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HER Number:MDV2221
Name:Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway

Summary

Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway from Sutton Harbour to Princetown. Opened in 1823. Used mainly to transport granite. Most of the rails were removed in 1916. Sections still visible and used as a trackway.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 511 625
Map Sheet:SX56SW
Admin AreaPlymouth
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBickleigh (SH)
Civil ParishBuckland Monachorum
Civil ParishPlymouth
DistrictSouth Hams
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishEGG BUCKLAND
Ecclesiastical ParishBICKLEIGH
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKLAND MONACHORUM

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56SW/28

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRAMWAY (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

National Monuments Record, SX56SW29 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV340945.

Baxter, B., 1966, Stone Blocks and Iron Rails, 206-7 (Article in Serial). SDV340946.

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 169-174 (Monograph). SDV149229.

The line opened on 26 September 1823, although at that time the upper end only reached as far as King Tor, in the vicinity of the granite quarries. The final section to Princetown subsequently completed. The total length of the single track line was 25.5 miles with a high degree of winding and looping due to the terrain. The railway was not the success it was hoped. Little was carried on it other than granite and by 1840 traffic had dwindled considerably. The section above Yelverton was sold, reconstructed to standard guage and reopened as the Princetown Railway in 1883. Occasional traffic was carried on the lower section until about 1900 but in 1916 most of the rails, except those taken over by the Lee Moor Tramway, were removed.

Kendall, H. G., 1968, The Plymouth and Dartmough Railway and its Forerunners (Monograph). SDV340944.

Minchinton, W. E., 1976, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 27 (Monograph). SDV7016.

The Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway. Built for Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt by William Hughes and Roger Hopkins, the tramway ran between Sutton Harbour and Princetown. Opened in 1823, it was used for the transport of granite to Plymouth and raw materials and general supplies for Princetown.

Timms, S. C., 1982, Tramway (Worksheet). SDV340942.

Damage to tramway by heavy lorries reported. Lorries have gained access to tramway off Blackeven Lane (SX510614) to transport spoil for tipping at Darklake Farm (SX513613). Material has been tipped onto tramway bed, obscuring some granite sleepers.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Part of tramway is visible on Royal Air Force aerial photographs (106G/UK 1190/3196,3192-4,3192 (24/2/1946).

Gray, V., 1985 - 1986, Tramway/Railway (Worksheet). SDV340943.

Horsedrawn tramway. Route of track can be traced for almost its entire length through Bickleigh parish. Section near Darklake Farm has a number of stone sleepers in situ. Embankment to south of Farm collapsing. Four milestones in situ.

Gray, V., 1986, Untitled Source, 19 (Monograph). SDV340854.

Other details: No 96.

Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1989, An Archaeological Assessment of the South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston), 9 (Report - Assessment). SDV138026.

Reed, S. J., 1991, Archaeological Recording on the SWW South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston), 2 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV163500.

The line is visible as a 2.5-3 metre wide flat strip running parallel with SWW pipeline. Its route through earthen hedgebanks still visible where gaps have been repaired by drystone walling. Soil stripping at SX508631 revealed 6 granite sleepers 0.4 metres long by 0.43 metres wide by 0.15 metres deep. Several pieces of ironwork recovered.

Exeter Archaeology, 2001, Archaeological Assessment of Bickleigh Barracks to Woolwell Sewer Diversion, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV340839.

Horsedrawn tramway now used as a trackway. Built on an embankment flatked by drystone walls now covered with vegetation. Sections of the tramway were exposed near Roborough Reservoir in 1991. The remains consisted of granite sleepts each contining two holes by which the chairs supporting the track were fixed with spikes. Pices of iron work recovered included cast-iron fish-belly rail and one chair.

Knight, S., 2010, Darklake, South Hams Forestry Site Visit (Personal Comment). SDV345950.

Tramway in parts, is in good condition. Notable that gateposts at NGR 250146,61319 has two holes resembling the holes on granite sleepers.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV138026Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1989. An Archaeological Assessment of the South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston). Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 89.15. A4 Stapled + Digital. 9.
SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 169-174.
SDV163500Report - Watching Brief: Reed, S. J.. 1991. Archaeological Recording on the SWW South Devon Spine Main (Roborough to Littlehempston). Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 91.36. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV340839Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2001. Archaeological Assessment of Bickleigh Barracks to Woolwell Sewer Diversion. Exeter Archaeology Report. 02.03. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV340854Monograph: Gray, V.. 1986. An Archaeological Checklist for Bickleigh Parish, near Plymouth. A4 Stapled. 19.
SDV340942Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1982. Tramway. Worksheet.
SDV340943Worksheet: Gray, V.. 1985 - 1986. Tramway/Railway. Worksheet.
SDV340944Monograph: Kendall, H. G.. 1968. The Plymouth and Dartmough Railway and its Forerunners. The Plymouth and Dartmough Railway and its Forerunners. Paperback Volume.
SDV340945National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. SX56SW29. National Monuments Record Index. Unknown.
SDV340946Article in Serial: Baxter, B.. 1966. Stone Blocks and Iron Rails. Tramroads. Unknown. 206-7.
SDV345950Personal Comment: Knight, S.. 2010. Darklake, South Hams Forestry Site Visit. Not Applicable.
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1976. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 27.

Associated Monuments

MDV28753Related to: Milestone on Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway (Monument)
MDV28751Related to: Milestone on Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway (Monument)
MDV28752Related to: Milestone on Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway (Monument)
MDV28754Related to: Milestone on Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway, (Monument)
MDV2353Related to: The Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway (Dartmoor section) (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4400 - Assessment of Bickleigh Barracks to Woolwell Sewer Diversion

Date Last Edited:Jan 29 2020 3:22PM