The Changing Face of Brea

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The Changing Face of Brea.

2007 and Des and I have lived in Brea for 38 years, there have been changes over those 38 years, many of them subtle but nevertheless a sign of changing times.

When we first came to the village we remember Stanley King bringing his cows down Chapel Hill, over the bridge and up to his farm. We also remember the day when cows (not necessarily his) roamed into Forth-an-Vre and decided to have lunch on our new grass!! There was a very pastoral backdrop to the village, cows would munch their way across the fields on the hills overlooking the valley and from time to time the hay would be cut and baled in those lovely rectangular bales, stacked in the fields and then taken away to the barn by tractor and trailer. Now we see horses in the fields instead of cows and the hay is turned into rolls and covered with green plastic looking for all the world like oversize toilet rolls. Thankfully the fields are still there; to thrive, everyone needs the gentleness of open spaces, green fields and trees.

The one remaining shop which sold most things from potatoes to paraffin was still open but with Mr Tesco rearing his head over Carn Brea and deeming Camborne to be a prime site for one of his supermarkets our shop, our meeting place for news (gossip!!) was unable to continue and a very few years after our move to the village it closed.

The first time we heard South Crofty blasting underground it was quite a shock but then we grew used to it and waited every afternoon for the blast; sometimes it must have been fairly close or they used more explosives because the ornaments used to rattle on the mantle. As soon as South Crofty stopped blasting we had Concorde giving us ‘good vibrations’ as it boomed its way along its coastal path. Recently we have heard the underground blasting again so – full circle!

Our children (and ourselves) used to enjoy cycling, we would ride down to Portreath or Gwithian with very little worry about traffic and were happy to let the children cycle to school at Pool. Village boys made dandies and used skateboards on the hill, dangerous then but absolutely lethal now. Now the car is king with not only cyclists at risk, pedestrians and horseriders have to hug the hedge just walking from the Brea Inn down to the ‘phone box. Road humps and gateways are the new ‘challenges’ for boy racers but hey, one day they will be parents and one day they will grow to maturity ????

But when the sun works its magic in the valley who can find fault with a tiny Cornish village that can be approached through a tunnel (almost unique surely), the tinkling Red River running its course down to the sea, birds singing in the trees and bushes and, on special weekends, the nostalgia of a steam train clattering over the rails. Brea, after all, has a lot going for it.

Carole Semmens.
September 2007