Kennall Vale Gunpowder Works – Ponsanooth, England - Atlas Obscura

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Kennall Vale Gunpowder Works

Ponsanooth, England

A sturdy relic of Britain's once crucial gunpowder industry is now a haunting Cornish ruin. 


Deep in the fairytale forest of the Kennall Vale, the old gunpowder works that once dominated the area are slowly being covered by moss and foliage, creating a magical ruin that looks straight out of a fantasy movie. 

Originally fired up in 1812, the Kennall Vale Gunpowder Works were laid out across 20 acres of forest land. The gunpowder was mainly sent to the Cornish mines rather than contributing to military uses. At its height, the factory employed 50 men and was very successful despite a spectacular accident that caused five of the production buildings to explode. By the 1880s blasting technology was moving on to more sophisticated chemical explosives and by the 1910s the works were closed and abandoned.

Today many of the thick stone buildings still remain in the vale, maintained (but never restored) by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The buildings are slowly being reclaimed by the humid forest flora, turning sooty industrial leftovers into enchanted ruins from a literally less-destructive era.  

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February 12, 2014

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