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HER Number:MDV105701
Name:Trial pits on Roborough Down, Buckland Mononchorum


A line of tin working pits running east-west over Roborough Common from Clearbrook. At least two of these pits will be built over when the new section of cycle path is completed in this area in 2014.


Grid Reference:SX 523 655
Map Sheet:SX56NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBuckland Monachorum
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKLAND MONACHORUM

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of a line of tin working pits running east-west over Roborough Common from Clearbrook

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRIAL PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Marchand, J., 2013, Tin working pits on Roborough Down, Clearbrook (Worksheet). SDV355512.

SX524654 A line of tin working pits which run east-west over Roborough Common from Clearbrook. The area is shortly to become an upgraded section of the National Cycle network and a ramp will be built over 2/3 of the pits.
A condition of the planning permission for this was that the entire feature would be recorded and a watching brief carried out whilst the ramp is being constructed. Survey will take place January 2014.

Brown, A. + Newman, P., 2014, Clearbrook Ramp, Clearbrook, Buckland Monachorum, Devon (Report - Watching Brief). SDV357637.

The remains comprise a roughly west-east aligned group of pits, associated with tin prospecting and extraction, extending for 86 metres between SX5236 6550 and SX5245 6552. They lie on a moderate gradient, with a difference in height from top (west) to bottom (east) of around 6 metres. To the south of the pits there is evidence of other surface disturbance caused by probable mineral working and at the eastern extremity of the pits a feature identified as an old hedge line aligned north-south was noted (this later was identified as an old cable trench).
The pits are circular or elliptical in plan and there are 11 in the cluster. At least 4 are likely to be prospecting/trial or 'shoad' pits, measuring between 3.2 - 4.7 metres in diameter, with small spoil heaps. These are mostly at the higher, western end of cluster.
Larger pits in the centre of the cluster probably represent an attempt to work the back of the tin outcrop, beyond the prospecting stage. Three of these combine to form conjoined hollows up to 1.4 metres deep and are the result of the most intense working. They have substantial spoil heaps on the north, south and eastern sides of the cluster.
Two of the pits were affected by the groundworks for the track. During the survey and watching brief on the tinner's pits, the spoil heap of one pit was partially removed (no finds) and recorded and a buried pit associated with a recorded spoil heap was excavated. It had been backfilled during the 20th century.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV355512Worksheet: Marchand, J.. 2013. Tin working pits on Roborough Down, Clearbrook. Worksheet. Digital.
SDV357637Report - Watching Brief: Brown, A. + Newman, P.. 2014. Clearbrook Ramp, Clearbrook, Buckland Monachorum, Devon. AC Archaeology. ACD828/2/0. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. [Mapped feature: #65133 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV42838Related to: Remains of a tin mill on Roborough Down (Monument)
MDV28254Related to: Trial pits on Roborough Down, Buckland Monochorum (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6645 - Topographic survey and a watching brief at the Clearbrook Ramp (Ref: ACD828/2/0)

Date Last Edited:Apr 24 2017 10:37AM