6: Carnmenellis – Part 2 – The lost London stones!

6: Carnmenellis – Part 2 – The lost London stones!

While exploring the Carnmenellis granite quarries I was told of a lost, overgrown, inaccessible group of stones, that like the Swelltor stones, were bound for London, but never made it, and have stood stacked, gradually getting lost in the Cornish rainforest! This was irresistible and so I made it my object to find them. I got as much detail as possible and set off with a scarcely believable [paraphrased] “follow the overgrown path and turn right at the sycamore” instructions. The footpath is indeed totally overgrown for 100s of yards with Blackthorn and Bramble [ a local Cllr said it’s planned to be re-instated ] but there was a parallel way through the fields. The entrance into the quarry again was equally totally overgrown also now with, sadly, Japanese Knotweed, but there was an hobbit sized path we were able to push and cut our way through, with the help of a lethal Darlac long handled sickle, myself getting well stung by the Nettles and scratched by the Brambles and Blackthorn into the bargain! But remarkably the directions proved correct! And there the stones were! In a small clearing and stacked waiting to depart from the quarry, down to I’d think Penryn and thence to London.
I was told that local people say that these stones were bound for the Embankment but there’s nothing online that even mentions this quarry, except to say it exists, but the granite from quarry was, I suspect mixed in with others and ended up in all the other buildings Carnmenellis granite was used in. It’s possible a closer examination of them would show similarities with ones in London. While I can’t find any dates for this quarry, it’s shown as already having been well worked by 1880 on https://www.old-maps.co.uk/ so could well have been for the Embankment!

N.b. There is also the possibility that these blocks were cut for the rebuilding and raising in height of the Embankment following the disastrous flooding of January 1928.
See “The great 1928 flood of London” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26153241 and/or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1928_Thames_flood

Past these stones and the way into the quarry itself took use through a perfect piece of Cornish rainforest .. and yes rainforest it is! The west of Britain has many areas with higher rainfall than tropical rainforest and are classified as Temperate Rainforest, and variously in Britain called the Celtic or Atlantic Rainforest see https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/habitats/temperate-rainforest/

The quarry pond . and remember, this will be many metres deep below the surface.

And like so many of the other quarries, being so deep it has now filled with water.

Some of you may have spotted by now that I have not named this quarry. Well I thought long and hard about this. On the one hand I feel it’s wrong to gate keep knowledge, but on the other hand this quarry now feels incredibly wild and if it ended up becoming a sight -seeing destination would lose that wildness. If the footpath does get restored [ don’t hold your breath ] then I’m happy to review that!

If you DO want to go and see an abandoned quarry there are plenty of others you can get into and here is one you can even walk across! It’s the old Gullygrane Quarry now run as an activity centre which seem like a good use! And there is a nice looking campsite there! https://viaferratacornwall.co.uk/

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