Country houses for sale

A 19th century tin and copper mine that’s become a fascinating dream home in Cornwall

Nature and historical architecture combine on this glorious stretch of river at Okel Tor Mine. Dubbed a ‘Cornish Treasure’ this unique property will no doubt entice buyers looking for a wild card lifestyle opportunity.

On a gentle meander along the River Tamar, partially hidden by thick woodland and situated within 16 acres of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site is Okel Tor Mine: A Grade II listed two bedroom property with two additional Grade II listed holiday cottages that are quite unlike anything we’ve come across before.

Most of the site is officially classified as an Ancient Monument, while the property lies within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site area and the Tamar Valley Area of Natural Beauty.  Okel Tor Mine is a truly special property, currently on the market via Knight Frank for sale in two lots or as a whole with a guide price of £1.59 million. It’s a property that offers ‘the most fabulous and rewarding lifestyle opportunity for those looking for something a little different,’ as the agents put it, and it’s hard to disagree. This is something else.

Lot 1 – for sale for £1.195 million — consists of the main house (the former Dry House) with its distinctive 80ft high chimney and the adjoining Boiler House. Also included is The Smithy — a one-bed holiday cottage with a charming veranda and The Count House — an additional one-bed holiday cottage.

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It’s estimated that both the holiday cottages generate an annual gross turnover of £60,000 with high occupancy rates between 98% — 99% in recent years. There is planning permission in place to link The Dry House/Boiler House with The Smithy via a semi-underground roofed structure that would create a further reception room and ensuite bedroom.

150 metres of river frontage, a Victorian quay, boathouse, pontoon, workshops, private driveway and woodland and heathland — forming part of the Okel Tor Wildlife Reserve — complete Lot 1, which sits in a total of seven acres.

As well as including various ruins (thought to be the old jigger/boiler house), 300 metres of river frontage (with the potential for a mooring with all necessary consents), Lot 2 also includes The Stamps Engine House.

This 19th-century ‘iconic Cornish landmark’ has granted planning permission to be converted into a ‘unique riverside retreat’ alongside a semi-underground outbuilding. Built in 1881, The Stamps Engine House has unusual slit windows, arched openings and brick quoins.

In all, Lot 2 sits in just under nine acres and is for sale for £395,000.

The current owners have taken the utmost care to preserve the surrounding natural environment. Heating and hot water are provided via a carbon-neutral wood pellet boiler, all soaps and cleaning materials are ethically sourced to reduce toxins and guests are encouraged to arrive by train (Calstock station is less than a mile away).

Formed in 1849, The Okel Tor Silver, Lead & Copper Mine had a prosperous beginning and by the mid 1860’s, over 100 people were employed — some as young as nine years old. By the 1880’s, copper and tin yields were low and arsenic became the lucrative commodity, however, this was short-lived and by 1887 the mine was abandoned. A total of 500 tons of copper and 200 tons of tin were produced over the mine’s 40-year period.

Over the following decades, nature reclaimed much of the mine and in 1999, the site was claimed as an Ancient Monument. A few years later it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, Historic England provides funding to help preserve Okel Tor and prevent its decay.

The village of Calstock is situated just a mile from the property where you can find a general store, two pubs, a church and Calstock CP Primary School. The village is located on the banks of the River Tamar and framed by the Calstock Viaduct.

Plymouth is about 12 miles away where ferries link to Spain and France. Tavistock, with its full range of shops, restaurants and amenities, is eight miles to the northeast. Good schooling options can be found in both towns, with Plymouth College and Mount Kelley College.

From the property, the river stretches out to the Tamar Estuary, where sailing and water sports are in abundance. There are numerous sandy beaches and estuaries to explore along the South Devon and Cornish coastline, as well as excellent walking routes via the South West Coast path. The Dartmoor National Park provides further opportunities for exploration via its many walking, cycling and bridle tracks.

‘It’ll be quite a wrench to leave this amazing place,’ claim the current owners. ‘Our sincerest hope is that the new custodians will have as much pleasure as we’ve had. It’s a very, very special place…’

Okel Tor Mine is currently on the market via Knight Frank as a whole for £1.59 million or in two lots for £1.195 million and £395,000 respectively – see more pictures or enquire with the agent for further details


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