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HER Number:MDV1799
Name:Hemerdon Mine

Summary

Hemerdon Mine was originally worked for tin in 18th and 19th centuries. Opencast mining started in 1917 for wolfram and black tin and continued intermittently into 1920, and again in the late-1930s and early-1940s. Some traces of 19th century extraction are depicted on the Ordnance Survey 1880s 25inch First Edition map and remain visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s, but the landscape was dominated by earthworks and plant associated with 20th century extraction. Much of this remained identifiable on digital images derived from lidar data captured between 1998 and 2017.
Much of the plant and associated earthworks have been destroyed by the expansion of 21st century extraction.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 570 584
Map Sheet:SX55NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSparkwell
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMPTON ST.MARY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 438403
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX55NE/15

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TIN MINE (XVIII to XXI - 1701 AD to 2009 AD (Between))
  • TUNGSTEN MINE (XVIII to XXI - 1701 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1190, RAF/106G/UK/1190 RP 3250-3251 27-FEB-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363067.

Earthwork pits, mounds and structures are visible. A V-shaped aerial cable earthwork and pylons are clearly visible.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FP 1128-1129 10-DEC-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Earthwork pits, mounds and structures are visible. A V-shaped aerial cable earthwork and pylons are clearly visible.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2105, RAF/CPE/UK/2105 RS 4066-4067 28-MAY-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351151.

Quarry buildings are clearly visible.


Ramsden, J. V., 1952, Notes on the Mines of Devonshire, 96 (Article in Serial). SDV60737.

H10 Hemerdon. Plan R 281. Tin, tungsten; actively mined for tungsten 1943 to 1946. Other details: Fig 1.


Ordnance Survey, 1953-1969, 1953-1969 National Grid OS A edition imperial (Cartographic). SDV352727.

The earthwork pits, mounds and structures visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s closely correspond with those depicted on the 1953-1969 National Grid OS A edition imperial map.


Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 69 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Hemerdon Mine was originally worked for tin in 18th and 19th centuries. Opencast mining started in 1917 and continued intermittently.


Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology, 1979, Hemerdon Survey, 20 (Report - Survey). SDV149230.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX55NE11 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV149228.

Hermdon Mine. (OS 6" 1968). Hemerdon Mine was originally worked for tine in the 18th and 19th centuries and was investigated for Wolfram in 1916. Open cast mining commenced in 1917 for Wolfram and black tin. Work was suspended in 1920 and opened again between 1940-4 when a mill capable of treating 300 tons a day was installed. The extensive workings and plant now stand idle, although there is a possibility that mining may recommence. (Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor 1968, 69, Harris, H.; Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology, August 1979, 20, Edwards, C.)


AMAX, 1982, The Hemerdon Project. Archaeological Sites (Plan - measured). SDV149232.


Timms, S. C., 1982, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV149233.

The extensive workings and plant now stand idle but mining may recommence. Old mine buildings shown on DCC and AMAX plans, some new buildings recently erected.


Devon County Council, 1982, Untitled Source (Plan - measured). SDV337246.


Richardson, P. H. G., 1992, The Mines of Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley after 1913, 134 (Article in Serial). SDV323598.

Worked on large scale 1914-1920 and again 1936-1944. Mostly opencast, material being transported to the mill by aerial ropeway. Ropeway demolished and plant removed 1961. Approval given for mining to recommence in 1986 but nothing heard since.


Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme, Zinc, Copper, Minor Metals Step Three: Vein Minerals, Introduction to Step 3 Site Assessments, 9, 10, 20 (Report - non-specific). SDV357666.

6. Hemerdon Ball Mine SX 573 586.
Definite national importance.
Tungsten; Dressing mills- no modification, Dressing mill- no modification, Incline- no modification, Machine bed- no modification, Open pit- no modification, Ore bin- no modification, Shaft- no modification.


Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme, Zink, Copper, Minor Metals Step Three: Site Assessment- Hemerdon Ball Mine, Number 6, Photo LXXI. 2-4 (Report - non-specific). SDV357786.

Hemerdon Ball Mine (SX 573 586). Prime metal- Tungsten. Description- 20th century tungsten mine, operating in both World Wars and in 1950s. Open pit survives with shaft in base, and extensive concrete and steel-framed dressing mill (state varies from derelict to ruinous; no in situ machinery). Landscape- Within china clay dominated landscape of Southwest Dartmoor. Arch- Potential for detailed survey/building record. Period- 20th century. Assessment- The survival of large tungsten dressing mill is rare, and of some importance. In situ preservation is desirable, but given cost and practical problems, detailed recording before destruction may be a realistic option. Action- Schedule?. Management- Detailed structural recording. Grading- Definite national importance.


Andrew Brown, 1998, Monuments Protection Programme The Non-Ferrous Metals (Tin, Copper, Arsenic and Minor Metals) Industries: Appendix III, Step 4 Report (Report - non-specific). SDV357940.

20th century mine, the dressing mill illustrative of the form for its period but no longer highly representative having been stripped of its machinery.
Concrete and steel-framed dressing mill poses issue of long-tem practicability of conservation. Vulnerable only to demolition and redevelopment, for which existing regime offers appropriate framework for management.


