Dartmoor Explorations

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

WEEK FORD TIN MILLS

Steve Grigg

Near where the O Brook tumbles into the West Dart and the Week Ford stepping stones, there are two blowing houses (tin mills), which are full of interest. The lower of the two buildings is known as Beara House and the upper on simply known as The Mill. It is not known whether the two buildings were in use at the same time.

WF Map
Map showing the location of the two tin mils
WF Layout
Layout of the two mills, based on a sketch in the Jeremy Butler, Atlas of Antiquities (South East) – Figure 61.7

Both mills are reasonably well preserved and each contain half a dozen mortar stones, a furnace and a wheel pit. The lower mill also contains two mould stones. The leat to the mills can easily be located and followed.

WF 1
The upper mill is 6m x 4m. There is an alcove on its longest side, showing the location of the furnace. The leat comes in to the site from the O Brook, but is now dry.
WF 2
Mortar Stone at Upper Mill at the base of wheel pit. SX66167 72328. The pit would have contained a 3m wheel. The leat embankment above it is easily located.
WF 3
Mortar Stone at Upper Mill
WF 4
Mortar Stone at Upper Mill
WF 5
Mortar Stone at Upper Mill
WF 6
Mortar Stone at Upper Mill
WF 7
Mortar Stone at Upper Mill
WF 8
Clearer view of wheel pit at Upper Mill
WF 9
The lower mill (aka Beara House). This was cleared by Robert Burnard in 1886. It is 10m x 5m. It has a raised platform at the higher end with a small chamber leading off it, where the furnace is believed to have been sited.
WF 10
Lintel at Beara House
WF 11
General view of Beara House. The furnace is at the back wall from this photograph
WF 12
Mortar stone at lower mill SX66174 72349
WF 13
Mortar stone at lower mill
WF 14
Mortar stone at lower mill
WF 15
Mortar stones at lower mill
WF 16
Mortar and broken mould stones at lower mill. SX66180 72350
WF 17
Mortar stone at lower mill
WF 18
Part of the furnace at SX66173 72342
WF 19
Mould Stone at SX66173 72345
WF 20
View (just to the left of the larger tree) of the upper mill from the lower mill.

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