Blue Hills Tin Streamers

Useful Information

Location: St Agnes.
A30 turn off at Chiverton Roundabout, take B3277 to St Agnes. Through village one way system, turn right on B3285 towards Perranporth, turn left to Wheal Kitty, turn right at the grass triangle. Follow the road down in to the steep valley and Blue Hills is at the bottom on the right.
(50.320000, -5.192024)
Open: MAY to OCT Tue-Sat 10-14.
Currently closed due to Corona, webshop working.
Fee: Currently closed due to Corona.
Classification: MineTin Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Address: Colin & Mark Wills, Blue Hills Tin Streams, Trevellas Coombe, St Agnes, Cornwall TR5 0YW, Tel: +44-1872-553341. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1780 Blue Hills Tin Mine forced to close as the pumps of the day, were unable to de-water the mines.
1810 Re-opened using steam power to man the pumps.
1897 forced to close due to cheap imports from Australia and Malaysia.



Blue Hills is a very old tin mining district. The mining started with the open cast mining of alluvial sands and gravel on the beaches and valley floor some 4,000 years ago. Rather unique is the fact that tin ore was weathered down from veins or lodes, transported into the sea by erosion, concentrated by the waves and then transported back to the shore by storms. This alluvial tin was also called stream tin, hence the name Blue Hills Tin Streams. A Greek explorer visited Britain around 300 B.C. and described how tin was melted and sold to foreign merchants, who transported it across the channel to France, then across France to Marseilles and from there all across the Mediterranean.

When the gravels were mostly worked out in the 19th century the tin ore was mined underground. Nearby Wheal Kitty tin mine was mined during the early 20th century. What remains are old engine houses and other monuments of an era. Blue Hills Tin Sett was the biggest mine of the area, a unification of numerous smaller mines, and employed about 100 men when it had to close 1897. Tin from Australia and Malaysia was cheaper than local production costs, and so the mine was not profitable anymore.

During history the price of tin slumped and raised. When the price was good the people thrived and church bells rang when new mines were opened. When it was bad Cornish miners had to emigrate throughout the world, selling their valuable mining skills at mining areas worldwide. Today there are Cornish communities all over the world.

Today Blue Hills is a sort of tin merchandise. Guided tours allow a first-hand experience of the old smelting process. Starting with the mill and the crushing, then the ore is concentrated and finally in is smelted in the furnace. The molten metal is tapped and poured into ingots. This raw material is cast into a range of jewellery and tinware and sold on site.

This site is not a mine site, the underground workings are not accessible. The tour is above ground showing historic technology of tin processing in ancient and modern machinery. The rock is crushed by iron shod stamps of an old crusher to coarse sand. The ball mill which is used to finely ground it is also historic.