Discovering Local Culture

Discovering Local Culture

Think of the lakes and you think of the modern water supply structures but look closer and you’ll discover a long history of land use: Mesolithic man in the Wolf Valley at Roadford, ancient stones at Stithians near Redruth, hut circles and farmsteads at Fernworthy on Dartmoor, Drakes Leat supplying water to Plymouth from Burrator and Cornish china clay mining at Wheal Martyn near St Austell. We want to uncover the rich history of our sites so local communities and visitors can understand what’s at the lakes. We want to inspire people and communities to be involved in their special heritage.

Help us to make sure our rich history and culture is preserved and remembered.

Current project - Clay Works

We are celebrating with Wheal Martyn in their success of securing National Lottery funding with an award of £858,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards its £1.35m Clay Works Project.  This award recognises the international heritage significance of Wheal Martyn as the world’s only china clay mining museum.  The museum includes a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is set within the preserved remains of two former Victorian clay works and tells the story of an industry that has shaped the landscape, economy and lives of people in the ‘Clay Country’ through the extraction and exportation of china clay worldwide.

The Clay Works Project is focused on conserving the historic Pan Kiln and Mica Dry buildings and also includes a training scheme in historic building conservation techniques in partnership with Cornwall College.  The project will improve how the story of the industry is told across the site, enhance the natural landscape setting and deliver a programme of exhibitions, events and activities to attract more people from the local community and other visitors to this incredible site.

Funders of the project are the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, a pledge from The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust, Historic England, the Wolfson Foundation, Imerys Minerals, The Hobson Charity and Cornwall Council. Read more about the project on the Wheal Martyn website here.

Our Trustee champion says-


“Through my time working at the lakes and now as a Trustee I have been continually surprised by the hidden histories of the lakes and reservoirs, I would like more people to be surprised about what they uncover on their doorstep.”
Jacqui Edwards

Burrator Project

One of our most successful projects has recently been delivered at Burrator Reservoir. Completing large and small built heritage restoration, habitat management, access improvements and most importantly delivering a wide community engagement programme. The Burrator Project enabled over 3,700 volunteers days, 5,000 adult and children learning places – many of which were taken up by people in difficult circumstances, a variety of public events to engage people with their local heritage and much needed interpretation provision.

With thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, South West Water, Dartmoor Sustainable Development Fund and Biffaward this project really did help the wider community learn about and engage with the heritage of Burrator Reservoir and beyond.