Pasture at the top of Sharptor looking north from access land towards the prominent "nose" of Sharp Tor
|OS grid reference|
|• London||200 km (120 mi)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
Sharptor is a hamlet west of Henwood in the civil parish of Linkinhorne in east Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is named after Sharp Tor on Bodmin Moor. Sharptor is close to Minions to the south, Kingbeare in the north and Darleyford to the east. Sharptor is around 280 m (920 ft) above sea level.
There have been some visitors over the years who have been struck by Sharp Tor and the views:
Sharpy-torry (Sharp-torr from its conical shape) - The views brought to my mind the beautiful lines in Ovid: Tum freta diffundi rapidisque tumescere ventis Jussit, et ambitæ circumdare littora terræ. Addidit et fontes, immensaque stagna lacusque. Jussit et extendi campos, subsidere valles, Fronde tegi silvas, lapidosos surgere montes. Then he ordered the seas to be poured abroad, and to swell with furious winds, and to draw a shore quite round the inclosed earth. He Likewise added springs, and immense pools and lakes. He ordered likewise plains to be extended, and valleys to sink; the woods to be covered with green leaves, and the rocky mountains to rise.
Sharp Point Tor is directly south of Kilmarth, is equal to it in height, and on the south-east side has a curious assemblage of rocks.
Sharptor — a fine, pointed, granite hill.
Sharp Tor or Sharp Point Tor is a conical hill of granite boulders, whose vertex is 1200 feet above the sea. The panoramic scenery from its top is grand and interesting.
Local attractions include the Cheesewring, a number of granite stones on Stowe's Hill; the Darley Oak, an ancient tree thought to be 1,000 years old; The Hurlers, a group of three ancient stone circles; Gold Diggings Quarry, a popular spot for swimming; Daniel Gumb's cave, the home to a stonecutter and his family;, Siblyback Lake a reservoir with a 3.2-mile (5.1 km) walk, various water sports and fishing (Rainbow trout and Blue trout); Golitha Falls a natural waterfall walk on the River Fowey; King Doniert's Stone, two pieces of decorated 9th century cross believed to commemorate Dungarth, King of Cornwall and the nearby Rillaton Barrow, an ancient burial mound.
Before Sharptor, there was a lot of human activity in the area including a prehistoric hillfort and field systems on Stowe's Hill and Neolithic cairns, field systems and enclosures on Sharp Tor.
There are several mine works and quarries close to Sharptor. Most of the properties in Sharptor were for workers, and most are orientated to face east so as to wake the occupants as the sun rose in the morning.. According to the 1871 census, there were 21 residents in Sharptor, most of the men (around 43%) working in the quarries and the remainder (35%) working in mining. It is interesting that Sharptor seemed to be a male enclave with only 2 women residents. The average age was around 36.
At the top of the Sharptor road are the remains of the Liskeard and Caradon Railway which opened in 1844 and closed in 1917. The track materials were removed to aid the war effort, but many of the stone sleepers remain. The railway can be easily walked to Minions.
Sharp Tor or West Sharptor Mine was held under a lease for 21 years, from 1849, granted by the Duke of Cornwall, who owns most of the mineral rights around Sharptor. The mine was first opened in 1850 and was worked for copper. The original company had 256 shares, with £62 paid for each, representing a capital of £15,872; the amount expended to 1855 was about £15,000. The mine was worked using a 60-horsepower steam engine installed by Willam West in 1850. The mine lies within the Phoenix United Mine district. Ore was shipped to Looe.
Although the primary mineral was copper, there are other minerals that can be found in the mine tailings such as brochantite, cassiterite, chalcocite, chalcopyrite, chamosite, connellite, langite, pyrite, quartz, copper(I) oxide (known locally as tile ore) and orthochamosite (daphnite).
As the railway was built so the Cheesewring Quarry was developed. The fine silver Granite was in demand for engineering and architectural work. As the tin was sent to Looe, so was the granite where it was shipped to London and further afield. Nineteenth century structures built from the granite included Devonport Dockyard, as well as the docks at Birkenhead and Copenhagen. Other structures include the breakwaters at Alderney and Dover, the Spithead forts, Thames Embankment, Westminster Bridge, Tower Bridge and a lighthouse in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). The quarry, for most of its history, was owned and worked by John Freeman and Sons, who had over 80 quarries in Cornwall. At its peak, there were over a 100 men and boys working at the quarry. But after World War I, the decline in demand and also difficulty in extracting fine granite from under the Cheesewring (now an attraction) meant the quarry went into decline.
In 1944, an American transport plane hit Sharp Tor and several fragments of the plane were found and removed.
