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HER Number:MDV4826
Name:Meldon Lime Works

Summary

The site consists of the remains of five quarries, two limekilns, associated buildings, spoil heaps and tramroads. This site is included in the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites. Limestone working took place here from the 18th century until the late 19th century. From 1883, new industrial activity at the site consisted of granulite (aplite) quarrying. Ownership of the quarry passed to British Rail in the early 20th century, who operated the quarry until 1994 and it was worked from then onwards by aggregate companies, with production and employees decreased before ending in 2011.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 563 921
Map Sheet:SX59SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Meldon Lime Works and Quarry; late 18th century limestone working plant with the remains of five quarries, two limekilns, associated buildings, spoil heaps and tramroads

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1103521
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SE/20
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LIMESTONE QUARRY (XVII to XX - 1700 AD to 1969 AD? (Between))

Full description

Vancouver, C., 1808, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Devon, 65 (Monograph). SDV294343.

A large body of limestone is found in the hamlet of Maldon, and near the south end of Okehampton park; a large quantity of this stone has been formerly used, but not withstanding the lime is said to have been much valued, the works at this time (1808) appear totally abandoned.


Worth, R. N., 1875, The Economic Geology of Devon, 213 (Article in Serial). SDV256360.

Lime was quarried at Meldon in late 19th century for agricultural use.


Appleton, E., 1875, The Economic Geology of Devon, 238 (Article in Serial). SDV217610.


Beer, P., 1972, 16th report of the Geological Section, 205 (Article in Serial). SDV60681.

Meldon Pool. Limestone had been worked in the now flooded quarry and burnt for lime.


Greeves, T. A. P., 1978, Archaeological Sites within Okehampton Park and its Vicinity (Monograph). SDV346226.

Other details: No E9.


Griffiths, D. M., 1982, Spoil heaps around Meldon Pool (Worksheet). SDV217604.

Numerous spoil heaps north and east of Meldon Pool. Also traces of ruined buildings, at SX56449224, and SX56469215. There are also two kilns, one on each bank of the river (this source author is thought to be Griffiths, D. M., rather than Griffith, F. M., although the Sites and Monuments Record detail only specifies 'Griffiths' and the date).


Born, A., 1991, Limestone, limekilns and the lime burning industry north and west of Dartmoor, 224 (Article in Serial). SDV336835.

There are two kilns at Meldon, the oldest (east bank of the West Okement River) probably dates to the 18th century and has been restored by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.


Bowman, A., 1993, List of Quarries (Un-published). SDV336564.

Okehampton Lime and Cement Quarries Company Limited was formed in 1880.


Fletcher, M. + Newman, P. + Probert, S., 1997, The Meldon Industrial Landscape, Okehampton, Devon. An Archaeological Survey, 2-14 (Report - Survey). SDV346364.

Several distinct phases in the development of the limestone industry in the West Okement Valley. Initial workings appear to have been on the east side of the river, and comprised two or three small quarries, two of which probably supplied the kiln to the north, itself built into the side of the third, probably earlier quarry. Remains of these quarries are obscured by the waste from later workings, but map evidence suggests they went out of use by 1839 when quarrying transferred to the western side of the river.
The workings on the west of the river are impressive and extensive; the waste was removed by truck running on temporary rails and dumped in well-defined linear heaps both on the west side of the river and within the abandoned quarries to the east. The remains of these finger dumps are well-defined embankments up to 0.3 metres high with flat tops about 1 to 1.5 metres wide. The late 19th century historic map shows the first detailed depiction of these earthworks, which at busy times must have been changing form almost on a daily basis. By this time dumping had taken place along some 500 metres of the west bank of the river, extending for considerable lengths both north and south of the quarry.
A large amount of spoil had also been transferred across the river to an area immediately north of the current footbridge by 1885. A ford may have been utilised, but a bridge is more likely; the probable site of which is depicted on the 1885 map as 'foot bridge'.
Quarry was expanded between 1885 and 1905 but the waste dumps have not increased; the maps show a net loss of material; the only cartographic changes are the extension of a spoil heap supporting a tramway from the southern east side quarry parallel to the river and terminating adjacent to the gate at the northern edge of the site plus the removal of the spoil heap between the working quarry and the river. The latter was preceded by the remodelling of the western river bank entailing the construction of a massive retaining wall on the river's edge. It extended for a distance of 240 metres, to the southernmost limit of the site, though only 60 metres survives in place toady at the northern end. The wall provided additional space between the river and quarry (and also prevented spoil encroaching into the river at the southern end).

Detailed history and description of the lime working that took place at the site.
Map object based on this source.


Chitty, G., 2001, Lime. Cement and Plaster Industries, Monument Protection Programme, Step 4 Report, Site 10 (Article in Serial). SDV362968.

New scheduling recommended.


Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

This site was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument during the Monument Protection Programme. The programme ended before the entire list of sites was successfully scheduled so this is included on a local list of Nationally Important Sites.


