Dartmoor Explorations

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

LADY BROOK TINNERS’ MILL

Located near the head of Lady Brook (marked as Ivy Tor Water on older copies of the OS map), this tinners’ mill is probably the smallest on Dartmoor. It is in a lovely location being amongst the many tinners’ workings on the west side of Cosdon Hill in an area also known as Queenie Meads. The features of the mill and associated leat embankment, wheelpit and two buddles are quite difficult to discern and the use of a plan is needed if making a visit. The exploration was inspired by finding a copy of a plan of the mill (titled “Ivy Tor Water Tinners’ Mill) in an old Dartmoor Magazine article by Dr Tom Greeves, who has conducted some superb industrial archeological research across the moor. Further research for this post was obtained from the Historic England website.

Mill Plan
This drawing is based on the original Dr Tom Greeves plan of the mill (from Dartmoor Magazine).
Head Lady Brook
There are lots of tinners’ workings at the head of Lady Brook
Mill and Buddles
The site is best located by looking for a very large mound (see top of picture) which is a few metres to the south of the mill.
Mill 1
View of the Mill and Wheelpit taken from the top of the Leat Embankment. The presence of tin slag on this site demonstrates that it was a smelting site.
Mill 2
Described in Historic England as a “mill consisting of a drystone-built rectangular structure, with a small wheelpit for the stamps and furnace power in the NE corner”. The mill is stated as measuring 4.2m by 2.5m and is defined by drystone wall standing up to 0.6m high and is orientated NW-SE. The mill GR is SX62842 91737.
Mill 3
Next to the mill, the wheelpit is 1.4m wide. The wheelpit is located at SX62840 91733
Mill 4
The Historic England website further states “documentary evidence exists of a c15 mill in the locality and it could be the site leased to a ‘nicholas tuckfield’ in 1608 (viant)”. There are several stones within the mill, which if turned maybe reveal they are mortar stones.
Leat 1
The leat embankment can be traced behind the mill for several metres
Leat 2
Another view of the old leat leading to the leat embankment
Leat 3
A obvious feature in the area (shown on plan) is a large boulder on the to the front of the leat embankment.
Wheel Tailrace
Below the wheelpit a tail race can be found leading back to Lady Brook.
Buddle 1
Two buddles lie immediately NE of the mill. Both are triangular in shape and the one nearest to the mill (labelled here as Buddle 1) and is approx. 2.1m by 2m in a 0.4m hollow. It is located at SX62844 91739
Buddle 2
The second buddle is 2.6m by 2m and can be found at SX62849 91741.
Reservoir 1
Two reservoirs lie upslope of an eluvial streamwork and were supplied with water by a leat. Reservoir 1 is described thus: “The dam survives as a 3.7m wide and 1m high bank, with a 12m long S and 7m long N arm”. This picture is the best location that the author could fund which matches the description and is located at SX63005 91597.
Reservoir 2
Reservoir 2 is located at SX62970 91555. It is described in the Historic England website as a 4m wide v-shaped bank standing up to 1m high, upslope of which is a hollow which would have contained the water and which was formed by the digging of material to construct the dam”. This picture is the best location that the author could find which matches the description.
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