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HER Number:MDV25040
Name:Large area of tin working north-east of Erme Pits Hill, Dartmoor Forest


Large area of tin working north-east of Erme Pits Hill including many trial pits and openwork


Grid Reference:SX 627 668
Map Sheet:SX66NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NW/104

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRIAL PIT (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, CPE/UK 1890, 4278 (Aerial Photograph). SDV140289.

Photograph taken on 10th December 1946.

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

Massive area of scattered trial pits, apparently without any rigid formation or distribution except for three rows of pits, aligned roughly south-west to north-east between the following points: 1) SX62496702 to SX62826714, 2) SX62656690 to SX62886714 and 3) SX62726689 to SX62906760.

Newman, P., 2018, Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet) (Cartographic). SDV361913.

Large area of activity ahown on survey.

Newman, P., 2018, The Upper Erme Valley, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: An Archaeological Survey, Appendix 1, Figure 35 (Report - Survey). SDV362921.

Ten hectares of tinworks, including openworks, streamwork, shafts and trial pits, on the broad south-facing bullnose of ground formed by the confluence of the River Erme and Blacklane Brook, known as Erme Pits Hill. The escarped edges of the streamworks that follow the course of those two water courses, mark the south-west and south-east limits of these quite separate workings. A substantial 230 metres long openwork transects this area west-south-west to east-north-east and represents the working of a continuation of the Erme Pits lode (see MDV24812). The openwork is up to 20 metres wide and on average 3 metres deep. A series of smaller gullies beyond the eastern end of the openwork and to the north-west represent lesser attempts at exploiting this and other lodes and/or water diversion channels. Immediately south of the openwork 1.2 hectares of dry streamworks, with shallow scarps marking the edge of the working area, extends south down the slope to the confluence. The interior of the working contains linear trenches and banks of waste stone, all aligned north to south. Some of the banks have well-built stone revetments along their length and are among the finest examples of this type to be found within Dartmoor National Park. The openwork and the streamworks were probably supplied by water conveyed to the site via a leat (MDV72977) from Blacklane Brook, stored in a curvilinear earthwork reservoir at SX6280 6690. This comprises a 4.5 metre wide cut in the slope with an embanked lower edge and a sluice opening on the western end. The entire area is pock marked by over 420 tin trial pits and small shafts, but a particularly large linear cluster of 4.5 hectares extends for 525 metres south-west to north -east. The trial pits are on average between 3 metres and 5 metres diameter with a depth between 1 metre and 2 metres. Some of the larger pits with more substantial spoil heaps, such as the 120 metres east to west alignment centred at SX 6256 6698, are more likely to be shallow shafts and represent evidence of limited tin extraction.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV140289Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. CPE/UK 1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4278.
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.
SDV361913Cartographic: Newman, P.. 2018. Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet). GIS ShapeFile. Digital. [Mapped feature: #122464 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV5160Related to: Erme Pits Hill, Blacklane Mire, Middle Mire and Red Lake streamworks (Monument)
MDV126723Related to: Grant's Pot (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley

Date Last Edited:Apr 23 2020 3:24PM