Dartmoor Explorations

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

AN EXPLORATION OF DEVON COPPER MINE / OKEHAMPTON WHEAL MARIA

Steve Grigg

In researching this exploration, reference was made to mindat.org and Dr Phil Newman thesis; Tin and Copper Mining on Dartmoor c1700-1914. On the mindat.org website, it was stated by Hamilton Jenkin (1981) that the mine was started in 1863 and despite initial promise, the working was unsuccessful and the machinery and materials were put up for auction in 1866.

DCM Plan
This plan is based on the Dr Newman original, with a number of additions added by the author. It should be noted that the weir wasn’t connected operationally with mine
DCM Map
This map from 1892-1914 shows an “old kiln” where the shaft is located – is this a map makers mistake ? Also, it shows the weir fully intact which formed a “head” of water on the Red-a-Ven Brook.
DCM Ford
Ford on the Red-a-Ven –  SX56945 91777
DCM Shaft 1
The shaft is now fenced off and there are two danger signs on the site.
DCM Shaft 2
This is the 2nd warning sign at the shaft. Longstone Hill is across the valley
DCM Shaft 3
The shaft was sunk to 25 fathoms (18 fathoms below the adit)
DCM Shaft 4
Shaft –  SX57016 91769. From this picture Meldon Viaduct can be seen.
DCM Adit 1
Location of the adit in relation to the shaft
DCM Adit 2
Adit –  SX56977 91749
DCM Wheelpit 1
The wheelpit is very overgrown in the summer
DCM Wheelpit 2
The wheel would have been used for pumping the mine. The author speculates the wheel was driven from water from Mether Brook, which descends steeply down to the Red-a-Ven from the west.
DCM Wheelpit 3
The end of the wheelpit is next to the Red-a-Ven
DCM Wheelpit 4
Wheelpit –  SX56963 91744
DCM Building 1
There is the ruins of a building just a short distance from the mine shaft
DCM Building 2
Although the building is close to the mine, the author is unsure if it was part of the mining operations.
DCM Building 3
The north wall is the best preserved
DCM Building 4
Building –  SX57017 91822
DCM Dam
There is an obvious earthwork (dam) next to the brook, just downstream from the ford. It is likely that dam (at SX56949 91799) would have been used with the weir walls to create a “head” of water from the Red-a-Ven brook.
DCM Weir 1
After a bit of bracken clearance a weir wall on the west side of the brook becomes an obvious feature
DCM Weir 2
At the end of the weir wall on the west side of the brook, the end of the weir wall on the east side can be seen across the Red-a-Ven
DCM Weir 3
Weir (west side) –  SX56953 91805
DCM Weir 4
Looking across the brook from the east side
DCM Weir 5
The weir wall on the east side is at SX56940 91815 and looks like it has a “regulator” tunnel associated with it. Was this for overflow ?
DCM Weir 6
There is a leat channel next to the east side weir wall, which leads to the main leat. It is likely this system supplemented the main leat, maybe because in the dry season the water flow from the original take off point wasn’t sufficient. Having a “head” of water would have provided this. It is interesting that this is shown on 1892-1914 OS map

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