Pilchards Pits and Postcards

Over the two years we are working in four areas across Cornwall to open up access and understanding of heritage for all. We are doing this by working with people living in rural communities, focusing on those with disabilities, gathering stories, images and sound recordings to celebrate the oral history and natural landscapes of four unique heritage outdoor environments of Cornwall.

About the project

We are conducting interviews with community members, industry workers and historians. These capture the domestic and working lives of the people who lived and worked there, as well as their relevance to the surrounding landscape. We are working closely with local disability groups to identify and test accessible routes through the heritage landscapes, mapping sensory highlights and places of interest. These are then used to inform the development of four inclusive maps to show appropriate access routes and sensory highlights. These will be used to produce a sensory trail through each heritage landscape with an inclusive soundwalk app and accompanying sensory guides in accessible formats.

We are working in the areas of Par docks, King Edward Mine, Bude and Newlyn.

Bude beach gorse flowers around Cornish coastline Clay pit

Year one Par docks and King Edward Mine

We held several community groups sessions exploring the two areas we were working in during year one; Par docks and King Edward Mine. We have been really enjoying meeting people and hearing their stories, there is so much to hear we will have a job to narrow it down! From shooting practice into Par bay to the hard work of the Bal maidens above ground at the mines!

Over the first half of 2016 we were been busy planning the route for our sound walks in Par and around King Edward Mine, getting just the right stories and imagery to match with the walks. We have a number of groups who helped us to assess the routes and made sure we included interpretation for everyone. These are currently being tested with our groups and the sound walks are beginning to take shape. The sound walks will be launched later this year for everyone to enjoy either at the sites or through our online facilities.

Year two Bude and Newlyn

The second year of the project has seen our focus shift to Newlyn and Bude. Both beautiful places rich in heritage. We have been fortunate to work with many people interested in sharing their knowledge and helping us to gather the stories of the place and its history.
We have been out and about conducting sensory mapping to ensure we capture all the sensory highlights and find the right route to base our sound walk app on. We have been helped by local groups to make sure we don’t miss anything and can understand everyone’s view point. We have also been interviewing residents to gather the stories of the place, we are still collecting these so if anyone has anything to share please get in touch with the Sensory Trust.

Sensory guides

The below guides outline the sensory highlights of the Par beach and docks area and King Edward Mine, they are free for you to download and will enhance your visit to these heritage sites.

Sensory guide to King Edward Mine (pdf 821k)

Sensory guide to Par beach and docks (pdf 600k)

We have also produced large print, text only and Widgit versions of these guides;

Sensory guide to King Edward Mine large print (pdf 910k)

Sensory guide to King Edward Mine text only

Sensory guide to King Edward Mine text only large print

Sensory guide to King Edward Mine Widgit symbol supported (pdf 605k)

Sensory guide to Par beach and docks large print (pdf 606k)

Sensory guide to Par beach and docks text only

Sensory guide to Par beach and docks text only large

Sensory guide to Par beach and docks Widgit symbol supported (pdf 605k)

Project highlights


We were lucky to share some stories of fishing in Newlyn with Nancealverne special school. The school invited us in to work with 6 of their classes to share a sensory story about fishing out of Newlyn. The children took part in the story, checking the nets, catching the fish, using radios to say they were leaving the harbour and even packing the fish with real ice! A big thank you to the Cornish ice company who gave us some ice straight from Newlyn harbour that is used by the fishermen. The children then did some sensory exploration of ice, finishing up with learning how to tie knots and how important they are in fishing. It was a great few days and has been a great set up in readiness for the students visit to Newlyn harbour next half term.
We have been gathering amazing stories and as always will have trouble choosing what to use! We are extremely grateful to the Newlyn archive for helping us contact so many local people with tales to tell! We have more people to interview as we piece together the stories of Newlyn.

images from around Newlyn



Bude is turning out to be a place of great walks and great people. We have had some fantastic days sensory mapping and being shown the highlights, from the bracing full force of the Atlantic coming in off the sea to the more sedate tow path of the canal where you can hear the ducks chatting and even spot a heron!
If you grew up in Bude you most likely have spent some time on a surf board, or the old polystyrene ones we’ve been hearing about which you had to make sure you were wearing a T-shirt or you would get a terrible rash! Surfing is a big part of what makes Bude and it has played a big part in the development of the sport and making it accessible, we look forward to sharing more of the stories with you and some cracking old photographs!
Please do get in touch if you have anything to share about Newlyn or Bude or if you represent a group in one of these areas and would like to take part in an activity with us.

Images from around Bude


King Edward Mine

Seeing whole families enjoy the sensory story we developed for King Edward Mine which was all about how you would be told about a fire in the mine using your sense of smell! We deleivered this as part of a family activity day specifically for families with children with disabilities.

‘We all very much enjoyed it and the children have been showing off their story props over the weekend to their grandparents’ Parent.

‘It was lovely to be at an event where all 3 of my sons could engage in together’. Parent.

‘Thanks to all, this has really given us a boost and wonderful to be able to access new things’. Parent.

‘We had a really good day, ansum me ansum!’ Tracey Volunteer.

Finding someone through the open community event who is happy to take photographs for the project and help shape the guides.

‘It will give me great pleasure and helps my brain cells fight the vascular dementia’. Older person living with dementia.

Testing the route for the guides and the sound walk with children with emotional and behavioural needs very quickly highlights the benefits of having safe outdoor space.

‘The range of short activities is great for our students, having the freedom of the outdoors and the benefits of fresh air, makes our job easier!’ Teacher.

We have been working with the Cornwall Records Office, China Clay History Society, Wheal Martyn Collections, Bodmin and Wenford Railway, Camborne School of Mines Archive, local historians and experts to get archive information, photographs and films for the project. We are really grateful for all their help and support.

a collection of images from the guided walk around Par Docks

Blantyre group explore Par beach heritage


If you have an interest in these areas or information you think would be useful to the project then please contact Lynsey Robinson on lrobinson@sensorytrust.org.uk



Heritage Lottery Fund  logo



New Clay Tales app

graphics from clay app

The Clay Tales app is a story walk for the trails across the china clay landscapes in Cornwall. Read more about the Clay Tales app >>

Reflecting on memories of Par
Sensory Story day at King Edward Mine
Demonstrating vanning
Front cover of sensory guide to King Edward Mine


The benefits of contact with nature for everyone

Sensory engagement - projects, ideas and examples of how to connect with nature through the senses

Creative Carers Network blog - news, ideas and activities

Nature-based activities - Ideas for sensory activities