Ghosts and horror haunt Cornwall’s Kennall Vale

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A shadowy remnant of a long since passed tragedy haunts Cornwall’s Kennall Vale, says RICK HALE

In psychical research it’s commonly believed that a sudden violent death can lead to haunting.

If there is any truth to this long held theory, it just may explain the haunting of Kennall Vale.

Kennall Vale is a hidden valley in the Cornish countryside where a tragic accident at a gunpowder factory led to the soul of a single victim to walk for all time.

History Of Kennall Vale

Although Kennall Vale is a beautiful nature preserve where people can wander the dense forest in peace.

In the 19th century the Vale had a much different purpose.

In the 1830s, the Vale was the site of a 50-building complex that made up The Kennall Gunpowder Company.

The factory specialized in making the gunpowder used in the explosives that excavated new mines across England.

The site was chosen for very specific reasons. The natural valley and the dense trees would absorb any explosion. Be it by accident or design.

And the Vale was in a remote area, far removed from the towns and villages that dotted the countryside.

Nevertheless, the factory had one fatal flaw that led to a horrific accident.

Ghosts and horror haunt Cornwall's Kennall Vale 1

The factory used the fast flowing waters of the Kennall River as a source of steam power.

And in order to use the steam as a power source, coal had to be burned. A rather foolhardy thing to do around highly combustible gunpowder.

The factory did take safety precautions, but those safety precautions were not enough to stop an accident just waiting to happen.

On a warm May afternoon in 1838, the burning coal ignited a large cache of gunpowder.

And the resulting explosion set off a chain reaction that destroyed five of the buildings in the complex.

It was even reported that a roof from one of the buildings was found over a mile away.

Miraculously, everyone made it out alive, except for one man, William Dunston, husband and father of ten.

According to legend, the only piece of Dunston that was found was his head.

The Haunting Of Kennall Vale

Since that day in May 180 years ago, the buildings that made up the gunpowder factory has been reclaimed by nature.

However, it isn’t just the animals that inhabit those old buildings.

The ghost of William Dunston is believed to haunt the Vale. As well as other unexplained activity.

The Ghost Of William Dunston

Visitors to the buildings of the gunpowder factory have reported encountering the shadowy figure of a man believed to be William Dunston.

The ghost of William Dunston, has been known to follow people as they explore the rusted remains of the factory.

His spirit has also been known to grab people in a protective manner, almost as if he doesn’t want them to share in his fate.

Dunston has been confused for a living person in the past, and vanishes whenever someone approaches him.

Sounds Of The Tragedy

On the anniversary of the explosion, visitors to the Vale have reported the sounds of the explosion that happened all those years ago.

The sounds of an explosion and the muffled voices of men yelling are heard breaking the peace of the Vale.

It’s almost as if the surrounding rocks absorbed the energy from the events of that day.

Light Anomalies

Streaks of light and darting multi coloured orbs have been seen by both the naked eye and showed up in photographs.

Some believe these are the souls of the men that worked here so long ago.

Visitors to Kennall Vale are free to explore the old gunpowder factory at their own risk.

The buildings are old and rusty from almost two centuries of being unused.

However, if you have no interest in the ghost of Kennall Vale, the Vale is the perfect place to commune with nature in the Cornish countryside.


  1. We’ve just done a paranormal investigation at kennel vale using the necrophonic app. We had a William come through and someone who claimed to have died from a pistol in his mouth! It’s definitely somewhere I’ll be returning soon!!!


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