A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park
June 22, 2020
SADDLE BRIDGE HYDRO-ELECTRIC STATION
In 1905, a hydro-electric plant was built at Saddle Bridge beside the O Brook on the Hexworthy road to Venford Resevoir road to supply electricity to Hooten Wheals (Hexworthy) Mine. It was at this time that Dartmoor Minerals Limited re-opened the mine (having taken over Golden Dagger as well). The power station (or hydro-electric plant / turbine) had its water supplied by a 16 inch iron pipe to a Pelton* Wheel, which took its supply off the Wheal Emma Leat at a point on the hillside 183ft (56m) above. This power station was a part of a capital investment to modernise the mine.
*The Pelton wheel or Pelton Turbine is an impulse-type water turbine invented by American inventor Lester Allan Pelton in the 1870s. The Pelton Turbine is a hydraulic ‘impulse’ turbine, in which one or more water jets hit ‘buckets’ on a wheel. The force produced by the jet impact at right angles to the buckets generates a torque that causes the wheel to rotate, thus producing power.
The electricity generated supplied the Power House beside Low’s Shaft for the mine and New Mill for the stamps, hoists, separating classifiers, jigging tables (Wilfley), revolving slime tables and buddles. Power was brought to the mine from Saddle Bridge via overhead cable. In the remains at Hooten Wheals, an armature of a dynamo can still be seen in one of the buddles.