A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park
May 20, 2020
RATTLEBROOK HEAD PEAT WORKS
Steve Grigg and Frank Collinson
The Rattlebrook Head Peat Works history is believed to run from around 1867 through to 1931.The Rattlebrook Head Peat sett licence was first granted in January 1867. At that time the Doe Tor sett licence was also granted and the two setts combined had the following bounds:
“On the East by a line drawn parallel to the Rattlebrook at a distance of 400 fathoms Eastward thereof. On the South in part by the Tavy Cleave, in the other part by the lower Rattlebrook and for the remaining part by the southern limit of that portion of the Common of Devon which lies northward of Hare Tor and Doe tor. On the West by a straight line drawn through the centre of Doe Tor to the centre of Arms Tor and continued thence northward to the River Lyd and On or towards the North in part by the course of the said River Lyd – in the other part by a straight line drawn due west from the Rattlebrook Head to Sandyford by the Forest boundary.”
By 1873, the venture had entered a more commercial phase. At this time there were plans to build a works at Bridestowe. However, this was to be superseded and the peat works we drawn up near the head of the Rattlebrook. At the same time permission was sought to build a cottage, close to the peat road to Lydford as it crosses the Rattlebrook near the works, what we know today as “Bleak House”. The remains of the peat works and the cottage are the subject of this post. The peat works closed around 1932.
There is an excellent report by Dr Phil Newman entitled “Domestic and Industrial Peat Cutting on North-Western Dartmoor” and is a most interesting read. The information in the introduction to this post has been extracted from that report.