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Hawkswood Mine was in the Hawk’s Wood above Berrio Bridge. The shaft can still be seen on modern Ordnance Survey maps. It was primarily a tungsten mine but also had some cassiterite, a source of tin, and some copper. There are extensive underground works from which gritty wolfram has been extracted, the source of the tungsten that made the working of the mine viable. It was worked in 1944 to 1946 and then again from 1952 to 1957. Other than some derelict remnants of buildings and equipment and a huge shaft entrance, nothing remains above ground.


Images of the mine taken in 2011 can be seen on the AditNow website. The Mindat.org website details the minerals as well as the geological history of the mine.


We have been fortunate to have passed to us two newspaper articles, sadly undated, and a spoken description of the mine. The newspaper articles feature Ralph Finch who worked at the mine in the 1950s and his story of operations there is highly informative. The second of the two articles also features Ralph; it describes an incredible incident at South Crofty in which Ralph single-handedly saved the lives of seven men.

To view the cuttings, click on the appopriate image.

These are large images of 2mb to 3mb each to enable you to view them at a satisfactory resolution. Please allow time for the image to load.

Ralph was born in St Neot in 1924 and married locally in 1946. His three children still live in and around the area.

Ralph died in 2009 and his obituary was published in the Western Morning News.

click for larger image

Michael Holman thinks the chap sitting down, at Hawkswood in the 1950s, might be his father.From Facebook April 2018


Following the financial difficulties experienced in 1956 and 1957 this Deed of Assignment vested the administration of the mine with The Pena Copper Mines Limited on behalf of the Official Receiver.


(click on the thumbnail for a larger image .. 1mb pdf)


Arthur Borlase

In September 2004 Arthur Borlase was interviewed by Douglas Westaway. The primary topic was Arthur’s time spent working at the Hawkswood Mine. The interview was in a pub and it lasted for over an hour. There are moments when the quality isn’t perfect, as you might expect given the surroundings, but the content is fascinating. Arthur is no longer with us but his widow has been provided with a copy of the recording and she has agreed that we can make it available to interested readers of this site. If you would like to listen to this conversation, please get in touch with us at northhillhistory@gmail.com and we shall be delighted to provide you with a .wmv file or a .mp4 file according to your request.


Roger Pyke of Launceston Then! site has kindly volunteered to transcribe the conversation for us so that we can publish a written transcript on this site. A link will be provided from this location.


The two images at the top of this page show (L-R): Wolframite (Tungsten Ore); Hawkswood Mill Site - The remains of the old mill from the 1950s working. Photo from about 1980 reproduced by kind permission of Imageo.

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