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HER Number:MDV6268
Name:Wheal Emma Leat

Summary

Wheal Emma; dry channel of the mid-19th century leat which took in water from the Swincombe at a weir just east of Whiteworks Mine, crossing the moor to empty into the River Mardle near Chalk Ford. A weir at Higher Combe deflected water into the second part of the leat channel and ran to the Wheal Emma Mine in Brookwood, powering the large wheels for pumps and ore crushing machinery at the sett.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 669 698
Map Sheet:SX66NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Walling remains of a Bronze Age settlements north-west of Fox Tor Farm, as well as medieval or later streamworking, open cuts and tinners' buildings
  • SHINE: Section of the mid-19th century Wheal Emma Leat north-west of Scorriton Down
  • SHINE: Earthworks, structures and below ground remains of the South Devon United Mines, a mid-19th century copper mining enterprise in Brook Wood, as well as part of the Wheal Emma Leat

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67SW188
  • National Monuments Record: SX76NW61
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1431196
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 908802
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/34

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (Constructed, XIX - 1859 AD (Between) to 1859 AD (Between))

Full description

National Monuments Record, NMR SX6768, 1 (Aerial Photograph). SDV172757.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Course of the second section of the leat (from the Mardle to Brookwood) shown on the late 19th century historic map. Map object based on this source.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2149, 3427-3430 (Aerial Photograph). SDV282746.

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 61, 206 (Monograph). SDV149229.

The Wheal Emma leat was cut in 1859, taking water off the River Swincombe at SX623710 and running a sinuous course to join the River Mardle at SX679683, thus augmenting the supply of water serving Wheal Emma copper mine, West Buckfastleigh. The mine worked along with Brookwood as South Devon United Mines throughout the later 19th century.

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

Wheal Emma; dry channel of the leat which took in water from the Swincombe at a weir just east of Whiteworks, contours the hillside eastwards above the valley. Visible and recorded.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

(21/07/1988) Industrial leat. Part examined on Sherberton Farm between SX 6358 7204 and SX 6487 7243 and between SX 6510 7249 and SX 6586 7201.
The section examined follows the 340 metre contour, negotiating Deep Swincombe in a tight, southern loop also along the northern slope of Down Ridge. The leat channel is square-cut, its sides occasionally lined with coursed walling or large, drill spilt blocks. Over difficult ground the lining is not always apparent. The channel is now up to 2.5 metres wide and 0.8 - 1.6 metres deep, predominantly dry but with groundworks accumulated in places. There is a substantial retaining bank of upcast soil and stone on the downslope side, generally 2.5 - 3.5 metres wide and 0.8 - 1.5 metres high, but on the west side of Deep Swincombe the height attains 3.5 metres to accommodate the steep slope. In places it is bridged by drill split blocks of granite.
The course of the leat is shown on the Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 historic maps.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset. (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1991, An Assessment of Copper Mining in Devon (Copper, Brass, Tin), 16+2 /in Tavistock Hamlets parish file. (Report - Assessment). SDV60709.

Well preserved Wheal Emma leat is 16.1 kilometres long.

Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme, Zink, Copper, Minor Metals, Step Three: The Copper Industry, Introduction to Step 3 Assessments, 18 (Report - non-specific). SDV357718.

9. Wheal Emma leat SX 664 716.
Lesser national importance.

Exeter Archaeology, 2005, An Archaeological Survey of Weirs in the River Dart Catchment. Draft Report, Appendix 2: Ex. Arch. No. 39 (Report - Survey). SDV356906.

Newman, P., 2005, Brookwood and Wheal Emma Copper Mines, Buckfastleigh, Devon: An Archaeological Survey (Report - Survey). SDV359199.

