Pilchards Pits and Postcards

Over the two years we worked in four areas across Cornwall to open up access and understanding of heritage for all. We did 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 conducted interviews with community members, industry workers and historians. These captured the domestic and working lives of the people who lived and worked there, as well as their relevance to the surrounding landscape. We worked closely with local disability groups to identify and test accessible routes through the heritage landscapes, mapping sensory highlights and places of interest. These were then used to inform the development of four inclusive maps to show appropriate access routes and sensory highlights. These were used to produce a sensory trail through each heritage landscape with an inclusive soundwalk app and accompanying sensory guides in accessible formats.

We worked 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 really enjoyed meeting people and hearing their stories! From shooting practice into Par bay to the hard work of the Bal maidens above ground at the mines!

We had many groups who helped us to assess the routes and made sure we included interpretation for everyone. By working directly with a range of groups and individuals we could produce comprehensive and valuable sensory guides. The sound walks can be enjoyed either at the sites or through our online facilities.

Year two Bude and Newlyn

The second year of the project saw our focus shift to Newlyn and Bude. Both beautiful places rich in heritage. We were again 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 followed the same process of conducting sensory mapping to ensure we captured all the sensory highlights and found the right route to base our sound walk app on. We were again helped by local groups to make sure we don’t miss anything and understood everyone’s view point. We also had the opportunity to work with students with learning disabilities from Budehaven school Area Resource Base to co-author a sensory story.

images from around Newlyn

Project highlights

Newlyn Sharing the heritage of fishing with the local specialist school!
We were lucky to share some stories of fishing in Newlyn with Nancealverne specialist 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 was a great set up for the students to visit Newlyn harbour. The walks around the harbour were a great success, we did some sensory mapping and visited both the fish market and the ice factory – very sensory!

King Edward Mine We ran several activity days for families with children with disabilities at King Edward Mine. They were well attended, and we had a range of activities to take part in including a special tour of the Mill. One of the highlights of the day was sharing the sensory story we had developed with Joanna Grace. The story shared the way miners would have been told about a fire breaking out in the mine, due to mines being very dark and noisy an alarm had to be raised in a different way, by using smell! The families really got involved in each of the sensory experiences that form the story, this way of taking in a story is so much more powerful than simply listening!

 "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.

Sensory guides

Sensory Guides and Soundwalk Apps were created through this work and are available to download for free from our website.

Images from around Bude

Special thanks

We would like to give our special thanks to the groups, individuals, families, sites, organisations and archives that helped us during this project. Through your support we have been able to create memorable experiences, valuable resources, and bring together oral history. Pilchards, Pits and Postcards is now able to share these stories in an accessible and inclusive way linking people with these special places.

The Cornwall Records Office, China Clay History Society, Wheal Martyn Collections, Bodmin and Wenford Railway, Camborne School of Mines Archive, Bude heritage centre, Cornwall neighbourhoods for change, King Edward Mine, East pool mine, Cornish studies library, Azook, Budehaven School, Nancealverne School, Cornish fish producers organisation, Newlyn Archive, Par Community Association, Charles Woolf Collection, The John Harris Society, Red River singers, Souldeep media, Blantyre house, Imerys, Troon community school, Scope, ME group, Ninemaidens school, Bude FAN club, local historians. We are grateful for all your help and support and the project would not have been possible without it.

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

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Front cover of sensory guide to King Edward Mine


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