Keene, P., 2007, Exploring a Dartmoor Valley. The Meldon Beneath Our Feet, 14- (Monograph). SDV360586.


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

Remains of the quarry workings depicted on the modern mapping. Map object based on this Source.


Fenn, R. D. W. + Yeoman, A. B., 2012, A History of Quarrying at Meldon in the Devonshire Parish of Okehampton: A Very Superior Quarry, 16-176 (Monograph). SDV351362.

Estate map of Okehampton shows a small lime kiln, built against the edge of what appears to be an earlier quarry on the east side of the West Okement River. This may have been the quarry described as being 'totally abandoned' in 1808, but then re-opened by the 1840s and then actively worked until its final closure at the end of the 19th century.
Details of newspaper advertisement from 1863 with invitation to tender for rent (for a period of 21 years) the Lime Quarry, described as very profitable and producing very rare quality material. The advert indicated that the site would soon be connected by rail, although the construction of the viaduct was still required to bridge the West Okement.
Within 20 years the quarry however was in decline and up for sale. Under new ownership the quarry again flourished with extensive limestone quarrying.
See monograph for further detailed description of the use of the site from the late 19th century for quarrying aplite, the construction of the viaduct and later creation of the reservoir. It was owned and worked by British Rail from the early 20th century until 1994 when it was sold on to an aggregate company. Worked through the 1990s, the 2000s saw an uncertain future for the quarry (partly affected by the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease and subsequent economic upheaval). The current owner Aggregate Industries mothballed the quarry in 2011 although it could be worked again in the future.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV217604Worksheet: Griffiths, D. M.. 1982. Spoil heaps around Meldon Pool. Worksheet. Unknown.
SDV217610Article in Serial: Appleton, E.. 1875. The Economic Geology of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 7. Digital. 238.
SDV256360Article in Serial: Worth, R. N.. 1875. The Economic Geology of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 7. Unknown. 213.
SDV294343Monograph: Vancouver, C.. 1808. General View of the Agriculture of the County of Devon. General View of the Agriculture of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 65.
SDV336564Un-published: Bowman, A.. 1993. List of Quarries. Unknown.
SDV336835Article in Serial: Born, A.. 1991. Limestone, limekilns and the lime burning industry north and west of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 123. A5 Paperback. 224.
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV346226Monograph: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1978. Archaeological Sites within Okehampton Park and its Vicinity. Archaeological Sites within Okehampton Park and its Vicinity. Unknown.
SDV346364Report - Survey: Fletcher, M. + Newman, P. + Probert, S.. 1997. The Meldon Industrial Landscape, Okehampton, Devon. An Archaeological Survey. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. A4 Bound. 2-14.
SDV351362Monograph: Fenn, R. D. W. + Yeoman, A. B.. 2012. A History of Quarrying at Meldon in the Devonshire Parish of Okehampton: A Very Superior Quarry. A History of Quarrying at Meldon in the Devonshire Parish of Okehampton: A Very Superior Quarry. Paperback Volume. 16-176.
SDV360586Monograph: Keene, P.. 2007. Exploring a Dartmoor Valley. The Meldon Beneath Our Feet. Exploring a Dartmoor Valley. The Meldon Beneath Our Feet. Paperback Volume. 14-.
SDV362968Article in Serial: Chitty, G.. 2001. Lime. Cement and Plaster Industries, Monument Protection Programme, Step 4 Report. A4 Comb Bound. Site 10.
SDV60681Article in Serial: Beer, P.. 1972. 16th report of the Geological Section. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 104. A5 Paperback. 205.

Associated Monuments

MDV120295Parent of: Building south of lime kiln, Meldon (Building)
MDV120331Parent of: Leat south of the Meldon Viaduct (Monument)
MDV120324Parent of: Leats supplying the water wheels at Meldon Limestone Quarry (Monument)
MDV17702Parent of: Lime Kiln at Meldon Lime Works (Monument)
MDV120296Parent of: Magazine building at Meldon (Building)
MDV120290Parent of: Quarry building at Meldon (Building)
MDV120293Parent of: Quarry building at Meldon (Building)
MDV120291Parent of: Quarry buildings at Meldon (Building)
MDV120294Parent of: Quarry buildings at Meldon (Building)
MDV120302Parent of: Reservoirs at Meldon Lime Works (Monument)
MDV120297Parent of: Southern wheel pit at Meldon Quarry (Monument)
MDV120325Parent of: Tramway routes at Meldon Limestone Quarry (Monument)
MDV4827Related to: Aplite Quarry at Meldon (Monument)
MDV17703Related to: Glass Factory, Meldon Quarry (Monument)
MDV17701Related to: Lime Kiln at Meldon Lime Works (Monument)
MDV120322Related to: Mine shafts east of Meldon Pool (Monument)
MDV120246Related to: Weigh House and weighbridge south of the Meldon Viaduct (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4968 - Survey of Meldon Industrial Landscape
  • EDV3474 - Earthwork survey of Okehampton Castle and Park

Date Last Edited:Apr 16 2019 1:52PM