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St Austell

Up until the mid-eighteenth century, St Austell was nothing more than a small cluster of houses and a church. Then the chemist William Cookworthy discovered huge reserves of china clay to the north and west of the village. By the 1850s, around 7,000 people were employed in the area's china clay industry. Today the area's china clay industry is in decline, with cheaper sources being found elsewhere around the world. The Wheal Martyn Museum, just north of St Austell, presents an interesting exhibition of the local clay industry's history. The Eden Project, approximately 2 miles from St Austell, is in fact located in a disused china clay pit. The St Austell Brewery, founded in 1851 by Walter Hicks, has grown over the years to become the largest brewery in the county, and is open to the public. The coast line along this part of Cornwall boasts some of the best beaches in Cornwall, and is often referred to as the Cornish Riviera. St Austell is very easily accessed from the main roads into Cornwall, and it is also on the main bus and train lines into and out of the county.