Charlestown Leat

Charlestown Leat

A leat in the Luxulyan Valley was constructed in the late 1790s to supply water to Charlestown Harbour, 10km away. Its source is at the Cam Bridges on the River Par and the system included some large storage ponds in the valley just above Charlestown harbour. The water supply was used to keep ships afloat within the gated dock at low tide (which gradually leaked water) and to periodically flush out the harbour. Waterwheels on the leat provided a source of power for a number of industries in Charlestown including a china stone mill and a coal tar refinery.

The leat system was cleaned regularly to remove debris such as leaves and branches and re-tar the wooden boards which carried the leat. This work was often done in January and February once all the leaves had finished falling. The work also included crawling in the water through the underground tunnels to clear these which must have been chilly.

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