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HER Number:MDV4827
Name:Aplite Quarry at Meldon

Summary

Meldon aplite (fine-grained, calcareous granite) quarry in use from the late 19th century probably up until the 1970s. The workings consist of two large quarries, several processing areas and associated structures. This site is included in the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 566 919
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

  • Dartmoor Non-designated Heritage Asset (Historical): NI Sites
  • National Monuments Record: 1103548
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SE/21

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GRANITE QUARRY (XIX to Late 20th Century - 1885 AD to 1980 AD (Between))
  • MAGAZINE (Constructed, XIX to Mid 20th Century - 1900 AD to 1950 AD? (Between))

Full description

Wright, 1889, History of the Barony of Okehampton, 236-7 (Monograph). SDV346366.

Wright states that a valuable vein of granulite had 'recently' been discovered and that around 1885 a Mr Charles Green leased the quarry at Meldon and had made arrangements for working the granulite.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

The site is not marked on the 1884-5 First Edition of the Ordnance Survey mapping and only one building and part of an associated structure is depicted on the early 20th century historic map.

Royal Air Force, 1947 - 1948, RAF/CPE/UK/2491, 4355 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346365.

Aerial photograph shows that both the north and south quarries had reached approximately two thirds of their full extents.

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

Meldon. Aplite quarry on the north bank of the Red-a-Ven Brook. Weathered cherts and limestones dipping up to 40 degrees north-west were crossed by several dykes of aplite up to 2.5 meters. Wide dipping at up to 50 degrees south-east. The aplite contained thin pegmatitic veins from which altered petalite, lepidolite, pink and green tourmaline, apatite and fluorite were collected.

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

A number of ruined buildings associated with the quarry can be seen.

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

A group of small quarry pits is visible at the base of north slope of Langstone Hill (Longstone Hill?). Other details: No aerial photograph reference for this remains.

Fletcher, M. + Newman, P. + Probert, S., 1997, The Meldon Industrial Landscape, Okehampton, Devon. An Archaeological Survey, 14-17, Figs 10-13 (Report - Survey). SDV346364.

Abandoned quarry for aplite, or granulite (which is rich in minerals and has uses in enamelling, glass manufacture, stoneware, abrasives and as road metalling) which from its initial establishment in the late part of the 19th century was probably intended to supply a local glass industry. The remains of the early aplite industry here are integrally linked with the limestone quarries, sharing many operations. There are no published sources to suggest that there was a local manufacturing industry associated with these workings. In the 1920s, extraction at the site increased substantially.
As well as the two quarries, which remain mostly as they were when abandoned, the site includes remains of the whole sphere of operations originally in use here, including a detonator store, waste dumps, crushing sites, a leat to provide water to the southern quarry and remains of the main site buildings; weigh house, workshop and powerhouse. Possible office accommodation also remains, as well as a water turbine to provide power to the site.
There are two later aplite quarries; one on each side of the Red-a-ven, exploiting the same aplite dyke which intrudes into the granitic host rock in an approximately north-south line. This increase in activity can’t be accurately dated by may be post First World War in date, linked to an increased interest in the glass industry. The northern is allegedly the earlier of the two areas. The final date for aplite quarrying here is not known but aerial photograph evidence from the late 1940s shows that the extent of the worked areas had reached around two thirds of the full extent they would achieve. Photos from 1976 show the site as it is today.
A stone-built, concrete-roofed magazine lies on a slight shelf immediately to the north of the largest quarry and a small safe-like structure with an iron door is stated 20 metres to the west. The latter appears to have been a detonator store. (Exact locations unclear).
Map object based on this Source.

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.

Richards, A. F., 2011, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV217647.

The site is part of a larger Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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, (Monograph). SDV351362.

Ordnance Survey, 2017, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359962.

Modern mapping shows areas of quarrying and remains of a number of buildings on the site, north of the Red-a-ven. Map object based on this Source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV217604Worksheet: Griffiths, D. M.. 1982. Spoil heaps around Meldon Pool. Worksheet. Unknown.
SDV217647Personal Comment: Richards, A. F.. 2011. Digital.
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.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
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. 14-17, Figs 10-13.
SDV346365Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947 - 1948. RAF/CPE/UK/2491. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 4355.
SDV346366Monograph: Wright. 1889. History of the Barony of Okehampton. History of the Barony of Okehampton. Unknown. 236-7.
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,.
SDV359962Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV60681Article in Serial: Beer, P.. 1972. 16th report of the Geological Section. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 104. A5 Paperback. 205.

Associated Monuments

MDV120310Parent of: Industrial building at Meldon Aplite Quarry (Building)
MDV120308Parent of: Weigh House and weighbridge at Meldon Aplite Quarry (Building)
MDV120309Parent of: Workshop at Meldon Aplite Quarry (Building)
MDV17703Related to: Glass Factory, Meldon Quarry (Monument)
MDV27787Related to: Leat from Red-a-ven Brook to Aplite quarry at Meldon (Monument)
MDV4826Related to: Meldon Lime Works (Monument)
MDV15996Related to: Meldon Quarry, Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV120246Related to: Weigh House and weighbridge south of the Meldon Viaduct (Building)
MDV102880Related to: Weir 440 metres south-east of Meldon Viaduct (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4968 - Survey of Meldon Industrial Landscape

Date Last Edited:Apr 6 2020 10:33AM