Today the old sea floor shoreline is covered by thick layers of "china clay "and sand of various colours, which are still extracted in the present-day quarry G. The sands and clays are probably freshwater sediments formed by the erosion of a local outcrop of soft decomposed 'china-clay' granite; they have industrial uses, for example in pottery and glass making. In the past the clay was used to stick candles to miners' hard hats and to the walls of the mines.
Though difficult to imagine now, during the Second World War, the land on your right was covered by bungalows, Nissen huts , a NAAFI and even a theatre! It was known as Cameron Camp F and was used first by the Royal Artillery as a 'Light Anti-Aircraft Practice Camp'. From 1943-44 it housed American army units prior to embarkation to France. After the war, the bungalows were used to accommodate local families until more council houses were built in the village.
As the road turns to the right, go straight on through a parking area and follow the track which bears to the left and joins the cliff path. Pass the sign Newdowns Head. On your right is a wall which in May is covered with pink thrift and white sea-campion. Look out for ravens on the cliffs, and shags, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, black-back gulls, fulmars and gannets on or above the sea. Directly out at sea Bawden Rocks (known also as Man and his Man or Cow and Calf) provide undisturbed resting and breeding places for birds E.
The path winds its way around two small valleys where cone-capped shafts are evidence of 'Seal Hole' mine. Under here, in a natural cavern, shareholders once held a celebratory meal. Seal Hole is part of the Polberro complex of mines which from 1750 onwards produced a rich output of tin and copper, so much so that it was visited by Prince Albert. Polberro employed 450 people in 1838 and remained productive until the end of the nineteenth century.
Follow the bends in the path. On your right you will pass a quarry in the 'killas', the local miners' name for old sea floor sediments of mud and sand that were cooked by the hot granite millions of years ago. Keeping to the cliff path and passing a mine waste area and another quarry, follow the path downhill towards Trevaunance Cove.
Above the cove, steps have been cut into the steep slope and at the base of these there is the first evidence of the harbour that once existed down below. In the early eighteenth century the Tonkin family from Trevaunance Manor were bankrupted by successive attempts to keep the walls of a harbour standing against the force of the Atlantic. Later in 1798, others were more successful and the harbour functioned from then until 1916 when sadly, because a hole wasn't repaired, the sea put paid to the North Pier, and the South Pier soon followed.
The harbour was built because of the need for fuel for smelting tin, and for steam engines in the mines. Ships could leave loaded with copper ore (for smelting in Wales) and return carrying coal, lime and other goods. The harbour also gave shelter to the local pilchard and mackerel fishing boats and the 'hobbling' or pilot boat which guided ships through the difficult entrance to the harbour.