Evidence of Cornwall’s industrial past has been uncovered by Cornwall Heritage Trust volunteers at Treffry Viaduct in the Luxulyan Valley, as part of conservation work taking place at the historic site.
One of the 13 historic sites cared for by Cornwall Heritage Trust, Treffry Viaduct was built between 1839 and 1842 by Joseph Thomas Treffry to carry both a tramway and a high-level leat for the mining industry. The first large civil engineering structure of its kind to be built in Cornwall and the only known viaduct in Britain to combine these two uses, it is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and an integral part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage site, as designated by UNESCO.
Two days of conservation saw volunteers uncovering evidence of the old tramway by clearing away soil and material covering two different areas of the site. Their hard work revealed several archaeological features, including granite sleeper blocks at the southern end of the viaduct and a complete wooden sleeper embedded in the mud at the northern end.
Volunteers also cut back vegetation encroaching the path in order to improve access to the viaduct for visitors.
The conservation days were part of a £10K community history project made possible by funding from GWR. They mark the start of a programme of conservation and enhancement works set to take place at Treffry Viaduct over the coming months, so watch this space!
Whether it’s conserving our sites, leading guided walks, helping at events or conducting heritage research, there are lots of ways to volunteer at Cornwall Heritage Trust. It’s the chance to join a supportive team and make new friends, make a difference to your local heritage, share your knowledge and experience, and learn and develop new skills and interests.