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HER Number:MDV5158
Name:Zeal Tor or Redlake peat tramway, Dartmoor Forest

Summary

Zeal Tor Tramway built for Messrs. Davy and Wilkin of Totnes, 1847-1850, for carrying peat from Redlake Mire to Shipley Bridge. The tramway was constructed from wooden rails bolted to granite blocks, along which the peat was transported in horse-drawn trucks. The business only continued for a few years and ended in 1850.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 663 646
Map Sheet:SX66SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of the early 20th century China Clay works at Redlake Mine and the associated railway, as well as prehistoric remains on Ugborough Moor

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NW/60
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRAMWAY (XIX - 1847 AD to 1872 AD (Between))

Full description

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, pg. 95, 109, 221 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Zeal Tor Tramway built for Messrs. Davy and Wilkin of Totnes, 1847-1850, for carrying peat from Redlake Mire to Shipley Bridge. The tramway was constructed from wooden rails bolted to granite blocks, along which the peat was transported in horse-drawn trucks. The business only continued for a few years and ended in 1850.
The men who worked in the peat-cutting at Redlake used to stay out there during the week and they built a house of sorts on Western White Barrow and lived largely on rabbits poached from nearby Huntingdon Warren.
Much of the route of the old tramway can be seen. The lower part of it was later, in 1872, used by the Brent Moor Clay Company, as also was the building at Shipley, now abandoned.
The wooden rails and granite blocks have disappeared. The track line, clean turf not overgrown, is clearly defined. From 'the crossways' in the north the track keeps to the west of Western Whitebarrow and continues down the south side of the hill in a south-easterly direction to the Brent parish boundary.

Minchinton, W. E., 1976, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 27 (Monograph). SDV7016.

Zeal Tor or Redlake Peat Tramway. This tramway has wooden rails bolted to granite blocks and was built in 1847 to carry peat from the Redlake beds on the open moor to the naphtha works at Shipley Bridge. It closed but was later used for a time (in 1872) by the Brent Moor Clay Company. The track can be followed over the moor and some of the blocks of granite containing the holes where the rails were attached may be seen.

Thomas, D. St. J., 1981, A Regional History of Railways of Great Britain, 91 (Monograph). SDV168.

Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Route of the disused tramway is depicted on the modern mapping.

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

Feature shown on survey.

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

The track bed of the Zeal Tor Tramway, runs from Crossways at the head of Redlake Mire to Shipley Bridge, of which the section of track north of Western Whitebarrow, including the northern terminus lies within the survey area. It was constructed by Davey and Wilkin in about 1848, to transport peat to their naphtha works at Shipley Bridge, but operated for only a few years (Harris 1966; Wade 1985). The slightly sunken trackbed is between 4 metres and 5 metres wide. Just south of Crossways, the spoil heap of a large excavation associated with later clayworks has covered the track and at Crossways itself, the Redlake tramway of 1912 (MDV3138), has transected it at right angle. From this point, the track continues for another 270 metres before fading into Redlake Mire.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. pg. 95, 109, 221.
SDV168Monograph: Thomas, D. St. J.. 1981. A Regional History of Railways of Great Britain. A Regional History of Railways of Great Britain. 1. Unknown. 91.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV361913Cartographic: Newman, P.. 2018. Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet). GIS ShapeFile. Digital. [Mapped feature: #94046 ]
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1976. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 27.

Associated Monuments

MDV5169Related to: Deserted buildings 1.2 kilometres south-east of Red Lake, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV123121Related to: Distance stone north of Petre's Pit (Monument)
MDV123120Related to: Distance stone on the Zeal Tor Tramway (Monument)
MDV5077Related to: Junction of the Abbot's Way and Zeal Tor Tramway (Monument)
MDV24741Related to: Quarry at Crossways, north of Quickbeam Hill, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV28057Related to: Ruined building at Western Whitebarrow (Building)
MDV3138Related to: The Redlake China Clay Railway, Harford & Dratmoor Forest Parishes (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley

Date Last Edited:Apr 28 2020 2:37PM