Dartmoor Explorations

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

Red lake china clay workings – extraction

This post on the Red Lake China Clay Works, provides information and pictures on the extraction point of the clay and associated infrastructure at the end of the tramway. This post complements other post on this website, relating to the Red Lake clay operations. Due reference is made to the excellent EA Wade publications (1982 and 2004), without which much of the knowledge of this fascinating part of industrial archaeology on the moor would be lost.

Redlake Extraction 1
This overlay plan uses the drawing in the EA Wade publications & OS map to aid exploration.
Sketch Map
Sketch Map of the Red Lake clay extraction operations
Redlake Extraction 2
This is the final cutting on the tramway before the clay workings. The depth of peat cut here is quite incredible and testament to the guys who dug it. The 8 miles 17 chains took only a year or so to build. Richard Hansford-Worth surveyed the route in 1909 and the full line was opened in 1911.
Redlake Extraction 3
The last straight of the tramway, the workings coming into view.
Redlake Extraction 4
Siding on the left.
Redlake Extraction 5
Looking back down the line from where the locomotive shed would have been located. SX64689 66744
Redlake Extraction 6
Coal House at end of Engine and Boiler House. SX64623 66829
Redlake Extraction 7
Back of coal house. It is doubtful that the Shovel is 100 years old ! 🤔
Redlake Extraction 8
Engine and Boiler House
Redlake Extraction 9
Winding Engine overlooking the flooded pit
Redlake Extraction 10
End of Engine and Boiler house. SX64627 66843
Redlake Extraction 11
Engine and Boiler house overlooking the flooded pit
Redlake Extraction 12
Winding Engine with the flooded pit and sky tip. SX64594 66838
Redlake Extraction 13
What looks like a steam inlet at the winding Engine.
Redlake Extraction 14
Picture from Wade publications. I have added the labels of the buildings from the plan.
Redlake Extraction 15
This photograph is taken from the most likely location where the c 1920s photograph was taken with the addition of the pit on the right. The barracks can just be seen. This photograph was taken from half way up the spoil tip (aka sky tip).
Redlake Extraction 16
Location of Peat House. SX64570 66825
Redlake Extraction 17
View from the Peat House looking looking North.
Redlake Extraction 18
Drying Room and store. SX64593 66796
Redlake Extraction 19
Possible steam inlet into the drying room to enable the drying of clothes.
Dining room foundations. SX64597 66798
Redlake Extraction 21
Smiths shop foundations. SX64603 66781
Redlake Extraction 22
Carpenters shop foundations. SX64590 66786
Redlake Extraction 23
Chimney from the Office block. SX64591 66777
Redlake Extraction 24
Hostel / Barracks. SX64634 66717
Redlake Extraction 25
Steps into the hostel / barracks.
Redlake Extraction 26
The hostel / barracks in the snow. c1920’s
Redlake Extraction 27
Another view of the barracks looking south
Redlake Extraction 28
Outlet at hostel / barracks. Is this from washing facilities?
Redlake Extraction 29
The reservoirs providing water to the monitors used in clay extraction. The reservoir on the left was fed by the boundary leat, the one on the right was fed by water returned from Greenhill micas by the return leat. SX64713 66884
Redlake Extraction 30
Higher elevation view of the reservoirs
Redlake Extraction 31
The boundary leat as seen from on top of the sky tip. The dark line two-thirds the way up the photograph and towards the right. This collected water from the run off from Green Hill.
Redlake Extraction 32
Fabulous view from the top, with Heap of Sinners in the sunshine on left. The Avon reservoir just visible.
Redlake Extraction 33
View of the sky tip from below
Redlake Extraction 34
Wagons on the double tracked incline from the extraction pit to the top of the sky tip. The wagons can be seen at the “normal” ground level.
Redlake Extraction 35
This picture was taken in 1920, looking down the double tracked incline. The engine called “DARTMOOR” can be seen mid picture (left). Portable track can be seen alongside the pit.
Redlake Extraction 36
The flooded clay pit, looking down from the same point as the 1920’s picture.
Redlake Extraction 37
Operating a monitor for clay extraction. Water being supplied by the two reservoirs
Redlake Extraction 38
360 deg view from the top of the sky tip. Best viewed in a new tab.

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

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