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HER Number:MDV5167
Name:Redlake Clay works pipeline, Harford and Ugborough parishes


The China Clay Corporation 1911-1932 extracted the clay at Redlake, washed and desanded it and finally pumped the remaining clay suspended in water via a pipeline to the drying beds at Cantrell.


Grid Reference:SX 650 616
Map Sheet:SX66SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishHarford
Civil ParishUgborough
DistrictSouth Hams
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishUGBOROUGH

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: SX66NE/3
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PIPELINE (Early 20th Century - 1911 AD to 1932 AD)

Full description

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 96 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Clay from the Redlake workings was pumped from the pits by a rising main to the 'micas' at Greenhill, about a mile away. There it was allowed to settle for about a week for separation of the mica, following which the sluices were opened, and the clay suspended in water passed through a pipeline to the works at Cantrell, where the water was taken off and the resulting clay dried by baking before being dispatched on the main railway line.

Gaskell Brown, C. + Hankin, C. (eds), 1975, Archaeological Checklist of Ugborough Parish, page 50-51/215 (IDOX) checklist (Un-published). SDV340715.

China Clay works pipeline, SX650657 - 656570.
The China Clay Corporation 1911-1932 extracted the clay at Redlake, washed and desanded it and finally pumped the remaining fluid to a pipeline whence it fell by gravity to the drying beds at Cantrell. Some of the pipeline passes through Ugborough parish at Quickbeam Hill but moves west into Harford and does not re-join Ugborough until it reaches the southern slope of Western Beacon and on to Cantrell.
The pipe was earthenware, 23 centimetres in diameter and laid beneath the surface except where the natural fall of the ground took it across streams or gullies. At these points, e.g. Stony Bottom (Hook Lake) and Drylake, the pipe was taken over on a concrete conduit. At intervals of several hundred metres there were brick-built vents with cast iron covers, many of which remain intact. The ground over the pipeline appears to have been carefully replaced. The fall is about 230 metres in 8 miles.
The pipe laying contract appears to have run into labour and other difficulties, and in part had to be re-laid. Signs of a second channel having been cut appear on Harford Moor.
Exposed sections of the pipe on Sharpitor show that the earthenware pipes were 23 centimetres in diameter, with a rim of 2.5 centimetres thickness. Each pipe was 0.7 metres long and when turned into the next unit gave an effective length of 0.6 metres. The line is double, the two sets running closely alongside one another. Piping made by Candy and Company of Newton Abbot.

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

Parts of the pipeline incorrectly identified from aerial photographs as leats.

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

Route of the pipeline can be traced on the aerial photographs.

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

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

A buried ceramic pipeline, which transported liquid china clay between the Redlake clay pit and Greenhill clayworks, and also to the Bittaford drying sheds. This included a return pipe which runs on a similar route to the railway, between the works and the clay pit, where sections of the pipe are visible in places beside the trackbed. The most significant part of this network is the twin pipes that transported the almost finished clay from the Greenhill works (MDV5159) to the drying sheds at Bittaford over a distance of 12.7 kilometres. These pipes can be traced from just below the six-chambered settling tanks at Greenhill works, heading south, parallel with the east side of the railway. Although sunken into the ground, the pipeline or its linear earthwork are visible over most of its route following the approximate contours, but descending slightly as it does so. After crossing the railway on Quickbeam Hill, it stays on the west side for the remainder of its journey. Clay from Leftlake, joined the main pipe via an underground feeder which exited the settling pits (MDV27892) on the west side. Within the Erme valley survey area (May 2018), three examples of engineering were necessary to elevate the pipes across gullies of old tinworks, which in all three cases was solved by constructing shuttered concrete aqueducts with multiple arches. The longest of the three is 40 metres across the head of the Hook Lake tin streamworks. Service manholes were installed at intervals along the pipeline, 80 in total over the 12.7 kilometres, according to H. E. Wade, all of which survive in some form within the survey area. Each had a brick lined shaft, topped by a manhole cover and a vertical iron breather pipe.

Riley, H., 2021, UG21 heritage asset database and gazetteer of sites (Report - Survey). SDV364699.

Part of a pipeline, transporting clay from Redlake, lies within the project area.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 96.
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.
SDV340715Un-published: Gaskell Brown, C. + Hankin, C. (eds). 1975. Archaeological Checklist of Ugborough Parish. Parish Checklist. A4 Stapled. page 50-51/215 (IDOX) checklist.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour aerial photography for Dartmoor (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV361913Cartographic: Newman, P.. 2018. Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet). GIS ShapeFile. Digital. [Mapped features: #94062 ; #118980 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV107445Part of: Redlake China Clay works, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV3066Related to: Blackwood Path from Wrangaton Moor Gate to Hook Lake and Erme Pound, Ugborough Moor (Monument)
MDV2988Related to: Butterdon Hill Stone Row, Harford (Monument)
MDV132368Related to: Cairn in the Butterdon Hill to Piles Hill stone row, Harford (Monument)
MDV3073Related to: Cantrell China Clay Works (Monument)
MDV5159Related to: China clay settling tanks west of Western Whitebarrow, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV27897Related to: Clay working spoil heap at Left Lake clay works, Harford (Monument)
MDV5169Related to: Deserted buildings 1.2 kilometres south-east of Red Lake, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV114612Related to: Foundations of a shelter on Piles Hill (Monument)
MDV132362Related to: Fragmentary field system north-east of Addicombe, Harford (Monument)
MDV4234Related to: Left Lake China clay works, Harford and Ugborough Parishes (Monument)
MDV25322Related to: Possible cairn on Harford Moor (Monument)
MDV25679Related to: Possible vermin trap or part of clay pipeline, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV3084Related to: Quarry at Cantrell, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV122889Related to: Redlake Cottage, Ugborough (Building)
MDV5662Related to: Stone alignment on Piles Hill, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV123441Related to: Trial pit near Crossways, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV123442Related to: Trial pit on Quickbeam Hill, Ugborough (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8770 - Archaeological Survey: Ugborough Premier Archaeological Lanscape, Harford and Ugborough
  • EDV8817 - Geophysical survey of Piles Hill Stone Row and cairns, Ugborough (Ref: 2111-PIL-R-1)

Date Last Edited:Sep 11 2023 3:21PM