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Historic England Research Records

Higher Mines Wood

Hob Uid: 917407
Location :
North Devon
North Molton
Grid Ref : SS7452233524
Summary : The remains of a mine complex comprising shafts, leat and a wheel pit visible on the site. The site was mined for copper in the 1840s, and reopened for gold mining in 1852-4
More information : The remains of a copper mine complex in Higher Mines wood are centred at SS 7451 3369, and cover an area of 1.4 ha. They lie mostly in deciduous woodland on the north-west and west-facing valley slopes of a tributary of the River Mole.

The remains consist of a number of shafts and pits, a possible building, leats and a wheel pit. The site has been confused by the construction of a massive cut into the natural hillside to facilitate access to forestry plantations. This operation has destroyed the principle processing areas and has resulted in material being pushed over and largely obscuring the wheel pit. At SS 7449 3356 are the remains of a possible building. The structure measures 4.2m by 1.5m internally and has walls 1m wide and 0.6m high. It is cut slightly into the natural slope on the east side.

At SS 7457 3355 are the remains of an arched opening, largely obscured by dumping, which represents the end of a wheel pit. The remainder of the stucture has been totally lost beneath the dump. Nevertheless a rectangular structure approximately 18m in length is depicted on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25" mapping of 1889.

The leats approach the mine complex from the north-west. Two principal leats exist, the lower one now being cut obliquely by the modern road. They are 1.2m in width and have been cut 0.9m into the natural slope. Both are now truncated by the modern forestry cutting at their south-east end. The upper leat is joined by a third channel flowing north-westwards. It is not clear how this functioned, but it may have collected surface run-off from the steep valley sides and channelled it into the upper leat. Three principal shafts survive at SS 7448 3358, SS 7453 3355 and at SS 7452 3358. A fourth shaft, at SS 7454 3359, has now been destroyed by the later forestry cutting and platform.

Surveyed at 1:2500, March 12th 1993. (1-2)

Copper mine of the 1840s reopened as a gold mine (Britannia Gold Mine) from 1852-4. (3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Dixon D 1983 "Mining and the Community in the parishes of North Molton, South Molton, Molland and Twitchen, Devonshire" Unpub PhD thesis, University of Southampton.
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Wilson-North WR 6-APR-93 RCHME Field Investigation.
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Source Number : 3
Source : English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Industrial Monuments Assessment, Step 3 Reports
Source details : The Minor Metals Industry Vol.2, Devon 4, 1995
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 1840s
Monument End Date : 1849
Monument Start Date : 1840
Monument Type : Mine Shaft, Leat, Wheel Pit, Copper Mine
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Extant 1852-4
Monument End Date : 1854
Monument Start Date : 1852
Monument Type : Gold Mine
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SS 73 SW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 73 SW 16
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31