The clay industry had an enormous impact on the landscape since its early days in the eighteenth century. The clay tips and pits eventually covered a vast area, much of which was previously moorland and farmland. The landscape of the ‘Cornish Alps’ provokes mixed feelings – some see it as a working landscape, some as man made spoil, others as fascinating and exotic. Until the 1960s the tips were pyramid shaped, but after changes in technology and the Aberfan disaster in Wales, where a waste tip collapsed and killed more than one hundred people, the tips were flattened out into the step shapes we can see today.

Many of the early tips, all of which used to be white, have now grown over. Here is an image of three pyramid shaped tips long since grown over with trees.

The landscape is now changing again with new developments in the area including the Eden Project and regeneration initiatives. Debates about how to manage the future of this environment, and its recovery from the practices of clay extraction, are ongoing.

Other sections include an account of the landscape as it was before the clay industry changed it forever. You will also find a range of photographs and descriptions of the landscape in more recent years, since the dramatic changes brought about by the industry, by poets and other people living here who were interviewed for the Rescorla project.