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This walk: 2019-1-25. This walk encompasses four 19th Century industries - china clay, brick-making, iron mining and granite quarrying: Shaugh Bridge china clay drying sheds, River Plym, Shaugh Bridge, 2010 footbridge, River Meavy,  Smithy, Ferro-Ceramic Mine (aka Dewerstone Iron Mine) adit and shaft, drill test stone, rough-paved path, tramway end, Quarry 1, tramway nail in granite sett, The Pixie (Pixie Rock,The Puckie Stone), Quarry 2, Quarry 3 + crane base, Quarry 4, inclined plane, winding house, Quarry 5, abandoned dressed block, Quarry 6 + crane base, waste tip, Quarry 7 + crane base, waste tip, Dewerstone Cottage, Blacklands Brook Falls, Meavy riverside path, grilled adit, exposed tree bole, Shaugh Brick Works, Brogden-Caspar Tunnel Kiln, waterwheel pit, river confluence.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Previous walks in this area:  17 Nov. 2010,  (6 Feb. 2013),  10 June 2015 26 May 2016,

Reconnaissance walks:  19 Dec. 2018 22 Dec. 2018 30 Dec. 2018 11 Jan. 2019 17 Jan. 2019

Old maps .....

Google Satellite map + GPS track of the walk                                             

Further reading
Don Balkwill (2008). The Book of Shaugh Parish - It's a Shaugh Thing. Halsgrove, Wellington, Somerset.
Eric Hemery (1983). Walking the Dartmoor Railroads, David & Charles, Newton Abbot. Chap. 10 - GWR: Dewerstone Quarry Branch, pages 98-101.

 

 

Shaugh Bridge China Clay Drying Sheds, built in three phases from between 1870 and 1895 (there is a date stone inscribed 1895); closed down in 1952 (Sources: MDV2218 and MDV119752 below). China clay suspended in water flowed 2.5 km (1.55 miles) as a slurry in a pipe from near Cadover Bridge. There are various channels and settling and thickening tanks out of sight on high ground up behind this structure. The sheds were cleared from overgrowth in 2009 by Dartmoor Preservation Association (I remember working here!) ..... the clay was dried by heat and cut into blocks, loaded onto carts amd carried to Bickleigh Station (not Shaugh Platform?).  The photograph shows the bays where carts were backed-in to be loaded. This is now Shaugh Bridge car park. 

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV2218 - Shaugh Prior China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV119755 - Furnaces at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV119752 - Cart bays and linhays at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior     

 

The clay was dried by heat from fires in kilns which were so hot that the workers had to wear wooden clogs. There is a date stone, below the white marker in the centre of the photograph .....

 

The date stone, showing WBBC 1895. The letters signify Watts, Blake, Bearne & Company. Some web links: WBBC at Companies House  WBBC in Grace's Guide to British Industrial HistoryThe Ball Clay Heritage Society The Ball Clay Industry (Newton Abbot)WBB Minerals on Facebook. WBB Minerals is now wholly owned by the Belgian company, SCR Sibelco SA.     

 

Photograph of the clay works from a newspaper dated 5 February 1939, from Don Balkwill, The Book of Shaugh Parish, p.82.
The open yard seen above is now today's car park, compare with the preceding photograph above. Dewerstone Hill is behind.
This image is reproduced by kind permission of Halsgrove, Wellington, Somerset.

 

Drawing of the workings of the clay works made by Jeffery Jones and redrawn by Chris Titchener, from Don Balkwill, The Book of Shaugh Parish, p.83.
This image is reproduced by kind permission of Halsgrove, Wellington, Somerset.

 

Other china clay search results .....

Building at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Cart Bays and Linhays at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Shelter at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Store or Lavatory at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Furnaces at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Chimney at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Thickening Tanks at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Access Track at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Earthwork south of Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Two Settling Tanks at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Wall enclosing four Pillars at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Settling Tank and Slurry Channels at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Mica Pit at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Settling Pits and associated Features at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior
Building and extension wall at Shaugh Bridge China Clay Works, Shaugh Prior Shaugh Prior

 

 

The car park sign.  Click the image to see a larger version.