(30/04/2005) Wheal Emma Leat, southern section. A leat which provided water to Wheal Emma (SX 76 NW 52), a copper mine operating between 1845 -1885, latterly under the name of South Devon United mines between 1878-1885. The Wheal Emma leat was constructed in 1859 to draw water from the River Swincombe near its source at SX 6227 7097 on the upland of Dartmoor, and divert it over a distance of 15.25km into the River Mardle. (See SX 67 SW 188 for northern section). Having augmented the Mardle a further substantial leat of 3.57km was dug 2.1km downstream providing a leat of sufficient height to power large waterwheels at Wheal Emma.
The leat enters the west end of the Wheal Emma sett (SX 76 NW 52) approximately 38m south of Emma Shaft, and extends around the curving slope of the coombe following the contour. For much of this section the leat has been cut from solid rock, evidence of which survives as a vertical rock scarp on the back, uphill side. The substantial channel is 3.6m and up to 1.6m deep in some places. The spread of the retaining bank on the downslope side is up to 6.3m. Between SX 7144 6743 and SX 7158 6735 the leat was widened after it fell into disuse, to form a vehicle track. Where the leat reaches the quarry at the head of the coombe ( the first waterwheel in the sequence was located in the wheelpit at SX 76 NW 56). A wooden launder would have been required to carry water onto the top of the overshot or pitchback wheel. After passing over the wheel and through the tailrace, the water continued along another section of leat, doubling back on itself and running back along the contour approximately 11m below the upper section. A stone-lined sluice is visible which diverted water on to the second wheel which was the 50ft pumping wheel at SX 76 NW 56). After passing the sluice the leat continues for another 103m before halting abruptly by the track.
Mine surveyed at 1:1000 scale and described in detail.

Levy, S., 2005, Wheal Emma Leat. Archaeological Field Survey Report, 1 (Report - Survey). SDV359768.

Wheal Emma leat is a 14.9 kilometre (9.25 mile) long artificial water channel constructed to extract water from the River Swincombe at its confluence with the Strane River, to the south-east of Whiteworks Tin Mine. The course of the leat passes through the important landscape palimpsest of prehistoric reaves and settlements and later medieval field systems and settlements on Holne Moor. It crosses the Holne-Hexworthy road four times, looping to the south of Venford Reservoir and around the south-east side of Holne Lee before its channel meets the River Mardle below Scorriton Point. At Higher Combe, a weir on the Mardle deflected water into the second part of the leat channel, which carried it to Wheal Emma Mine in Brookwood. The water provided by the leat powered the large wheels for the pumps and the ore crushing machinery at the mine sett.
Survey of the entire length of the leat recorded condition and areas of damage etc.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

The course of the leat is depicted on the modern mapping (as a dry leat channel). Map object based on this source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 61, 206.
SDV172757Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. NMR SX6768. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. 1.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital.
SDV282746Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2149. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3427-3430.
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.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV350839Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1987-1993. Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown.
SDV356906Report - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2005. An Archaeological Survey of Weirs in the River Dart Catchment. Draft Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. Digital. Appendix 2: Ex. Arch. No. 39.
SDV357718Report - non-specific: Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme, Zink, Copper, Minor Metals, Step Three: The Copper Industry, Introduction to Step 3 Assessments. English Heritage. A4 Bound. 18.
SDV359199Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2005. Brookwood and Wheal Emma Copper Mines, Buckfastleigh, Devon: An Archaeological Survey. English Heritage. A1/01/2005. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359768Report - Survey: Levy, S.. 2005. Wheal Emma Leat. Archaeological Field Survey Report. Dartmoor National Park Authority. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 1.
SDV60709Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1991. An Assessment of Copper Mining in Devon (Copper, Brass, Tin). A4 Stapled + Digital. 16+2 /in Tavistock Hamlets parish file..

