Dartmoor Explorations

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

West Vitifer Mine

Steve Grigg and Frank Collinson

This mine is in a delightful little valley just to the East of Hurston Ridge and the Two Moors Way. This mine is called by this name in Jeremy Butlers Atlas of Antiquities (North) and by Dr Phil Newman as New Vitifer Mine. Another anomaly is that the water course is named Bovey by both of two aforementioned learned gentleman but as North Walla Brook on the OS map. I have been told that the locals use ‘Hurston Water’ for the watercourse here, the Ordnance Survey’s use of ‘North Walla Brook’ possibly having have been taken from the Walla Brook due south rising below the Warren House Inn. The valley is known as ‘Boveycombe’ it seems so the ‘River Bovey’ doesn’t seem too far-fetched as a possibility. The area is described in Dartmoor News Issue 173 March/April 2020 as one of ‘Dartmoor’s Hidden Gems’.

West Vitifer 1
The mine location
West Vitifer 2
The valley with evidence of a lot of early tin steam works
West Vitifer 3
Just south of the main open work (gully shown on OS map) is a whim (used to raise or lower items into or out of a mine). The whim is the circular raised section in the photograph. SX67770 82672
West Vitifer 4
Next to the whim is a mine shaft now engulfed in bracken (dark area in foreground) at SX67773 82677
West Vitifer 5
This is the main open work (gully) which is so distinct on the OS map but now very overgrown.
West Vitifer 6
This view is in the main area of the mine. This third and last period of the tin activity was intermittently between 1850 (when lease obtained for the sett) and 1875
West Vitifer 7
Remains of a water wheel can be found here at SX67879 82730
West Vitifer 8
There is a wall (on right), which partly encloses three buddles (one is circled), which if you look very carefully are depicted on the OS map. The buddles are around 5m in diameter. These are at SX67884 82763
West Vitifer 9
View near the dressing floors of the mine. This may not be the most photogenic of mines for anyone interested in industrial archeology but is a lovely valley and worth the diversion down from Hurston Ridge, across which, I suspect most hikers will walk between Kings Oven and the Heath Stone.
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