Offbeat Video

By Chris Adams

A group of cavers who ventured 200 metres into a tiny hole in a cliff face captured stunning high definition footage of tin mines dating back centuries that lay undiscovered beneath a village.

The Carbis Bay Crew, a group of thrill-seekers from Cornwall, used drones and GoPro cameras to film themselves exploring tiny tunnels inside rocks in the village of Porthtowan.

In the jaw-dropping footage, members of the group can be seen wading through horizontal passages in the cliff face called adits into pools of water that stretched inland underneath the village itself.

Mark Thomas, a videographer who helped film the adventure, said the Bronze Age ‘effectively kicked off’ in the region and that thousands of hidden adits along the Cornish coast dated back to the 1800s.


Mark, 40, from St Agnes, Cornwall, said: “We basically went down to explore a new hole that we’d found in the cliff and what we found was pretty spectacular.

“These are old tin mines. I think they would have been drainage adicts dug down the back of the mines and out towards the sea.

“There’s literally thousands of these and many of them have probably been here since the dawn of time. The Bronze Age effectively kicked off here.

“There are so many of these old mines and holes wherever you go in Cornwall and we just enjoy going where no-one else has before.

“We’ve got about 30 members from all different walks of life and some of the things you discover are unbelievable.

“In Porthtowan we were able to get 200 metres inland through the adits, under the farmland and practically under the village itself.


“It was a shame to see the amount of litter. It was pretty horrible to see all the rubbish that had washed up from the sea, but otherwise it’s like being transported back in time to another world.

“Bits of it are flooded so it’s like wading through a lake but their some really interesting sights down there.”

The crew, many of whom met and organise their activities through social media, used a drone camera to film their preparations on the edge of the vertigo-inducing 60m cliff.

In the clip, Mark’s colleague Partick Moret wriggles through seemingly-impossible gaps in the cave’s cramped tunnels, dodging foul-smelling waste on his way.

Mark, a pyrotechnician, said: “In the 1970s, they tried to seal as many of the adits as possible because it can be really dangerous once you’re inside.

“Everybody has their own reason for doing it. We’ve got history buffs, people who like the danger of it, geologists etc.

“We see stuff you wouldn’t see just going for a walk. We’ve got a lot of experience with the ropes and safety side of it but it is dangerous.

“It’s all public land and totally legal. We take precautions, just like you would with an extreme sport I suppose. It gets the adrenaline going.

“We film most of what we do to show it off to people who aren’t lucky enough to be able to do what we do.

“It’s cool to think that this whole landscape lies behind a small hole in the cliff face.

“The coastline is changing all the time in Cornwall and you never know when it might be gone. We want to preserve that.”