HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV61839
Name:Open cut at Owlcombe Beam


Open cut measuring over 360 metres long, 9 to 12 metres deep and from 15 to 30 metres wide dug manually, probably in the 17th century (or earlier). The formation was drained by an adit brought up beneath it from the neighbouring stream. Can be seen today as a tree-lined gorge, providing a good example of early mining in Devon.


Grid Reference:SX 766 733
Map Sheet:SX77SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishAshburton
Ecclesiastical ParishASHBURTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77SE/214

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • OPEN CUT (XV to XVII - 1401 AD? to 1699 AD (Between))

Full description

Greeves, T. A. P., 1990, An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking, 25 (Report - Assessment). SDV343684.

Owlacombe Beam. One of most impressive openworks within enclosed land on south-east Dartmoor. Documented in the 17th century, and probably earlier. At risk from woodland management and dumping.

Environment Agency WMS, 1998-2016, LiDAR DTM data JPEG image (1m resolution) (Cartographic). SDV360208.

The current (2016) version of the lidar doesn't fully cover this feature (no coverage for western end of the cutting) but around half of it can be seen.

Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K., 2005, Mines of Devon, 121 (Monograph). SDV282410.

A number of setts totally nearly a mile square have been developed under the name of Owlacombe Mines or, later, Ashburton United. The oldest workings, traditionally dating from the 17th century, lie in a plantation bordering the north-west side of the road from Owlacombe Cross to Sigford Bridge. Here before the introduction of blasting and by manual labour alone a mass on tin-bearing ground was excavated in an open-cutting 1,200 feet long, 30 to 40 feet deep and from 50 to 100 feet wide, the formation being drained by an adit brought up beneath it from the neighbouring stream. Seen today as a tree-lined gorge the site still provides a surprising example of early mining in Devon, despite a recent attempt, fortunately stopped, to fill it in completely.

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

Gorge within plantation can be traced roughly from the aerial photograph. Map object partly based on this source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV282410Monograph: Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K.. 2005. Mines of Devon. Mines of Devon. Paperback Volume. 121.
SDV343684Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1990. An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking. Digital. 25.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV360208Cartographic: Environment Agency WMS. 1998-2016. LiDAR DTM data JPEG image (1m resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. [Mapped feature: #96881 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV8195Related to: Beam Mine, Owlacombe (Monument)
MDV8190Related to: Owlacombe Mine, Ashburton (Monument)
MDV120767Related to: West Beam Mine, Owlacombe (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jan 16 2018 3:10PM