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:MDV72860
Name:Wheelpit at Tavistock Canal Incline, Gulworthy


Early 19th century wheel pit and associated structures (including winding house) at the western end of Tavistock Canal and the northern end of the canal incline


Grid Reference:SX 444 700
Map Sheet:SX47SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WHEEL PIT (Built, XIX - 1816 AD to 1818 AD (Between))
  • WINDER HOUSE (Built, XIX - 1816 AD to 1818 AD (Between))

Full description

Hedges, C., 1975, The Tavistock Canal. A Short History (Monograph). SDV361772.

Cox, J. + Thorp, J. R. L., 1992, Canal Cottage, Morwellham, 50 (Report - Survey). SDV336711.

Just over 10 metres south-west of Canal Cottage the ground drops directly into the wheelpit which powered the inclined plane. The other three sides are enclosed by stone rubble walls. A long narrow roofless structure built down the hillslope on a rough north to south axis, closer to that of the incline plane than that of cottage and canal. The taller, north, wall is however on the cottage axis and extends north-east towards the house. It must once have formed the rear wall of the machine house at the top of the plane. The pit structure measures approximately 12 metres by 5.5 metres whereas the pit is approximately 10.5 metres by 3.3 metres. Caverns (not examined) cut into the stone each side of the pit may have been the site of gearing system transferring power to drums in the machine shed. The north end wall includes an arch through which water could be channelled to power the wheel.

Buck, C., 2005, Wheal Russell Mine, Devon: Archaeological Assessment, 48, Fig. 9 (Report - Assessment). SDV336659.

Water wheel pit (Site 63) built by 1817 in a timber covered area to the west of the house at the western end of the tavistock Canal and the northern end of the canal incline. The winding and winch mechanisms were located on the eastern side of the wheel pit. The site of the wheel pit is owned by the Morwellham Trust although the rest of the garden is privately owned. The tail race (Site 63.1) at SX4440370043 went in a southerly direction to supply other water wheels to the west. The survey in 2005 found the north wall of the wheel pit remaining with a roughly circular earthwork platform to the west which was probably a horse-engine plat for the construction and servicing of the wheel. The rock-cut tailrace tunnel 0.8 metres wide by 1.2 metres high was 2.6 metres below the track. The leat went under the railway incline to form the Bedford Leat. Several other leats were associated with this feature.

Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2017, South Cornwall Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment, 1006 (Interpretation). SDV360825.

The remnants of a wheel pit in Morwell Wood survive (Buck 2006, Site 63). The feature was recorded on the first and second edition 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps and was fed by a leat via a stone-lined and arched tunnel which ran around the back of canal cottage which Buck noted as extant.

Waterhouse, R., 2017, The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology, 330, 439-452, figs 12.21-12.23, 12.25-12.30 (Monograph). SDV361789.

Massive rock-cut pit for a waterwheel turned by canal water, which provided the power for the winding machinery of the inclined plane.
Detailed description of the water engine and its haulage machinery, which was described in detail by the Prussian engineers (see report). Section drawings and plans of the site and features included, as well as reconstruction drawings based on survey and excavation work carried out by Waterhouse. See report for full details.

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Wheelpit shown, although not marked as such.

Waterhouse, R., Unknown, Morwellham Incline (Plan - measured). SDV355818.

Plan of incline head, plus drawings of winding gear, and water engine and driveshaft arrangement.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336659Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2005. Wheal Russell Mine, Devon: Archaeological Assessment. Cornwall County Council Report. 2006R0004. A4 Stapled + Digital. 48, Fig. 9.
SDV336711Report - Survey: Cox, J. + Thorp, J. R. L.. 1992. Canal Cottage, Morwellham. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K401. A4 Stapled + Digital. 50.
SDV355818Plan - measured: Waterhouse, R.. Unknown. Morwellham Incline. Digital.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #111204 ]
SDV360825Interpretation: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2017. South Cornwall Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. RCZAS. Digital. 1006.
SDV361772Monograph: Hedges, C.. 1975. The Tavistock Canal. A Short History. The Tavistock Canal. A5 Paperback.
SDV361789Monograph: Waterhouse, R.. 2017. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. Paperback Volume. 330, 439-452, figs 12.21-12.23, 12.25-12.30. [Mapped feature: #115221 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV22884Related to: Bedford United Mine, Leat (Monument)
MDV37331Related to: Canal Incline Cottage, Gulworthy (Building)
MDV72844Related to: Devon Great Consols Railway, Inclined Plane (Monument)
MDV124814Related to: Morwellham Terminus Wharf (Monument)
MDV5449Related to: Tavistock Canal, Inclined Plane (Monument)
MDV3879Related to: Tavistock Canal, Western Section (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4040 - Wheal Russell Mine, Devon: Archaeological Assessment
  • EDV4098 - Canal Cottage, Morwellham

Date Last Edited:Jan 24 2019 11:28AM