 

China clay can still be seen on the ground between the car park and the path to the footbridge - which can be seen starting in this photograph .....

 

A close-up photograph of the clay shows no structure - it is a finely-diivided white powder. Don't get it on your boots!

 

The 14 November 2010 footbridge that crosses the River Plym from the car park .....

 

The River Plym in spate, after some heavy rain ..... the car park is to the right and the ruins of Shaugh Brick Works and the Ferro Ceramic Mine are just off the left edge of the photograph ..... there is a photograph in The Book of Shaugh Parish (page 51) of a new footbridge being emplaced in 1989: the caption says it was over the Meavy but old maps only show this one over the Plym. The date on this one is still seen clearly, 2010, replacing an 1989 version.  Other wooden footbridges were built in 1924 (over the Meavy, washed away in 1928) and a similar (rustic) bridge was built over the Plym at some time and also in the early 1950s, 1989 and 2010.

 

Looking down the River Plym to Shaugh Bridge from the footbridge ..... the River Meavy can just be seen flowing into the Plym from the right .....

 

 

The track showing the Dewerstone Iron Mine adit to the left (opposite the piece of raililng) and the Smithy to the right. The interruption in the track about halfway up the photograph is around SX 53450 63725, then that is where the leat to the water-wheel crossed the track (see this map, left of the "Aqueduct" label).  The aqueduct would have been to the right, looking up the track.

 

An adit (collapsed) from the iron mine - just out of sight behind the adit is a large filled-in shaft (see two photographs after the river below) .....

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV2396 - Ferro Ceramic Mine 75 metres north-east of Shaugh Bridge, Meavy - 14 other records linked at the bottom of this one!

 

Closer view.

 

The Smithy, SX 53418 63722.

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV119808 - Smithy at the Ferro Ceramic Mine north-east of Shaugh Bridge, Meavy ..... 

The Ferro Cerramic Company was founded and a lease obtained in 1870. The assets were offered for auction in 1883. Disused by 1886. Good ore was sent away for smelting, poor quality ore was used in making bricks - these also used waste from the clay drying works nearby.

The Shaugh Iron Mine was a more productive mine south of Shaugh Bridge at approximately SX 53167 63078, about 650 metres away to the south-south-west, near the east bank of the Plym. It was a vertical north-south iron lode worked as a sheer-sided open cut with a shaft, drained by an adit. It was worked 1834-1338 by Messrs Langdon & Paddon. By 1840, there was a leat from the Cad and a water-wheel with flat-rods and pumps. The ore was sent to South Wales for smelting. A long narrow quarry is shown on maps about 250 metres east of the mine where ironstone is also found. Source: AK Hamilton Jenkin (1974), Mines of Devon: Vol. 1: Mines of Devon: The Southern Area, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, pages 119-120.  It is possible that these ores found here are continued north to the Dewerstone Iron Mine.

Shaugh Iron Mine - records report an output 1870 - 1874 of 4,670 tons of (limonite) iron ore.

  

A closer view, from the track .....

 

The other side of the wall.

 

There is a drill testing stone embedded in the track by the Smithy with a number of holes started in it .....

 

The stone is located almost in the middle of the track, level with the uphill end of the Smithy wall, by a tree root.

 

A few steps away is the River Plym.

 

The large filled-in shaft behind the adit ..... the next photograph was taken from the top right of this one ..... this has been fenced for safety since the reconnaissance walk (19th Dec. 2018) when this photo was taken .....

 

Looking down into the shaft.

 

Looking at the Smithy from the top of the bank, near the shaft.  There are two shafts recorded for the mine.

 

The rough paved path that leads up to the lower level quarries. Near the top of the track, before the bend to the left, is a turn-off track to the Dewerstone, at SX 53552 63738.

