. The bar is fully licensed and I reckon this would be such a cool place to see a live band or hold a wedding reception.
Exploring the Caverns and Mining Life
Next, we donned our yellow hard hats and made our way down the 60 stairs into the former slate mine. Visitors can take themselves on a self-guided underground tour which details information about mine’s history and life of a miner. There are numbered points for visitors to stop off at and find out more information. Visitors are invited to turn on lights that illuminate the underground lakes – this allows them to experience the magic for themselves.
Various lifelike mannequin models are situated around the caverns depicting the job of the miners who would have mined the slate here many years ago. I think the models help to give visitors an idea of what mining here would have been like and the challenges the miners would have experienced every day. The caverns are obviously underground which means it can get quite chilly – Caroline told me it’s normally a constant 10 degrees and so if you’re planning to visit in the summer then be sure to remember to bring a jumper!
Caroline took me down to part of the cavern which is beautifully lit with underwater lights – the underground lake. Here you can witness the true natural beauty of the caverns and see how crystal clear the mineral water is. I thought the water was beautiful and had such nice blue / green tones to it. Caroline told me that this water links up to her mains water at her house and is fully drinkable once filtered. It was quite hard to get a good shot as camera flashes are not permitted inside the caverns – this is to help preserve the caverns and not scare the bats that reside within the caves. You’ll just have to visit for yourselves to see their full wonder!
After completing all the safety checks and ensuring the caverns were ready to be opened to the public we made our way outside. Here, Caroline showed me the gift shop which is stocked with plenty of cave-related souveniers, crystals and artwork from local artists. I got myself the cutest little hard hat keyring – I couldn’t resist! There is a picnic area and some vending machines for people to buy drinks and snacks too.
Woodland Walks and Fairy Heaven
Onsite at the caverns is a lovely garden area with a woodland walk that heads upwards over the top of the caverns. I left Caroline to her first waiting visitors and took myself for a walk. The terrace gardens are adorned with lots of fairies and mythical creatures to look out for. I enjoyed walking around following the various trails and admiring the Spring blooming flowers.
Taking the woodland walk led me high up and over the caverns offering me views down over the wooded valley. There’s also an amazing panoramic view of St Neot village to set your sights on.
I came across a secret hobbit house and sat on a bench looking up through the trees which were home to many birds nests. I thought this made a for a great photo opportunity. The woodland walk is circular and so I carried on walking downwards and was led back to the car park. It was an enjoyable walk and I felt really relaxed being immersed in all that wonderful nature.
Carnglaze Caverns is a family-run indoor and outdoor attraction located near Liskeard in Cornwall. I think for the entrance fee of £7.00 (£5.00 for children aged 3-15 years) you get a unique experience of self-touring an old slate mining cavern. There’s history to be learnt and some cool sights to be seen. The attraction is aided by the lovingly maintained fairy gardens and peaceful woodland walk. Carnglaze Caverns is open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm and is open later in August. Caroline was a lovely owner and was able to not only offer me a very warm welcome but lots of information about the caverns. I would certainly recommend Carnglaze as a unique place to visit that’s fun for all ages!
*** Whilst entry to Carnglaze Caverns was provided to us free of charge, all comments and opinions are entirely my own***
What do you think about the caverns? Ever visited an old slate mine before? Let me know in the comments below!