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HER Number:MDV27089
Name:Prison Leat, Dartmoor Forest

Summary

Prison Leat running from SX574795 (at the River Walkham) to SX584741 near to the prison in Princetown, a distance of 6.5 kilometres. The leat was built between 1806-09 to supply the war prison and soldiers' barracks. It was maintained until the 1990s, when South West Water took over responsibility for the water supply. Surveyed and recorded in the Dartmoor Trust Leats Project.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 575 780
Map Sheet:SX57NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork and walling remains of streamworking and tinners buildings associated with the post-medieval Wheal Prosper Tin Mine on Langstone Moor
  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of post-medieval streamworking associated with Wheal Prosper Tin Mine north-west of Blackabrook Head

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 57 NE 119
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/100
  • Pastscape: 1065830
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD to 1809 AD (Between))

Full description

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

‘Prison Leat’ depicted on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map (approximately 1880s in date).


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 2475 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2149, 3165 (Aerial Photograph). SDV282746.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Prison leat flowing southwards from River Walkham at SX57487951 between Conies Down and Black Dunghill on the east and Cocks Hill, Greena Ball, and Great Mis Tor on the west. Leat runs mainly between 1475 and 1500 feet on the western side of the valley.


Rendell, P., 1994, Which way to Cockerntor?, 3-4 (Article in Serial). SDV220303.

The 'Prison Leat' was built in the 19th century.


Joy, R., 2002, Dartmoor Prison A Complete Illustrated History Volume 2 The Convict Prison 1850-Present Day At Her Majesty's Pleasure, 148-9 (Monograph). SDV359843.

The canal, now called the prison leat, was built from 1806-09 as the water supply to the war prisons and soldiers' barracks. The man responsible for the canal lived in an old hut beside the canal. The leat was maintained to a high standard up until the 1990s, a system which lasted for about 185 years until responsibility for the water supply passed to South West Water.


Stanbrook, E., 2002, Dartmoor's War Prison & Church 1805-1817, 85-86 (Monograph). SDV359848.

A leat was constructed to supply the war prison taken off the River Walkham, which was further supplemented by the Spriddle Lake, about 4 miles north of the prison. The head weir is an interesting feature with elaborate stone work and the straightening of a small stretch of the river. The leat culminated in a reservoir to the west of the prison buidings.


Dartmoor Trust and Dartmoor National Park Authority, 2010, Dartmoor Trust Leats Project 2009-2010 (Report - Survey). SDV347530.

Prison Leat surveyed and recorded between SX574795 - SX584741 (Walkham - Blackabrook). Appears dry at low water levels but flows at higher levels. Understood that head weir is damaged. Interesting reservoir structures at prison end. Public access over most of its length. Hydro potential. Other details: T:\Dartmoor Leats Survey / Q:\MAPDATA\HISTORIC\LeatsProject.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.


Newman , P., 2018, Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation (Report - Survey). SDV361635.

The Prison Leat, now disused, was built to supply water from the Blackabrook to Dartmoor Prison. The dry cutting is lined with granite blocks in places.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2475.
SDV220303Article in Serial: Rendell, P.. 1994. Which way to Cockerntor?. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 7. Unknown. 3-4.
SDV282746Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2149. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3165.
SDV319854Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #85588 ]
SDV347530Report - Survey: Dartmoor Trust and Dartmoor National Park Authority. 2010. Dartmoor Trust Leats Project 2009-2010. Dartmoor Trust. Digital.
SDV359843Monograph: Joy, R.. 2002. Dartmoor Prison A Complete Illustrated History Volume 2 The Convict Prison 1850-Present Day At Her Majesty's Pleasure. Dartmoor Prison A Complete Illustrated History. 2. Hardback Volume. 148-9.
SDV359848Monograph: Stanbrook, E.. 2002. Dartmoor's War Prison & Church 1805-1817. Dartmoor's War Prison & Church 1805-1817. Paperback Volume. 85-86.
SDV361635Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 2018. Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation. Southwest Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV42843Related to: Dartmoor Prison reservoir, Princetown (Monument)
MDV15309Related to: Dartmoor Prison, Princetown (Building)
MDV18410Related to: Foul water prison Leat, Princetown (Monument)
MDV51412Related to: Herne Hole Quarry, Princetown (Monument)
MDV29957Related to: Leat channel west of Conies Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7441 - Condition survey of the archaeological sites of Merrivale Training Area
  • EDV7570 - Condition survey of Merrivale Range training area

Date Last Edited:Jan 24 2019 12:07PM