 

At the top of the rough paved path (after it doubled-back on itself) is the end of the horse-drawn railway / tramway, halfway down this photograph.  Quarry 1, at SX 53571 63782, with the tramway terminating right beside it. The quarry is to the right .....

 

Looking into Quarry 1.

 

A low-angle photograph of a tramway nail in a granite sett at SX 53535 63780, with Pixie Rock visible in the background. This can be found in the middle of the track when approaching Pixie Rock, using the right-hand side of the track. As soon as Pixie  Rock is visible, look for a slab of stone on the right with a flat face, the top edge of which is sloping in towards the track. The nail should be a couple of paces on, towards the rock.

 

Pixie Rock aka The Puckie Stone, SX 53492 63823, on a sharp bend in the track. Note the granite setts for the quarry railway.

 

At SX 53502 63838, we encounter Quarry 2, a small, long disused quarry.  

 

Further along the lower track is Quarry 3, at SX 53542 63887, with a crane base.

 

Quarry 4, at SX 53565 63965, appears to be long-disused.

 

The track gives off a branch at SX 53582 64028 which is the inclined plane leading up to three higher level quarries - one is a small one beside the winding house. There are two horizontal levels to the quarries. The higher one is 200 feet above the lower one and served a 400-yard inclined plane .....

 

Granite tramway sett at SX 53650 64145, complete with iron nail and four holes that attached the fishplates that held the iron rails .....

 

A low angle view of the iron nail above.

 

Looking up the inclined plane (near the top) at some of the granite setts that bore the rails of the railway / tramway for carrying stone down from the two higher quarries to the lower level and the way out to market - although a lot of the stone went into the railway embankment. 

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV80768 - Dewerstone Wood quarries, inclined plane   

 Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV49020 - Quarry in Dewerstone Wood, Meavy - says very little  

 

Granite sett, with four holes for fastening the fishplate that supported the iron rails.

 

The top of the inclined plane where a double cable drum which acted as a brake to slow descending wagons of stone - these were counter-balanced by another wagon coming up. There is a passing place with two sets of rails at the halfway point. The hole is where the cables came out from the drum .....

 

 


Image reproduced with the permission of Helen Harris from her book Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor (1968),
David & Charles, Newton Abbot, p.89.  Photograph taken by Mr Sydney Taylor in 1912.

 

Another view.

 

The remains of the axle (spindle) that held two cable drums that controlled the descent of loaded wagons and the ascent of the empty wagons that were used as a counter-balance.  These are pictured, in 1912, in Helen Harris (1968), Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, page 89.

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV15148 - Ruined cable drum house west of Dewerstone Cottage, Meavy

 

Closer view. The metal band could be the remnant of a brake band - see the black and white photograph above.

 

The angled bearing and the axle of the drum.

 

Serious locknuts underneath!

 

View from behind the brake drum building - the inclined plane disappears straight ahead and the track to the two large higher level quarries is seen going away to the left, between the pair of tree trunks. Immediately left of this scene is the small Quarry 5 .....

 

Quarry 5, at SX 53747 64282, close to the winding house.

 

The higher level track to the upper quarries ..... note the abandoned dressed block of stone ..... (..... "all dressed up and nowhere to go ......").  I have been told that there is a sett makers' banker down the slope below this block.

 

The first large upper level quarry, Quarry 6, at SX 53748 64064 ..... the quarry is left of the track, the spoil tip is to the right .....

 

The spoil tip .....

 

Looking into the quarry. About halfway back, on the left, is a ruined crane base (next photograph)  .....

 

Crane base .....

 

View from the back of the quarry .....

 

A tree, clinging to the rock face .....

 

Further along the track, 150 metres, is another biggish quarry, Quarry 7, at SX 53670 63915, not very photogenic (next photograph), but behind the scrub is a crane base in fairly good condition .....     

 

Looking from the track into the quarry .....

 

The above quarry has a large spoil tip from which there is a view up the Meavy valley at 314 Mag. towards Clearbrook.

 

We then walked back along the upper level quarry track and down the inclined plane to Dewerstone Cottage. This was the counting house, stables and smithy for the quarry tramway system. The cottage became a rented dwelling after the quarry closed until the last tenants left in 1952. The buildings became derelict until they were turned into a Scouting centre that opened in 1965. Source: Don Balkwill, The Book of Shaugh Parish, pages 111-113.

The building was boarded up in early 2009 after many years of use by Scouts - End of an era for Scouts

Current use - Holiday rental for groups - sleep 20-34 and Spirit of Adventure - Dewerstone Cottage.    

 

Blacklands Brook Falls, a few paces from the far end of Dewerstone Cottage, photographed from Dewerstone Bridge, adjacent to the cottage.

There may be more than twenty charcoal burning platforms in the wood, circles about 5 or 6 metres in diameter.

 


There is an extension to this walk that goes up the Meavy valley to see the abandoned railway embankment that hastened the end of the quarries, because it became uneconomic to continue taking out the quarried stone by horse and cart - see HERE.


 

Looking back at Dewerstone Cottage while descending to the river bank.

 

 A few metres from the former industrial site at Shaugh Bridge, at SX 53395 63837, there is an adit from the iron mine that is fitted with a grille ..... this connected with a shaft that was filled in a few years before 2008 after a bullock fell into it (Don Balkwill, p.56). The shaft is up behind the adit (via the path to the right, present but masked in this photograph), at SX 53402 63794 ..... if you go looking, take the main path from the top of the slope, up to the left a few yards .....

 

Closer view, the tree roots are quite impressive.

 

Two trees clinging to life behind the kiln, the one on the right has a completely exposed bole - the few roots into the bank must bear a lot of weight!

 

Apppproaching the old brick works ...... The clay mixing tank? Alternatively, this might be a storage area for bricks before or after firing (Don Balkwill, p.56).

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV119817 - Pit to north of kiln at Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy - simply describes a 15.1 m long, 3.5 m wide, 0.9 m deep stone-lined pit.

   

Shaugh Brick (and tile) Works, the Ferro-Ceramic Company Ltd. (SX 53327 63715) - a brief late 19th Century venture that used poor-quality iron ore from the nearby Dewerstone Iron Mine and by-products from the china clay drying works. It featured a modern linear drying kiln - the Brogden-Caspar Tunnel Kiln that dried, fired and cooled in one operation. There are diagrams in this reference: British Brick Society: Information 64 - February 1995, pages 9-15. The Ferro-Ceramic Company.   

"Adjacent to the kiln are partly worked ores of decomposed granite, heavily iron stained, which could have provided a clay/sand mixture for making bricks or a low grade iron ore. "  There is a photograph online that shows the end of a kiln somewhat like this one in the former Tangrong Brick Kiln, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV119815 - Kiln at Shaugh Brick Works, Meavy

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV62876 - Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy - includes .... "The origins of the mine are not known, but authority 'to mine and search' for iron was granted in a lease issued to the Ferrio Ceramic Company in 1879. The terms of this lease and the assets of The Dewerstone Iron Mine, as it was then called, are described in an auction inventory dated 1883. The fate of the works after this date is not known but it seems likely that it was soon dismantled because it was disused by 1886. A revolutionary type of tunnel kiln was installed circa 1880. "

National Trust HBSMR No. 105096 - Ferro Ceramic Mine and Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy, Goodameavy - good information.

 

The horizontal grooves housed the edges of the wagons carrying the bricks through the kiln.

About halfway along the kiln, up the slope away from the river, is a waterwheel pit ..... 

Pit for a water wheel, SX 53369 63752, approx. 20-ft long, 5-ft wide and 7-ft deep ..... the clear level area to the left could have been a stamping floor where low-grade iron ore was crushed before mixing into bricks .....  the tailrace is very clear nearby .....

