Dartmoor Explorations

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

Methern Brook, Foxholes and West Dart Tinner’s Huts and Cache

The area around Methern Brook, Foxholes (Dart Hole) and the West Dart near Crow Tor and Lydford Tor has significant evidence of medieval tin streaming and three associated Tinner’s Huts and a Cache. The ancient trackway of the Lych Path passes through this delightfully peaceful area, which also boasts a lovely kerbed cairn with a cist.

0. Map
Sketch map of the features covered in this post. Methern Brook is so named by Eric Hemery in High Dartmoor (page 406), where he also mentions the ‘true hole’ of the this little valley was known for centuries as ‘Dart Hole’
1. Methern Brook
View looking north west up Methern Brook towards Devil’s Tor (sometimes called Foxholes Stream or Foxholes Water). This area can be quite boggy after rain. Hemery describes this a “Wild little glen”.
2. Methern Brook b
Evidence from the Tinners along Methern Brook. Crow Tor can be seen in the background
2. Methern Brook Hut a
The Tinner’s Hut adjacent to Methern Brook is in quite good condition considering it is around 400 years old
2. Methern Brook Hut d
The Tinner’s Hut is located at SX60257 79029
3. Frog
Frog near Methern Brook
4. Methern Brook Cache a
A short distance downstream from the Tinner’s Hut is a Tinner’s Cache.
4. Methern Brook Cache b
The northern side of the Cache is made from two earthfast boulders and the other remaining wall is of dressed granite.
4. Methern Brook Cache c
The Tinner’s Cache is located at SX60314 78938
4. Methern Brook Cache d
The Tinner’s Cache measures 1.5 metres north-south
5. Crow Tor a
Crow Tor has a very distinctive shape. To some, Crow Tor takes on the rough outline of a bird which may account for its name, although Eric Hemery disputes this.
5. Crow Tor b
Crow Tor is also known as Crowtorre, Crewtor, Crewtorre, Crowter, Croughtor, Croughter (ref: Tors of Dartmoor).
5. Crow Tor c
Crow Tor lies at 540m above sea level
6. Foxholes a
View near Foxholes (OS map label), looking up Methern Brook
6. Foxholes b
Foxholes. Beardown Tors in the distance
6. Foxholes c
Foxholes or Dart Hole
7. Crow Tor Cist a
The cist near Crow Tor is actually a kerb cairn (with cist).
7. Crow Tor Cist b
The antiquity is described in the Heritage Gateway as being a: “low mound of 4.0 metres diameter by 0.3 metres high containing a granite cist with four sides surviving and a displaced capstone”. 
7. Crow Tor Cist c
Worth described in 1902, in the 21st Report of the Barrow Committee, that this was excavated and a scraper was found in the cist. It is located at SX60525 78676
8. Tinners Hut a
Just below Foxholes near the West Dart is a rather unusual hut / shelter insofar as it is built into a large, mound. R.G Haynes, in the 1960’s described it as a “Tinner’s shelter at Foxholes. Built into a tinner’s heap is a two roomed drystone building, a probable tinners’ shelter”.
8. Tinners Hut b
Haynes further described this shelter as having a “passage entrance with a doorway flanked by two stones grooved to take wooden door posts”. One upright stone remains in what was probably the entrance.
8. Tinners Hut c
The Tinner’s Hut / Shelter is located at SX60637 78325. At the west end the remains of a room, are approx. 2.5m square 
8. Tinners Hut d
View of the Tinner’s Hut / Shelter in its associated mound as viewed from the west.
9. Methern Brook
The foot of Methern Brook just before it cascades into the West Dart
10. Tinners Hut a
There is an area tin streamwork (about 1 hectare) on the east side of the ridge between Beardown and Lydford Tors. The working, is probably medieval or post-medieval in date (ref: Newman). There is one tinners’ hut sited within the working. The picture shows a view towards Longaford Tor (amongst others).
10. Tinners Hut b
This Tinner’s Hut was measured by Ordnance Survey as being 6.3m by 2.3m internally and is subdivided. It is located at SX60430 78098
10. Tinners Hut c
Probert (Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England) describes the antiquity as “Two upright granite slabs 0.4m high dividing the building into two rooms, 2.3m by 2.3m at the NW end and 3.1m by 2.3m at the SE end” 
11. General View
Leaving the area covered in this post. The meandering West Dart can be seen in the centre with Crow Tor beyond.
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