Seeking Cornish Heritage and Old Tin Mines at Rinsey Head

Rinsey Head has been on my list for what seems like forever, so I spent my day off experiencing a new patch of the south west coast path and finding one of Cornwall’s many engine houses.

the rugged coastline in Cornwall with calm breaking sea

In Cornwall, we have the Tin Coast, a seven mile stretch of coast path from St Just to Pendeen. However you’ll find old mines and engine houses beyond these boundaries, gracing both our coastline and sparse inland locations.

Since my visit to Botallack Crown engine houses, I’ve been keen to tick more off my list. On a sunny day in June, I headed to Rinsey Head on the Lizard Heritage Coast, to soak up a bit of west Cornwall’s history and wild shores.

Rinsey Head is between Porthleven and Praa Sands. It’s also home to Wheal Prosper, an engine house dating back to the 19th Century. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come here. That, and seeing how pretty it is for myself after browsing a wealth of photos online.

Wheal Prosper

Togged out in my new girlfriend jeans and Breton tee from Crew Clothing, I headed out on the south west coast path. I could see Wheal Prosper almost immediately. The weather was so good and the sea was an inviting bright blue. Best of all, I could see for miles.

Wheal Prosper Engine House in front of the sea on a sunny day
A woman stading on the cliff in blue jeans and a blue breton shirt from Crew Clothing with an engine house and beach in the background
Wheal Prosper engine house at Rinsey Head under cloudy and blue sky
Penny Sherwood from the Great Cornish Outdoors in Crew Clothing tshirt and jeans sitting on the grass in front of Wheal Prosper engine house

Wheal Prosper is a stand alone engine house. Apparently, it wasn’t that prosperous in its time, and was only in operation for about 6 years. Now owned by the National Trust, you can’t actually go inside (unlike Wheal Coates near Chapel Porth) but it’s in pretty good condition. I’m always amazed at the scale of our tin mines and engine houses too. Not to mention how far down they go into the ground and out to sea. Even though Cornwall had thousands of tin mines in its heyday, there’s only a fraction of them still standing for us to appreciate.

Wheal Prosper tin mine and engine house at the end of a dry path surrounded by green foliage

While strolling around at Rinsey Head, I also was quite taken with a house perched on the clifftop. What a fab place to live or stay! I can only imagine the council tax given the views. Isn’t it simply breathtaking though?

a small Cornish cove at Rinsey Head with rocky cliffs and a house on top
A house at Rinsey Head perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking Cornish sea

Walks from Rinsey Head

I walked past Wheal Prosper and went to the headland. If I didn’t have plans to swim at nearby Prussia Cove, I would’ve certainly embarked on a trail run from here.

Wheal Prosper at Rinsey Head

There are several walks or hikes you can do from Rinsey Head, and they’re definitely on my trail running bucket list (my aim is to run the whole of the Cornish coast, in sections). What I love about the south west coast path is how it holds its beauty throughout the year. Even on rough, wild days, it’s impossible not to be taken in by what Mother Nature has to offer.

A women standing on the south west coast path in Cornwall in Crew Clothing

Walk 1 – A circular walk to Porthleven

At a shave under 7 miles, this is the running route I had in mind. It’s quite a toughy, I think (this is the coast path after all), but I bet it’s worth it.

Walk 2 – A circular walk via Praa Sands and Trewavas Mine

A little shorter than the Porthleven walk, let your feet take you in the other direction to Praa Sands. Then loop back and pass through RInsey Head before continuing on to another engine house, Wheal Trewavas. Two for the price of one!

Porthcew Beach at mid tide at Riney Head

Coves and Beaches at Rinsey Head

Just below Rinsey Head and Wheal Prosper is Porthcew beach. What a little treat to find this too! At first glance, I didn’t think it was accessible but it is. I spied a narrow path carved through the green leading to the golden virgin sand.

During my visit, a couple looked like they were making the most of this remote spot. Be careful though, I’ve no idea how safe it is to swim here. One for another time though, that’s for sure.

A woman in a breton t shirt and jeans on the Cornish Coast with a hand in her hair

I know I said I’d be back for a run, and that’s true. I think I may have to tie it in with a little beach visit too!

*Breton t-shirt and girlfriend jeans gifted from Crew Clothing.

Author: plbedford

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *