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HER Number:MDV73864
Name:Leat to Dotton Mill, Colaton Raleigh


The leat and tail race leading to and from Dotton Mill are shown on historic mapping, the former marked as a mill stream. The date of their construction is uncertain but may be the watercourse referred to in a lease of 1532. The fact that the parish boundary follow the water course suggests that it is medieval in origin. Both the leat and tail race were probably finally filled and levelled in the later 1960s when the mill was demolished. Their courses are still visible as earthwork across the fields.


Grid Reference:SY 085 884
Map Sheet:SY08NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishColaton Raleigh
Civil ParishNewton Poppleford and Harpford
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCOLATON RALEIGH
Ecclesiastical ParishNEWTON POPPLEFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (Constructed, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))
  • TAIL RACE (Constructed, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

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

Course of 'Mill Stream' to 'Dotton Mill (Corn)' marked on 1880s-1890s Ordnance Survey map. The leat leaves the river Otter at a 'Weir' at SY08688874 and the tailrace formerly ran back into the river at SY08478821.

Whittock, L., 2005, Dotton Mill (Un-published). SDV363321.

The line of the leat is visible across the field. Much of the weir system also survives. The tail race is also still visible leading from the mill back to the river.

GSB Prospection, 2006, Dotton Mill, Devon (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV338951.

Geophysical survey, undertaken as part of a wider archaeological investigation being carried out by Channel 4's 'Time Team', to locate any features associated with Dotton Mill and the leat. Two areas were surveyed by Ground Penetrating Radar and one of the area investigated by resistance survey. The resistance results show a band of low resistence which corresponds with the course of the leat. The GPR data also show the course of the leat and there is good correltation with the resistance data. See report for full details.

Wessex Archaeology, 2007, Dotton Mill, Dotton, Near Otterton, Devon. Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results, iii,3-4,13-15,17 (Report - Evaluation). SDV338950.

Archaeological evaluation undertaken by Channel 4's 'Time Team' at the site of Dotton Mill, near Otterton, to investigate the development of a watermill from the medieval period into the mid 20th century. It is not known when the leat was created. The first documentary reference appears to be a lease of 1532 between Dunkeswell Abbey and William Stoford which refers to a fulling mill, garden, pond and watercourse. The existing parish boundary follows its course as identified from historical mapping. It is possible that the parish boundaries were laid down at Domesday when the land in that area was divided between Dotton and Otterton. It is not known when the leat was filled in, although it is last shown on the 1963 Ordnance Survey map. Local tradition recalls that the leat ran along the base of a fairly steep cliff and not the gradual slope which exists today and that following a bad storm in 1967, which brought down a number of trees in Dotton, the farmer decided to level and landscape the area, and so reduced the steepness of the slope seen today. The filling of the leat may, therefore, have happened at this time.
Trenches 2, 4 and 5 were laid across the line of the leat as identified in the geophysical survey. They revealed evidence for a wide and relatively shallow leat lined with a timber and stone revetment. Material recovered from the fill dated from the 17th to 20th centuries, giving a terminus ante quem for the cutting, or re-cutting, of the leat. See report for full details

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338950Report - Evaluation: Wessex Archaeology. 2007. Dotton Mill, Dotton, Near Otterton, Devon. Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results. Wessex Archaeology Report. 62507.01. A4 stapled + Digital. iii,3-4,13-15,17.
SDV338951Report - Geophysical Survey: GSB Prospection. 2006. Dotton Mill, Devon. GSB Prospection Report. 2006/54. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV363321Un-published: Whittock, L.. 2005. Dotton Mill. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV10611Related to: Dotton Mill, Colaton Raleigh (Building)
MDV126835Related to: Weir on River Otter to north of Mill Lane, Colaton Raleigh (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4266 - Time Team at Dotton Mill
  • EDV4267 - Geophysical Survey at Dotton Mill

Date Last Edited:Nov 7 2019 12:44PM