Dartmoor Explorations

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


Steve Grigg and Frank Collinson

This post summarises an exploration to Jack Cloke’s Prospect at Wapsworthy, where he is alleged to have found Zircons (fake diamonds). This exploration was inspired by the P.H.G.Richardson book entitled “Mines of Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley, after 1913”, which devotes a chapter (1) to this venture. The prospect at Wapsworthy, in the parish of Peter Tavy, by Jack and his brother Frank was in search of Zircon and Titanium and took place in some old tinners spoil heaps. This prospect is assumed to have been worked in 1920’s sometime after Jack had been part of the copper precipitating at Gawton Mine in the Tamar Valley. There appears to be only one public access gate and route to the site, which I have added information on to this post.

JC Map
Map showing access gate and location of Jack Cloke’s Prospect.
JC Plan
Map from P.H.G.Richardson book showing the prospect.
JC 1
Access gate at SX54156 79675. Beyond this gate the ground is a little rough, tread carefully.
JC 2
Access stile to Jack Cloke’s Prospect at SX54444 79821
JC 3
Winch. SX54496 79839
JC 4
Close up of winch, made by R. Waygood & Co.
JC 5
Iron Pipe at SX54479 79849
JC 6
Probable site of the Hut (levelled ground) at SX54503 79818
JC 7
Another Iron pipe at SX54503 79834
JC 8
A third iron pipe at SX54479 79856
JC 9
Jack Cloke’s engine photographed in 1989, which has now disappeared.
JC 10
General view of site which shows lots of evidence of earth being moved. This view is looking South. The ridge line on the horizon is between White Tor and Cock’s Hill.

Zircon silicate, ZrSiO4, a principle source of zirconium is used in the nuclear industry. Transparent varieties are used as gemstones.

JC 11
Trench at SX54454 79893, evidence of settling pits or strips as described by P.H.G.Richardson in his book. The picture doesn’t give justice to the trench, which is at least 1m deep, 1.5m wide and 10m long. There are several such trenches in the area.
JC 12
Longbettor (part ruin), north of the site
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  1. Sandra September 25, 2020

    Really interesting to read about Wapsworthy. It’s unfortunate that the land between gate and Yoldon brook is Not public access. Gate shown is not public but access to adjoining fields. There would be easier ways although permission s should be sort first at all times. Please remove as public excursion. NOTE bulls and young stock graze this area frequently. Thank you.

    • SteveGrigg1961 September 25, 2020 — Post author

      Hi Sandra,

      Many thanks for your comment. Firstly, I would never intentionally visit an area which I believed was not public access land. The OS map, in my opinion shows the land between the gate and the stile into Jack Cloke’s prospect as being public access (thick light orange/brown line). My visit at all times was within that area, which I feel is public access. There was no sign stating it was private.

      If my interpretation is incorrect please advise. Are you saying the OS is incorrect ? I fully appreciate that you are saying that young stock graze this area, but none were present when I visited and I am 100% respectful of animals and livestock wherever I walk.

      I look forward to further advice on my understanding.

      Many thanks,

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