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HER Number:MDV114181
Name:Chagford town leats


Leat supplying the town approaches from the south and runs east of New Street before branching eastwards towards the mill, as well as supplying the High Street and Mill Street, with a further branch supplying Southcombe and Lower Streets. During the 19th century it was mostly open channels but was paved over in the late 19th century and was later mostly made into a piped main.


Grid Reference:SX 701 873
Map Sheet:SX78NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Remains of a section of Chagford Town Leat, running from south of Nattadon Common northwards to Chagford

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (Post Medieval to XIX - 1540 AD to 1840 AD (Between))

Full description

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

Not depicted on the Tithe Map.

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

Leat is depicted on the late 19th century historic map, running northwards from area south of Nattadon Common into Chagford. Shown running as far as the point at which New Street meets the High Street.

Rice, I., 2002, The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart, 4, 17, 22, 126-129 (Monograph). SDV356605.

By 1880 Chagford had a sophisticated system of leats supplying most parts of the town. The main water supply was originally provided around 1800 in connection with the woollen mill at Moorlands, but was later modified and extended. The supply was obtained from a series of springs on the middle slopes of Nattadon and Meldon Hills and run along the lower slope of Nattadon Common to an open reservoir above Dennis Park. After across the Glebe behind New Street to Long Park and Turnlake, a branch split off and ran under New Street, into Hore Hill field and connected to the main channel that supplied the mill.
The main supply from Turnlake continues behind the cottages at the end of New Street (which were periodically flooded) and carried by a culvert under the lane at the foot of Nattadon Hill. A further junction here at Cross Tree saw a branch head westwards to serve the Square and Mill Street, while the main leat fell sharply along the southern boundary of the churchyard and split again below the church; a further branch connected with the head of Southcombe street at Mr Hill's forge, then flowed down the side of the road in a deep gulley. This gulley originally extended the whole length of Southcombe and Lower Streets and continued onto Cross Park and Murleigh, flowing back into the River Teign. The deep open channel was hazardous and was soon covered over and/or piped. The branches were gradually replaced with water mains, and branch mains connecting individual properties
View of the Upper Square dating to around 1860 shows the Mill Street branch of the town leat prominent as an open channel; this was paved over as a culvert (later made into a piped main) during the reconstruction of the Upper Square and Market House in 1861-2.
Photograph from 1885 of the High Street shows the open channel of the town leat in the shadows of the foot of the churchyard wall. The slab bridge over this giving access to the south-west gate of the churchyard can also be made out. At this date the channel down Mill Street was also still open, while the leat flowed beneath Upper Square in a simple granite-slab culvert.
Image of the church from 1911 shows the archway in the churchyard wall which originally formed part of the access to the 'flushing tank' for the town water-supply leat which ran along the wall - originally it was an open channel, but culverted beneath the pavement at this time.

Butler, C., 2016, Bellacouche Fields, Chagford: Written Scheme of Investigation for an Archaeological Evaluation (Report - non-specific). SDV360293.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

Leat supplying the town originates south of Nattadon Common and flows northwards, approaching the town to the east of New Street. Beyond this point the modern mapping doesn't show the course of the leat, which was piped over in the late 19th/early 20th century.

Sources / Further Reading

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.
SDV356605Monograph: Rice, I.. 2002. The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart. The Book of Chagford. Hardback Volume. 4, 17, 22, 126-129.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #73515 ]
SDV360293Report - non-specific: Butler, C.. 2016. Bellacouche Fields, Chagford: Written Scheme of Investigation for an Archaeological Evaluation. CgMs Consulting Report. CB/17901. A4 Spiral Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV33162Related to: 10 High St and 1 New St, Chagford (Building)
MDV33183Related to: 2 New St, Ceylon House, Chagford (Building)
MDV33143Related to: 3 Moorcroft Cottage and shop, Mill Street, Chagford (Building)
MDV33179Related to: 6 New Street, Chagford (Building)
MDV114224Related to: Chagford reservoir, Dennis Park (Monument)
MDV33266Related to: Claremont Guest House, Chagford (Building)
MDV114220Related to: Dennis Park, Chagford (Building)
MDV114113Related to: Junior School, Chagford (Building)
MDV114129Related to: Lloyds Bank, Chagford (Building)
MDV114122Related to: Methodist Chapel, Mill Street, Chagford (Building)
MDV33267Related to: Millbrook, Mill Street, Chagford (Building)
MDV8232Related to: St Michael's Church, Chagford (Building)
MDV8238Related to: St. John's Well (Monument)
MDV114123Related to: The Chagford Inn, Mill Street (Building)
MDV8271Related to: The Market House, Chagford (Building)
MDV114124Related to: The Royal Oak, The Square, Chagford (Building)
MDV114132Related to: The 'Shambles', The Square, Chagford (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6158 - Tinworking in Bellacouche Fields, Chagford: An archaeological earthwork survey and assessment of significance

Date Last Edited:Aug 4 2017 2:58PM