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HER Number:MDV107530
Name:Belsford Mill Weir, Harberton


Weir on the Harbourne River at the head of the leat to Belsford Mill. The mill is now house-converted but the leat is still live and the waterwheel is used to generate electricity.


Grid Reference:SX 764 588
Map Sheet:SX75NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHarberton
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishHARBERTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Leat to Belsford Mill potentially dating to the medieval period

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WEIR (Unknown date)

Full description

Watts, S., 14/08/2014, Belsford Mill Weir (Personal Comment). SDV356981.

While it is perfectly possible that the weir was constructed at the same time as the mill and, therefore, potentially has 12th century origins, it is also possible that the leat has been extended to give a higher head of water at some time in the mill's history and that weir dates from this extension. Field and documentary research would be needed to ascertain this.

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

The leat and mill are depicted on the Tithe Map.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Weir' marked. On River Harbourne at head of 'Mill Leat' to 'Belsford Corn Mill'.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 66 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Bodman quotes an article from the Western Morning News in 2001 in which it states that there has been a mill at Belsford since the 12th century. The mill is now house-converted but the leat is live and the waterwheel is used to generate electricity.

Passmore, A., 2004, Belsford Mill Weir, 5005_01 (Ground Photograph). SDV357271.

Slide of weir showing sluice and walls.

Exeter Archaeology, 2005, An Archaeological Survey of Weirs in the River Dart Catchment. Draft Report, Appendix 1: Ex. Arch. No. 1 (Report - Survey). SDV356906.

Belsford Mill Weir. Ex. Arch. No. 1. Environment Agency No. 25. Watercourse: Harbourne River. Historic function: Served a corn mill.
The mill is depicted on the Ordnance Surveyors Draft of 1803-4 and is present on subsequent mapping. It ground corn until 1939 when it closed. It was converted to generate electricity in 1940 and still continues to do so.
Weir at an angle to the river with the leat to Belsford Mill on the left bank. Circa 5 metres long by 3.5 metres wide. It is constructed of a minimum of two courses of local stone laid lengthways across the river and constructed onto bedrock. The upper 2 metres or so has been rebuilt in stone bedded in concrete with concrete facing on the upstream side. This rebuild is of 20th century date. The left bank is formed by a drystone wall, the upper courses of which have been rebuilt comparatively recently. The sluice is a modern metal plate within a wooden frame set into the stone wall. The south bank of the leat is formed by a gravel and earth bank with repairs in hazel fencing and stone, the latter also used in an overflow sluice at SX76825884.
Both weir and leat are maintained in working condition, with limited maintenance needed to the weir itself. Soft engineering methods are generally applied to the leat and river bank using locally derived sources, such as leat bed gravels.
No issues or recommendations.

Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Weir depicted.

Passmore, A., 30/09/2004, Belsford Mill Weir (Plan - sketch). SDV357093.

Sketch plan of weir.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 66.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #66965 ]
SDV356906Report - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2005. An Archaeological Survey of Weirs in the River Dart Catchment. Draft Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. Digital. Appendix 1: Ex. Arch. No. 1.
SDV356981Personal Comment: Watts, S.. 14/08/2014. Belsford Mill Weir.
SDV357093Plan - sketch: Passmore, A.. 30/09/2004. Belsford Mill Weir. Exeter Archaeology River Dart Catchment Weirs Survey. Digital.
SDV357271Ground Photograph: Passmore, A.. 2004. Belsford Mill Weir. Exeter Archaeology River Dart Catchment Weirs Survey. Slide + Digital. 5005_01.

Associated Monuments

MDV68755Related to: Belsford Mill Leat, Harberton (Monument)
MDV18307Related to: Belsford Mill, Harberton (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6538 - Archaeological Survey of Weirs in the River Dart Catchment

Date Last Edited:Oct 24 2014 9:03AM