Gunnislake is part of the parish of Calstock and, like Calstock, owes its size and economic development to the great mining boom of the nineteenth century. In its heyday seven thousand people were employed by the Tamar Valley mining industry and arsenic was still produced at Greenhill in Gunnislake until at least 1930. The industry is no longer active, although its history and impact on the area is well-documented in the award-winning museum and visitor centre at Morwellham Quay.
Today, Gunnislake is largely residential, with a handful of local businesses and it's own week-long festival, beginning on the first wednesday in August. Gunnislake railway station is the northern terminus of the Tamar Valley Line, which connects the villages of the Tamar Valley with Plymouth.