Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – England chapter Bath and Southwest England has to say about the area around Zennor:
“The twisting B3306 from St Ives is a roller coaster of a road, winding through a stark landscape of ancient drystone walls, barren moorland, tiny villages and rocky bluffs. The landscape here feels wild and ancient, a world away from some of Cornwall’s more gentrified corners.
Church of St Senara
This little church in the hamlet of Zennor dates from at least 1150. Inside, a famous carved chair depicts the legendary Mermaid of Zennor, who is said to have fallen in love with the singing voice of local Matthew Trewhella. Locals say you can still sometimes hear them singing down at nearby Pendour Cove – and even if you don’t, the views along the coast are reward enough.
Geevor Tin Mine
Just north of St Just near Pendeen, this historic mine closed in 1990 and now provides a powerful insight into the dark, dingy and dangerous conditions in which Cornwall’s miners worked. Above ground, you can view the dressing floors and the original machinery used to sort the minerals and ores, before taking a guided tour into some of the underground shafts. Claustrophobes need not apply.
Levant Mine and Beam Engine
At this clifftop site, one of the world’s only working beam engines is still in thunderous action. Built in 1840, these great engines were the powerhouses behind the Cornish mining boom, powering mineral trains and pumping water from the shafts. Lovingly restored by a team of enthusiasts, it’s a sight to behold when it’s in full steam.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
I loved the rough and rugged moorland that stretches between Land’s End and St. Ives. It was almost unexpected because I had to cope with a case of suspected food poisoning the previous day and hadn’t read my guidebook carefully enough. I would certainly have stopped at the little church in Zennor if I’d known about the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor, and we would have just as certainly given the Geevor Tin Mine a miss because both of us suffer terribly from claustrophobia.
When I saw the hulking ruins of what I thought was an abandoned brick factory, I pulled over to take some photos. There was another car parked in the lay-by and a man was taking some of the same shots I was taking. I asked him about the ruins and it was then I learned about the long-ago tin mines that dotted the region.
A storyboard gave us some more information and I was somewhat haunted by the thoughts of large numbers of children working with their families at the mines.