Dartmoor Explorations

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

Leftlake clay works

Leftlake clay workings were active over two periods, namely; 1850-1858 and 1922-1933. The Blackwood Path passes through the workings and it is probable that horse drawn wagons of the 1850’s used this track to Wrangaton. From the 1920’s, the clay was passed into the Red Lake clay pipeline. As the Leftlake clay was inferior to the Red Lake clay, it is likely it was sent down the pipeline to Cantrell at a different time to the Red Lake clay.

Leftlake 1
An interpretation of the works. Overlayed map on google earth image.
Sketch Map
Sketch Map showing the key features surrounding the Left Lake clay extraction area.
Leftlake 2
The flooded pit from on top of the sky tip. Three Barrows on the horizon
Leftlake 3
Iron railing
Leftlake 4
View of pit from next to the bridge
Leftlake 5
The bridge, which would have been built around 1911. On inspecting the course of the Red Lake clay pipeline, it looks probable the pipeline was built into the structure of the bridge
Leftlake 6
The bridge is 5 miles and 17 chains from the start of the Red Lake tramway (locomotive shed)
Leftlake 7a
Engine “Dartmoor” with carriage number 3 from EA Wade book. Probably taken pre-1922 before the works were restarted.
Leftlake 8
View of bridge from on top of sky tip
Leftlake 9
View from the tip looking towards 1850 workings
Leftlake 10
Evidence of structure on sky tip – looks like a metal launder and wooden post. SX64690 63482
Leftlake 11
Post amongst old workings
Leftlake 12
Interesting that the post is an old rail, presumably from the tramway. SX64526 63496
Leftlake 13
View of site from the point where the ruined concrete sand and mica drags start to start processing the clay slurry.
Leftlake 14
The start of the concrete sand and mica drags
Leftlake 15
Concrete sand and mica drags, first section. SX64632 63324
Leftlake 16
Inspection point next to concrete sand and mica drags, first section
Leftlake 17
Detail of concrete sand and mica drags, first section.
Leftlake 18
Concrete sand and mica drags, second section.
Leftlake 19
Concrete sand and mica drags, second section.
Leftlake 20
Concrete sand and mica drags, second section.
Leftlake 21
Concrete sand and mica drags, second section, SX64572 63306
Leftlake 22
Most likely location where the Leftlake processed clay entered the Red Lake pipeline. The iron inspection point and circular vent is one of 80 built down the length of the pipeline. The concrete sand and mica drags, second section is across the tramway behind the mound. SX64528 63262
Leftlake 23
Inside an inspection point.
Leftlake 24
Foundations of building to the west of the tramway. Wade states “This once housed the Winding Engine from which a wire rope passed, via a pulley, over the spoil (sky) tip connected to the wagon or wagons on the incline which passed over the tramway into the pit.”
Leftlake 25
Another view of the Winding Engine building foundations. SX64555 63371
Leftlake 26
Engine house. Heritage gateway states; “The structure was timber framed, clad with timber or galvanized sheeting resting on a concrete base wall.” SX64627 63408
Leftlake 27
There is evidence six iron fixings on this site supporting evidence that it was an Engine House.
Leftlake 28
Heritage Gateway describe this pit, which is part of the Engine House thus; “to the south west of the engine loading, a lined, rectangular pit of 2.5m x 0.6m could have housed a fly wheel from a horizontal engine”
Leftlake 29
Unknown square building / structure next to tramway north of Leftlake workings. SX64717 63599
Leftlake 30
Inspection point immediately north of the workings, from which the pipeline appears to lead to the bridge, which leads me to summise the pipeline was built into the bridge structure. SX64713 63532
Leftlake 31
Next to the inspection point., some unusual slabs laying across the tramway. Not sure what purpose this was for.
Leftlake 32
Passing loop / siding next to Engine house. SX64617 63406. This is just south of the bridge.

The above article was one of a 5 part series for Dartmoor News

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