This is a walk of extremes. Porthtowan ('porth' meaning 'landing place' and 'towan' denotes 'sand dunes'), where the walk begins, is very popular in the summer as it offers surfing, a level beach and all the necessary shops, post office and eating establishments for an enjoyable visit. As you go inland you will see the remains of engine houses, stacks and waste piles. Then, very shortly you will be walking in a tranquil valley known as 'parc shady'. Further on you will walk through the hamlet of Mingoose and take the beautiful walk down Chapel Coombe and then return to your starting point along the coastal path with long distant views to Godrevy Point and St. Ives.
Start the walk at Porthtowan Car Park. With your back to the sea, walk past the large building on the left of the road, which is the Village Hall, opened in July 2000 and a great asset to the village. You will approach a bridge on the left, go over this and turn right (this saves walking along the main road into Porthtowan which is narrow and can be busy). Pass the properties on the right and continue straight ahead along a narrow path that will bring you to the side of Peter Johns Garage with the Avalon Restaurant opposite. Turn right then immediately left which is signposted Scorrier, Redruth, Truro. You are now walking along the valley with the stream on the right. You will see the stack of an old mine building on the left. This is the relic of the Echo Corner A shaft of South Wheal Towan. This was a copper mine and the stones from South Wheal Towan can be seen at the entrance of the St.Agnes Museum.
Continue walking along the road. On the hillside to the left are the remains of an old Tywarnhayle mine engine house at Taylors Shaft. In 1906, a company was formed with the intention of working the surface dumps and draining the mine to the 40 fathom level in order to work the remaining ore in the higher stopes. This company operated under the Tywarnhayle name and substantial capital was invested getting the mine into working order. Unfortunately, after a short period, operations were closed as it had failed to show signs of becoming economically viable. This brief working was an important milestone in mining as de-watering was carried out by the first electrically driven centrifugal pumping system in Cornwall. Taylor's shaft was selected for the site of the pump and electricity was generated in a large stone building by the roadside below the shaft. The pump, built by Worthington and Co, was guaranteed to lift 1,000 gallons per minute.
Continue walking along the valley passing many interesting sites on the left including the Power House B, until the road bears off to the right. At this point look to your right where you will see Wheal Ellen standing like a small castle guarding the Porthtowan valley C. This copper mine worked mainly between 1826 - 1862 producing copper ore. Some older structures, such as wheelpits, are close by.