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HER Number:MDV29154
Name:Streamworks east of Challacombe Down


An area of Medieval or later tin streamworks situated within the upper reaches within the West Webburn valley, on the east side of Challacombe Down. An archaeological field survey in 1990 within the area around Challacombe Farm identified tinworking, some of which may have been that documented in 1754, and others dating to the 19th century. The workings have produced an artificially widened and deepened valley floor. Streamworking debris comprising Irregular upcast mounds and linear mounds and channels were also visible.


Grid Reference:SX 694 799
Map Sheet:SX67NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 915166
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NE/180

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STREAMWORKS (Early Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 2013 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Streamwork' shown on aerial photograph transcription - no reference given.

Pattison, P., 1990, Field Investigation, Visit date: 07/03/1990 (Report - Survey). SDV310599.

SX 69497990: Tin streamworking in the upper reaches of the West Webburn valley on the east side of Challacombe Down, extending from SX 68857873 (where the river forks into west and east arms) continuously up the valley and into Headland Warren. For working of the west arm see MDV16846.
Field investigation was limited to the Challacombe Farm area i.e.. north to SX 69458054. The working of alluvial tin along this stretch of the West Webburn is probably of considerable antiquity. Tinworking (but not specifically streamworking) is attested here in a detailed lease of 1754. The removal of tin-bearing ground has cut several metres into the lower hillslopes on both sides of the river (but especially the west) so that there is an artificially widened and deepened flat valley floor with short, steep sides. Streamworking debris survives on the valley floor mainly as irregular upcast mounds and diggings with occasional linear mounds and channels.
In several places, redundant field banks and walls are built across the streamworkings e.g. SX 69497996, SX 69438047, confirming the antiquity of the workings, as are several 19th century tinwork complexes and leats serving them (Monument HOB UID 442497, 915375, 917765, and 917796).
Late 19th century activity is represented by the removal of a large chunk of tin-bearing ground at the foot of Scudley Beam SX 69418018 which may have disturbed a tinworks known to be operating in the mid 19th century.

Agricultural Development Advisory Service, 1991, Challacombe Farm Postbridge, Devon (Duchy Farms Project), 29, Map D1 (Report - Assessment). SDV356546.

The bed of the West Webburn River has been extensively worked for alluvial tin from where the river enters Challacombe farm on the north to where it leaves on the south-west. The streamworking consist of irregular stony spoil heaps, excavations and, occasionally, linear mounds and channels. Between Hamel Down and Challacombe Down the valley has been artificially deepened and widened because the tin-bearing lower slopes have been cut away creating steep scarps several metres high.

English Heritage, 2005, Industrial Survey Information (Report - Survey). SDV346396.

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV310599Report - Survey: Pattison, P.. 1990. Field Investigation. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Digital. Visit date: 07/03/1990.
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.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV346396Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005. Industrial Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital. [Mapped feature: #86405 ]
SDV356546Report - Assessment: Agricultural Development Advisory Service. 1991. Challacombe Farm Postbridge, Devon (Duchy Farms Project). Agricultural Development Advisory Service. A3 Comb Bound. 29, Map D1.

Associated Monuments

MDV26231Related to: Open cut on Hamel Down (Monument)
MDV106846Related to: Streamworks west of Challacombe Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 26 2018 12:20PM