A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park
October 3, 2021
East Vitifer Mine
East Vitifer Mine lies to the south west of the farming community of West Coombe. Interest in the tin deposits started around 1845 in an area next West Coombe Brook, which had showed no evidence of previous streamworks. The main lode ran parallel to the brook and several adits were driven along this. One of these adits is shown in this post, alongside other mine artefacts such as old mine buildings and the dressing floors. The mine is now very overgrown and difficult to walk around due to the steep and uneven ground and is quite concealed in a copse next to the track between West Coombe and the house called Kings Barrow.
On the open moorland, to the west, a couple of shafts were sunk and connected with the aforementioned adits. One shaft found by the author was very overgrown and cordoned off. It is recorded, that the upper of two shafts had a small wheel pit alongside it, being fed by a tinners’ reservoir a short distance up the hill but the author could not confirm this. A shaft is shown on modern OS maps.
After 1869 a second lode was worked on 300m above the mine to the north and is also shown (but not labelled) on modern OS maps. This second shaft had an adit associated with it. Ore was transported to the dressing floors by way of a tramway. None of the above artefacts were explored by the author due to the Coombe Down being very overgrown. A re-visit in the Winter months is needed. The mine also went by the name of Hookney Mine, Kingsbarrow Mine and Great Devon Tincroft. Information for this post was obtained from Dartmoor HER and Jeremy Butler Dartmoor Antiquities, volume 1 – The East (map 23).
This sketch map is the authors (amateur) interpretation of the mine layout using the OS 1873-1888 map as a guide and from a plan of East Vitifer Mine extracted from THE BIRCH TOR & VITIFER MINING COMPLEX – By D.G. Broughton.