Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

An exploration around Steeperton Nose and Gorge

The area to the south of Taw Marsh, where the River Taw exits Steeperton Gorge is known as Steeperton Nose. At the “nose” and just to the north of the “nose”, the explorer may find an eclectic mix of Dartmoor artefacts, which include a millstone, a tinners’ hut, a possible tinners’ reservoir and a large enclosure (or unknown purpose) in tinners’ streamworks. This post covers all the aforementioned artefacts and includes some photographs of general views around Steeperton Nose and within Steeperton Gorge.

Sketch map showing the features covered in this post.
A part completed millstone can be found near the right bank of the River Taw. It is recorded on the Dartmoor HER as measuring 1.33m in diameter and 0.35m thick with a slight dimple in the centre of the exposed face. The description states: “While the stone has been cut to shape the grinding/crushing edge has not been finished and forms a rough surface at an obtuse angle to the visible face”.
Location of the millstone in relation to Steeperton Tor. There is no trace of any stone dressing activity or further stones in the immediate area and this millstone can be found at SX61936 90075.
Approximately 30m-40m to the south of the millstone is a structure which is a possible tinners’ hut (or blowing house / stamping mill). The millstone is not related or even associated with any activity which would have taken place at this structure. At the north end of the building is a hollow, (3.0m x 1.1m x 0.3m deep), which is said to resemble a wheelpit (hence the structure might possibly have been a blowing house or a stamping mill)
The structure is recorded as measuring 5.7m by 3.6m internally, with upright boulder and block walls 0.9m thick with a maximum height of 1.1m. Source: Dartmoor HER. The Tinners’ Hut is located at SX61940 90040.
South of the millstone and tinners’ hut en-route to Steeperton Gorge, an unusual tinners’ gully can be located. It is unusual insofar as it appears to have a man-made dam across it. This may well have been constructed to create a tinners’ reservoir. The interpretation of this area by the author is not supported by the Dartmoor HER, so it is possible that this is not correct.
The “dam” can be found at SX61966 89920.
The possible tinners’ reservoir
The height between the “tinners’ reservoir” and the lower level of the tinners’ gully separated by the “tinners’ dam” is approx 1m. Are these differing levels by accident or by design by the tinners?
“Tinners’ dam” and gully looking north across Taw Plain to Belstone Tors and the very lowest slopes of Cosdon.
Tinners’ streamworks near Steeperton Nose
Ford across River Taw at Steeperton Nose
Steeperton Brook near to where it cascades into River Taw
This large enclosure lies within tinners’ streamworks near to the confluence of the River Taw and the Steeperton Brook. This feature is believed to be either 18th or 19th century in origin.
The “enclosure” measures 13.3 metres north to south by 8.0 metres and is enclosed on three sides by coursed boulder walls 0.8 metres wide and up to 0.6 metres high. Source: Dartmoor HER
The western side of the enclosure has a revetment up to 1.2 metres high. There does not appear to be any building associated with this enclosure. The enclosure can be found at SX61919 89635
The enclosure has an entrance 1.3 metres wide which has a single gatepost in the north western corner. The enclosed area is relatively flat and stone free.
A few metres from the enclosure, within the streamworks, a small “beehive” type structure has been constructed from the spoil. This can be found at SX61902 89632.
Lower end of Steeperton Gorge
Steeperton Gorge
Steeperton Gorge cascade
Steeperton Gorge Cascade
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