Associated Monuments

MDV26080Related to: Bank meandering between rocks in prehistoric settlement between the River Swincombe and the Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV126409Related to: Cist within reave system on Holne Moor (Monument)
MDV62237Related to: Clapper bridge across Wheal Emma leat (Monument)
MDV62238Related to: Clapper bridge across Wheal Emma leat (Monument)
MDV62239Related to: Clapper bridge across Wheal Emma leat (Monument)
MDV62236Related to: Clapper bridge across Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV123230Related to: Clearance cairn on Down Ridge (Monument)
MDV64118Related to: Enclosure with hut south-west of Venford Reservoir, Holne (Monument)
MDV64119Related to: Enclosure with huts south-west of the Venford Reservoir Dam, Holne (Monument)
MDV51548Related to: FORD in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV26134Related to: Fragmented prehistoric enclosure 350 metres south-west of Gobbett Tin Mine, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV126300Related to: Hut adjacent to Wheal Emma leat, Holne Moor (Monument)
MDV126301Related to: Hut adjacent to Wheal Emma leat, Holne Moor (Monument)
MDV27268Related to: Hut circle A on Down Ridge (Monument)
MDV26351Related to: Hut circle B on Down Ridge (Monument)
MDV6500Related to: Hut circle in reave system south of Saddle Bridge (Monument)
MDV129725Related to: Hut circle on west side of enclosure south-west of Venford Reservoir Dam (Monument)
MDV76717Related to: Hut circle settlement north of Fox Tor, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV128937Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128938Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128939Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128940Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128941Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128942Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128943Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128944Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128945Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128946Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128947Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128948Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128949Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128950Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128951Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128952Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128953Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128954Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128955Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128956Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV128957Related to: Hut circle within prehistoric setttlement located between the River Swincombe and the Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)
MDV129460Related to: Hut circle within settlement north of Fox Tor Farm, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV129461Related to: Hut circle within settlement north of Fox Tor Farm, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV129462Related to: Hut circle within settlement north of Fox Tor Farm, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV129463Related to: Hut circle within settlement north of Fox Tor Farm, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV129468Related to: Hut circle within settlement north of Fox Tor, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV129469Related to: Hut circle within settlement north of Fox Tor, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV129470Related to: Hut circle within settlement north of Fox Tor, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV126324Related to: Hut in reave system west of Venford Reservoir, Holne Moor (Monument)
MDV129723Related to: Hut on east side of enclosure south-west of Venford Reservoir Dam (Monument)
MDV129724Related to: Hut on east side of enclosure south-west of Venford Reservoir Dam (Monument)
MDV27271Related to: Hut with enclosure south-west of Venford Reservoir, Holne (Monument)
MDV132398Related to: Leat by streamworks south-west of Swincombe Intake Works (Monument)
MDV38013Related to: Mardle Woodhouse and adjoining Mill (Building)
MDV5253Related to: Michelcombe Arrishes Farmstead on Holne Moor, Holne (Monument)
MDV6379Related to: Oval enclosure with two huts south-west of Venford Reservoir Dam, Holne (Monument)
MDV27688Related to: Part of the Dartmeet parallel reave system north of Down Ridge (Monument)
MDV132573Related to: Pit adjacent to Wheal Emma Leat, Brookwood Mine (Monument)
MDV6293Related to: Settlement 500 meters north-east of Swincombe water intake (Monument)
MDV25568Related to: Settlement 750 metres north of Fox Tor Farm, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV49062Related to: South Devon United Copper Mine, Buckfastleigh (Monument)
MDV26375Related to: Streamworking on the Venford Brook, north and south of Reservoir, Holne (Monument)
MDV25363Related to: The Holne Town Gutter Leat (Monument)
MDV126394Related to: Trial pits in reave system south-west of Saddle Bridge (Monument)
MDV15078Related to: Venford Reave, Holne and Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV102761Related to: Weir 650 metres east of Whiteworks (Monument)
MDV102762Related to: Weir 650 metres east of Whiteworks (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6538 - Archaeological Survey of Weirs in the River Dart Catchment
  • EDV7062 - Survey of the Wheal Emma Leat, Dartmoor
  • EDV7100 - Holne Moor Survey
  • EDV8146 - Royal Commission Survey at Down Ridge and Swincombe
  • EDV8290 - Survey of tinworks along the River Mardle
  • EDV8630 - Fox Tor Newtake Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8632 - Sherberton Farm, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project

Date Last Edited:Mar 29 2022 9:26AM