Abandoned Cornwall: Kennall Vale
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you’ll be fully aware that I am completely and utterly fascinated by abandoned places. Cornwall, rather surprisingly, is home to many abandoned buildings and areas of interest. Kennall Vale in Ponsanooth being one of them. The abandoned gun powder mill was left in the 1800s and is now a nature reserve offering incredible walks and buildings for the public to explore.
My fascination for abandoned places began at the beginning of the year after exploring RMS Mulheim, a cargo ship wrecked in Lands End. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in such things but the adventure to the shipwreck really sparked the obsession.
From 1812, Kennall Vale was a successful gunpowder factory, producing 4-5 thousand barrels of quality gunpowder a year. By the mid-1850s, the gun powder factory had employed 50 men supplying both the local and international mining industry. In 1910 the factory was forced to close due to a decrease in demand for gunpowder.
Now, Kennall Vale is a Nature Reserve and open to the public however it remains pretty secret. Not many people know about it as it’s tucked away in the valley and there is very little parking (you’ll have to park on the road in the housing estate). The reserve is completely magical and a beautiful place for a walk or an explore. Nature, quite obviously, is taking over the reserve but that just makes it even more beautiful.
The waterfalls are the most dramatic part of the reserve, with a large one running straight through the middle, breaking the reserve into two sections. On the left towards the entrance, you will also find a large quarry, once used back in the gunpowder days.
Across the waterfall there are the remains of the waterwheels that would have powered the gunpowder production which was used in the thriving Cornish mining industry of the time. There are 30 buildings to explore however I’ve still yet to find them all.
At the moment, part of the reserve is closed due to safety. Now I shouldn’t publicise this but I have thing for ignoring signs. Tell me no and I’ll do the opposite. On the right hand size of the waterfall you’ll find even more buildings and waterwheels.
Keep an eye out for the wishing tree. Over the years, visitors have pushed 1p into this tree and made a wish, adding to the magic of the reserve.
To me, Kennall Vale holds a special place in my heart and for more reasons than one. I will not go into details as it could get deep, but all you need to know is that it really is a special place. Some people might find this place “scary” or “eery” - but I don’t at all. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.