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV119809 - Wheel pit at the Ferro Ceramic Mine north-east of Shaugh Bridge, Meavy 

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV119810 - Aqueduct leading to the Wheel Pit at the Ferro Ceramic Mine north-east of Shaugh Bridge, Meavy

National Trust HBSMR No. 105096 - Ferro Ceramic Mine and Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy, Goodameavy -  incudes "The waterwheel is sited within the brickworks complex although the 1880 lease suggests that it was used in connection with the iron mine. It may have been linked to the mine by flat-rods to provide pumping and, or lifting power."  The origins of the iron mine are unknown although although authority for it was granted in a lease dated 1879. The assets were put up for auction in 1883, the mine seeming to have closed down. Source: Don Balkwill, p.40.

Ariadne Portal - Ferro Ceramic Mine and Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy, Goodameavy - be sure to click "Read more" .....

It is possible that the water wheel continued to power stamps for grinding any sub-standard iron ore from the nearby Shaugh Iron Mine - as opposed to this, nearby,  "Dewerstone Iron Mine". The Shaugh Iron Mine was a deep openwork located 600 metres south, at SX 5316 6307, in Square's Wood. 

 

Down in the wheel pit.

 

The group between the water wheel and ther brick works. There were 32 of us when we started, including the photographer! 

 

 

Low-angle end view of the remaining walls of the of the 'modern' linear Brogden & Casper tunnel kiln: "The plant included a Brogden and Casper's improved tunnel kiln, two working sheds adjoining the brick kiln, nearly completed, tramways, eighteen iron tram wagons, two turntables, a 16 ft by 3 ft water wheel, tools, tramway metals, about 60 tons of iron ore, the manager's office, and a smith's shop."  Source: British Brick Society: Information 64 - February 1995, pages 9-15. The Ferro-Ceramic Company.

 

Looking at the brickworks kiln from the Shaugh Bridge end.

I have been told that across the river from here are the ruins of a paper mill that made brown wrapping paper. 

 

View up the River Meavy from beside the brick kiln.

Other search results

Mine Shaft at the Ferro Ceramic Mine north-east of Shaugh Bridge, Meavy Meavy
Two Pits at the Ferro Ceramic Mine north-east of Shaugh Bridge, Meavy Meavy
Two Large Pits at the Ferro Ceramic Mine north-east of Shaugh Bridge, Meavy Meavy
Wall at Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy Meavy
Wall to west of Kiln at Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy Meavy
Building to south-east of Kiln at Shaugh Brickworks, Meavy Meavy
Charcoal Burning Platform A14 in Dewerstone Wood, Meavy Meavy

  

 

The confluence of the Rivers Plym (from left) and Meavy (from right) to then flow as the Plym under Shaugh Bridge ..... the bridge was rebuilt in 1825 after the original was washed away in a flood in 1823 (Don Balkwill, p.41) .....

 

The same location, seen from the bridge .....

 

A 180 panorama of the confluence of the rivers, where the top of the bridge parapet is seen in the two bottom corners of the photograph.   Here, the Meavy is on the left and the larger Plym (with the footbridge) is on the right.  Click on the image to see a larger version.   

 

Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.


Crown copyright 2016  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.

 

The red GPS track shown above is actually the track from 17th January, which was an identical walk although on the group walk the GPS unit did not visit the "Old Shaft".

Today's walk lies between two earlier walks - 11th December 2017 - Clearbrook (on the left of the map) and 25th June 2018 - Cadover Bridge (on the right of the map).

The walk can be accessed easily from Yelverton, via Meavy or from Plympton by going past the Elfordleigh Hotel. The large car park is at the yellow cross and  P  symbol on the map. There are also other approaches.

 

Statistics
Distance - 4.11 km / 2.55 miles

 

All photographs on this web site are copyright © Keith Ryan.
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