Dartmoor Explorations

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

HUNTINGDON MINE AND ITS LEAT SYSTEMS

Steve Grigg

The mine was worked as Avon Consols 1851-54, then Devon Wheal Vor around 1858 and was re-opened as Huntingdon Mine between 1864 and 1868. A fabulous article from Dave Brewer in the Spring 1988 Dartmoor Magazine entitled “A Leat from the Avon” inspired me to conduct a more robust exploration of an area I’d been to on dozens of occasions previously. This post (as per Dave Brewers article) starts near Lud Gate with the mysterious regulator stone / cross socket, then proceeds to the mine in the Western Wellabrook valley.

Huntingdon Map
This is an adaptation of the original Dave Brewer sketch of the site. It is a fascinating how the leat systems were constructed.
Huntingdon Plan
Shafts at the mine. Engine Shaft is easily recognisable but the others take a little interpretation. I assumed Lukey’s and Bishop’s Shafts were the highest (and largest) up the hill and tried to work out shafts a through g accordingly. I hope I have faithfully recognised each shaft in this post.
Huntingdon old picture
“Dartmoor Mystery”is how this artefact is described by F.H.Starkey in his “Then and Now” book from 1986. R.H. Worth described it as a “Water Regulating Stone for leat”. Dave Brewer described it as a “Regulator stone” in an article (A leat from Avon) in the Dartmoor Magazine in 1988 as it lies next to the Hayford Hall Leat.

The artefact is called by Dartefacts, website¬†http://www.dartmoor-crosses.org.uk/hayford.htm and dartmoor crossing facebook page as “Hayford Cross Socket Stone”.

So is it a leat “Regulator Stone” or is it a “Cross Socket Stone” ?
Huntington 1
Starkey first thought it was a Cross Socket Stone but states “the inner side bears the marks of a drill”. He argues therefore, it is unlikely to have been made earlier than the beginning of 19th century and by this time wayside crosses were no longer being erected on Dartmoor. On further investigation he states that a local, indeed remembered the Hayford leat, which also served two other residences, a sawmill and a tin mine, and agreed R.H. Worth was correct. This is the June 2020 view of the stone. SX68233 67331 
Huntington 2
General view of the mine taken from Lud Gate track. The Huntingdon Warren field system discernable across the valley. 
Huntington 3
Horse Whim stone with Engine Shaft behind 
Huntington 4
Engine Shaft 
Huntington 5
Engine shaft. SX66800 66993 
Huntington 6
This small embankment alongside the track is a launder bank which enabled the tinners to allow water to flow into the site. This is the end of Leat 1 (L1). SX66826 67004 
Huntington 7
Shallow depression of Leat 1 heading towards Western Wellabrook 
Huntington 8
Leat 1 again, where the tinners had to move huge boulders 
Huntington 9
Leat 1 inlet from Western Wellabrook. There is an old wall system here (you can just make out a rock on the right hand side of the picture), which the tinners had to breach to run their leat from the Brook. SX 66652 67319 
Huntington 10
Clapper 1 collapsed in the Brook. Huntingdon Warren tree visible in the distance. SX66668 67160 
Huntington 11
Is this a natural weathered rock or the start of a trough. This is close to Leat 2 (L2) take off point. SX66708 67109 
Huntington 12
Leat 2 take off from Western Wellabrook. SX66698 67128 
Huntington 13
Leat 2 is easy to follow. You can see it is heading for the waste heap mound (upper mid picture) 
Huntington 14
A nicely split rock alongside leat 2. I wonder why it was never used. SX66753 67040 
Huntington 15
Clapper 2, carrying the main track to Huntingdon Warren 
Huntington 16
The ford just upstream from clapper 2 
Huntington 17
Waste Heap (right) with view to Huntingdon Warren. SX66777 66994 
Huntington 18
Wheel pit, stated by Dave Brewer as 30ft. SX66783 66971 
Huntington 19
Mystery depression below the wheelpit. It looks like a possible adit (?) with the entrance below where photo taken from. When I was last here in the winter, this was flooded by several feet. SX66770 66953 
Huntington 20
Probable Buddle. SX66777 66943 
Huntington 21
Possible 2nd Buddle below the first (or is there only one as per the Dave Brewer sketch). SX66768 66935 
Huntington 22
There are two parts to the barracks. This is the upper section. SX66803 66951 
Huntington 23
……and the lower section of the barracks. SX66794 66953 
Huntington 24
The count house in foreground (SX66823 66961), with the barracks in the background 
Huntington 25
The powder house near the waste heap. SX66770 66985
Huntington 26
Shaft a. (SX66825 67001)
Huntington 27
Shaft b. (SX66842 66998)
Huntington 28
Shaft c. (SX66854 67004)
Huntington 29
Shaft d. (SX66884 66999)
Huntington 30
Shaft e. (SX66895 66994)
Huntington 31
Shaft f. (SX66913 66992)
Huntington 32
Shaft g. (SX66952 66993)
Huntington 33
Lukey’s Shaft (probable location). SX66978 66987
Huntington 34
Bishops Shaft (probable location). SX67022 66983
Huntington 35
Dressing Floor 1 (SX66778 66922)
Huntington 36
Dressing Floor 2 (SX66799 66911)
Huntington 37
Leat 3 snaking it’s way from the Avon through the Huntingdon Warren enclosures
Huntington 38
Leat 3 crossing Leat 4 on it’s way to Brock Hill Head, Hayford Hall and the Mardle. SX 66718 66778. There would have been a launder with supports here
Huntington 39
Leat 4 running parallel to Western Wellabrook
Huntington 40
Leat 4 entering Western Wellabrook at SX66668 66698
Huntington 41
Leat 4 entering Western Wellabrook at SX66668 66698
Huntington 42
Leat 5 (L5) take off point near where leat 4 enters the Western Wellabrook. SX66678 66704
Huntington 43
Clapper 3 – across leat 5 at SX66662 66651
Huntington 44
Launder Bank for the 40ft wheelpit. SX66626 66579
Huntington 45
View from the launder to the 40ft wheelpit below.
Huntington 46
40ft wheelpit at SX66586 66507
Huntington 47
Part of the wheel tail race at SX66581 66490
Huntington 48
One final view of the mine. The E/W line of Pits very distinct from Huntingdon Warren Farm.

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