Environment Agency, 1998-2017, LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor, LIDAR SX5758-SX5658 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017 (Cartographic). SDV361470.

Earthwork pits, mounds and structures are visible.


Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 1999-2017, Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs, Next Perspectives APGB Imagery SX5658-SX5758 31-MAY-2016 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363087.

The eastern part of the site, including all structural remains, has been destroyed by modern extraction.


Morriss, R., 2009, Hemerdon Mine, Plympton, Devon: Historic Buildings Assessment, 20-29 (Report - Assessment). SDV348372.

Some tin working took place in the mid-17th century and continued irregularly until the mid 19th century, but few if any structural traces of such workings survive. Wolfram, from which tungsten was derived, was identified in the lode towards the later 19th century, and following the outbreak of the First World War the increase in demand for the mineral led to the mining of wolfram and the opening of a mill in 1918. the mine closed in 1919 or 1920, but reopened following construction of a new mill in 1941. The facility was virtually closed down in 1944, but not completely abandoned. The main complex consists of offices and stores which were in use until recently, and the main milling plant which is in poor and dangerous condition, and is a rare survival of a tungsten mine in the UK. It also retains substantial remains of the First World War wolfram mining complex. Other details: Figure 2, sites 17a-I; plates 13-20.


Bruce, B., 2010, Hemerdon Ball Tungsten and Tin Mine, 14-5 (Article in Serial). SDV344198.

The tungsten deposit at Hemerdon Mine was discovered in 1867 and wolframite was found in 1916. The open cast mine operated between 1917 and 1944 but tungsten prices fell after World War II and the mine was abandoned. AMAX, an American mining company, took over the lease for the mine in 1977 and found that the Hemerdon site had one of the largest tungdsten deposits in the world, outside China which has circa 80% of the world's tungsten. A 1981 planning application to mine tungsten was refused in 1984 but a revised application was granted in 1986 which remains active until 2021. In 2007 Wolf Minerals secured a 40 year lease on the site and are planning a large development with an opencast pit 850 metres by 540 metres by 200 metres deep. The historic tin mines Bottle Hill East and Hemerdeon Consols are both within the development area.


Bruce, B., 2010, Hemerdon Mine (1951), 15 (Article in Serial). SDV344203.

Article that appeared in The Times on 21st April 1951 about re-opening the mine at Hemerdon.


Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149228Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX55NE11. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 69.
SDV149230Report - Survey: Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology. 1979. Hemerdon Survey. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. Unknown. 20.
SDV149232Plan - measured: AMAX. 1982. The Hemerdon Project. Archaeological Sites. Map (Paper).
SDV149233Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 1982.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FP 1128-1129 10-DEC-1946.
SDV323598Article in Serial: Richardson, P. H. G.. 1992. The Mines of Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley after 1913. British Mining. 44. A5 Paperback. 134.
SDV337246Plan - measured: Devon County Council. 1982. Plan.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV344198Article in Serial: Bruce, B.. 2010. Hemerdon Ball Tungsten and Tin Mine. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 38. A4 Folded. 14-5.
SDV344203Article in Serial: Bruce, B.. 2010. Hemerdon Mine (1951). Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 38. A4 Folded. 15.
SDV348372Report - Assessment: Morriss, R.. 2009. Hemerdon Mine, Plympton, Devon: Historic Buildings Assessment. Cotswold Archaeology Report. 09032. A4 Stapled + Digital. 20-29.
SDV351151Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2105. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/2105 RS 4066-4067 28-MAY-1947.
SDV352727Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1953-1969. 1953-1969 National Grid OS A edition imperial. Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV357666Report - non-specific: Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme, Zinc, Copper, Minor Metals Step Three: Vein Minerals, Introduction to Step 3 Site Assessments. English Heritage. A4 Bound. 9, 10, 20.
SDV357786Report - non-specific: Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme, Zink, Copper, Minor Metals Step Three: Site Assessment- Hemerdon Ball Mine. English Heritage. A4 Bound. Number 6, Photo LXXI. 2-4.
SDV357940Report - non-specific: Andrew Brown. 1998. Monuments Protection Programme The Non-Ferrous Metals (Tin, Copper, Arsenic and Minor Metals) Industries: Appendix III, Step 4 Report. Monument Protection Programme. A4 Unbound.
SDV361470Cartographic: Environment Agency. 1998-2017. LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SX5758-SX5658 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017.
SDV363067Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1190. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/106G/UK/1190 RP 3250-3251 27-FEB-1946.
SDV363087Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 1999-2017. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Aerial Photography for Great Britain Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives APGB Imagery SX5658-SX5758 31-MAY-2016.
SDV60737Article in Serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 96.

Associated Monuments

MDV1795Related to: Bottle Hill Mine, Sparkwell (Monument)
MDV14141Related to: East Bottle Hill Mine (Monument)
MDV24937Related to: Phillips Leat, Shaugh Prior (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV313 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV6312 - Historic Building Recording at Hemerdon Wolfram Mine Dressing Mill

Date Last Edited:Aug 15 2019 4:30PM