A man drilling granite
Image: David Paton working in Trenoweth Granite Quarry in 2017, courtesy Stephane Rouget

Artists, geographers and geologists will join sculptor David Paton on a field trip to granite landscapes in south west England. The group will visit quarries, meeting specialists and tradespeople, and search for a cross of feldspar – a rare geological occurrence. The field trip will explore the social and industrial history of granite masonry and the future of this industry in the south west, visiting the estate of Godolphin House near Helston, Trenoweth Quarry, Luxulyan Quarry, Hanter Gantic Quarry and Blackingstone Quarry on Dartmoor.

There will be a number of points during the field trip where people are welcome to join the group and meet specialists and quarry workers – see the map references below for more information.

Commissioned as part of the Groundwork programme, the field trip is also concerned with the means by which geological knowledge is communicated. Later in the year, the Groundwork website will publish material prepared by writers and film-makers to document and share their experience.

David Paton is an artist, quarry worker and cultural geographer, based in Cornwall. His work combines artisanal work with creative research in a practice that remains rooted in granite working methods. Under the umbrella title Tracing Granite, his current projects engage with geological knowledge, historical contexts and practical skills.

In search of a white cross builds on the collaborative field trip model that Groundwork has developed through previous events such as The Falmouth Convention (2010), The Penzance Convention (2012) and the succession of Cornwall Workshops held at Kestle Barton since 2011. Field trips explore a particular terrain, history or set of ideas, bringing together participants from a range of disciplines.


Adults over the age of eighteen are welcome to join field trip participants at the locations listed below. The times are approximate – please allow for leeway if the group is running slightly late. We will post any major changes to itinerary here, so please check the website for updates before setting off. Please note the terrain will be rough, so wear appropriate clothing. There will be a documentary film crew present.

Please email [email protected] with any further enquiries. Use the detailed grid reference to locate meeting places via https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk


Godolphin House – 12:00: Exploring relationship between quarries and buildings.
Grid ref: SW 59981 31855

Trenoweth Quarry – 16:00: Exploring working quarry and masonry work.
Grid ref: SW 75948 33957


Luxulyan (Tregarden) Quarry – 11:00: Exploring large abandoned quarry, and meet ex-masons and rock climber.
Grid ref: SX 05360 58825


Hanter Gantic Quarry – 13:30: Meeting quarry workers (Ernest Hillson and Peter Davey) and exploring the abandoned quarry.
Grid ref: SX 10307 75633


Blackingstone Quarry – 10:30 Exploring a partially operating quarry.
Grid ref: SX 78387 85835



Sunday 8 October, 4.30 – 6pm
Plymouth University City Centre campus,
Room 605, Rolle building, James Street, PL4 8AA

Led by David Paton, this seminar at Plymouth University will bring together geographers, geologists and geoscientists – Rose Ferraby, Hazel Gibson, Ruth Siddall and Iain Stewart – to reflect on the field trip. David will introduce ideas about the relationship between materials, place and making, before opening out to the floor. The seminar will explore the ways in which geo-scientific and quarrying knowledge has developed, overlapped and been absorbed by wider communities.

There is limited free parking available on Plymouth University campus. A map if the campus can be downloaded here. Email David Paton to reserve a place: [email protected] 

In search of a white cross has been commissioned as part of Groundwork and developed with support from FEAST, National Trust and Plymouth University.

Groundwork is a three-year project bringing outstanding art and artists to Cornwall, supported by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence scheme. Field trips, workshops and events during 2016 and 2017 are building towards a high-profile programme of commissions and sited work in 2018.

Wednesday 4 October 2017 – Sunday 8 October 2017 Free admission
All welcome