The maps highlight the location of Sharptor Mine in 1877 and 1907. Most of the buildings that were mapped in both years remain until today. The mine chimney has been removed but some of the structures remain and it is believed that one property was previously used as an engine house. Although the mine has been open for years, most of the engine house has now fallen into the shaft. 
An artist's representation of the Cheesewring and Sharptor in 1856
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Sharptor has an Oceanic climate according to the Köppen climate classification but, like the rest of Bodmin Moor, due to its high altitude, it is often cooler, windier and wetter than further down the valley off the moor. However, there is a good balance of fair days too, which can get warm in the summer. In winter, frosts are common and even though it snows most years, it is never prolonged or severe. However, in previous years, residents have been snowed in.
|Climate data for Sharptor|
|Average high °C (°F)||8
|Average low °C (°F)||4
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||5.4
|Average rainy days||11||10||8||6||7||7||6||7||6||9||10||11||98|
|Average snowy days||2||1||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6|
|Source: World Weather Online|
Being on Bodmin Moor, often there is a mist but when clear, Dartmoor can be seen in the distance. Also, some weather phenomena can be seen such as 22° haloes and "white of morning" a local reference to when the morning mist cloaks lower elevations down from Sharptor in the River Lynher valley. Often this is referred to as valley fog where fog is trapped in the bowl of a valley.
22° halo seen from Sharptor
Local term, white of morning, mist cloaking the River Lynher seen from Sharptor
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Flora and fauna
Native trees around Sharptor include hawthorn, blackthorn/sloe, hazel, oak, rowan and elderberry. Many of the trees that are protected from the wind have lichen growing from the branches. There are also a large number of conifers, rhododendrons and many buddleja that have been planted or self-seeded.
There is also a proliferation of gorse and bracken. As bracken is a highly invasive species, residents can often be seen stomping fields to break the stems to prevent growth. As parts of Sharptor are within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) it is important to control bracken to protect existing flora and fauna.
Fauna seen commonly around Sharptor are red fox, several corvidae such as raven, magpie, and jay. Smaller birds that are common include Wagtail, European robin, wren, treecreeper, European stonechat, European golden plover, common cuckoo, common skylark, meadow pipit, wheatear, redwing, mistle thrush and woodpecker. Birds of prey include barn owl, red kite, common buzzard and kestrel.
Unlike Dartmoor, there is no specific breed of pony on Bodmin Moor. However, they do roam free and are rounded up in the autumn for sale, generally at auction. Like the ponies, there is no specific breed of sheep but there are some common breeds found on the moor. Popular breeds are Scottish Blackface and North Country Cheviot replacing more traditional breeds of Devon and Cornwall Longwool and Greyface Dartmoor. There are various sheep creeps around the Sharptor area to allow sheep to pass through the heavy Cornish hedge. There are also cattle on the moors around Sharptor with popular breeds being Highland, Galloway and Blue Grey. Ponies, sheep and cattle are often found in the fields and lanes around Sharptor.
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Food and drink
There has been a public house in Minions dating back to 1836. The current public house suffered a fire which started on the morning of the 24th December 2021 which caused substantial damage. The public house has yet to be re-opened.
Sharptor is relatively remote and does not have any direct public transport links. The nearest bus stop is at Darley Ford Garage, 1.3 miles (2.1 km), where the 112 bus (Callington Community College to Minions) and 236 bus (Liskeard to Launceston, via Darite, North Hill and South Petherwin) stop. 
The nearest airport is Newquay Airport (IATA: NQY, ICAO: EGHQ) which is around 32 miles (51 km) from Sharptor. The airport runs mainly a seasonal schedule running flights to Manchester, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Alicante, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Faro, Leeds Bradford, Teesside, Birmingham and St Mary's. In 2019, it was announced that the airport would host Spaceport Cornwall a base for Virgin Orbit. Newquay airport is also home to Cornwall Air Ambulance and HM Coastguard, who are regularly seen over Sharp Tor and Stowe's Hill training.
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Sharptor Mine is mentioned in the Retallick Saga by E. V. Thompson. E. V. Thompson was a resident of Sharptor and lived in Idle Cottage, one of the stone miners' cottages in lower Sharptor. One of Mr. Thompson's books, Chase the Wind, was voted the best historical novel of the year (1980). He Said The storylines come from researching. In my very first book I was sitting on the doorstep of an old miner's cottage, wondering about the people who lived there before - most probably Idle Cottage.
Industrial archaeology of Dartmoor
Liskeard and Looe Union Canal
Looe Valley Line
Caradon Hill transmitting station
Liskeard and Caradon Railway
Moorswater railway station
Outline of Cornwall
- Ordnance Survey Bodmin Moor, 109 Explorer
- Ordnance Survey Plymouth & Launceston, 201 Landranger
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