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HER Number:MDV7804
Name:Queen of the Dart Copper Mine, Ashburton


Surface evidence of Queen of The Dart Copper Mine which is recorded working between 1854 and 1860 with an output of 579 tons of ore. The mine is sited close to the eastern bank of the River Dart on a level section of the alluvial plain, positioned so as to exploit an east-west copper lode said to visibly outcrop in the river bed. The remains comprise a large disturbed spoil heap, a blocked shaft and a building. Much of the evidence was destroyed when a bungalow was built on the site in 1929.


Grid Reference:SX 734 688
Map Sheet:SX76NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishAshburton
Ecclesiastical ParishASHBURTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of South Plain Wood mine, as well as leat later extended to the Queen of the Dart Mine

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX76NW96
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1441652
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX76NW/22
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COPPER MINE (Constructed, XIX - 1850 AD (Between) to 1865 AD (Between))
  • LEAT (Constructed, XIX - 1850 AD (Between) to 1865 AD (Between))
  • MINE BUILDING (Constructed, XIX - 1850 AD (Between) to 1865 AD (Between))
  • SHAFT (Constructed, XIX - 1850 AD (Between) to 1865 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map, 114NW (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Queen Dart Copper Mine (disused)' indicated on OS 6" (1906).

Ramsden, J. V., 1952, Notes on the Mines of Devonshire, 98 fig.1 (Article in Serial). SDV60737.

Q1 Queen of Dart. Copper.

Ordnance Survey, 1963-1996, 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric (Cartographic). SDV350058.

'Mine (disused)' indicated on OS 6" (1963).

Snell, R., 1986, Green Lanes in Devon Project (Un-published). SDV8442.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Queen of Dart Mine, Ashburton
A trial shaft was started here in 1854 and a copper lode cut at a depth of 5 fathoms. 50 tons of copper ore were, with a celebratory procession, flags and music, shipped to Swansea via Totnes in July of that year, and after a second lode was cut, 124 tons the following year.
Although the ore was found to be bunchy, by 1859 the main shaft had reached 40 fathoms, with levels at 5, 10, 20 and 30 fathoms. However, little more was done and in 1860 the mine set and equipment was offered for sale.
Total output from 1854-57 was 517 tons and realised £2127.
Of this small copper mine, only a small pit and some very overgrown spoil heaps remain. These showed copper and iron pyrites when Hamilton Jenkin visited the site in 1959.
Pyrite, hematite and chalcopyrite can be found plentifully on the river bank 'beach' about 300m downstream (October 2013) and are possibly from waste thrown into the river.

Newman, P., 2006, Measured Survey Hidden Dartmoor: Peripheral Mines (Phase 1 Pilot) (Report - Survey). SDV351461.

(30/03/2006) The site of Queen of the Dart copper mine which is recorded working between 1854 and 1860 with an output of 579 tons of ore (Hamilton Jenkin, 1981). Much of the field evidence was destroyed or buried when a bungalow cum fishing lodge was built on the site in1929, though a large spoil heap, two blocked shafts and a building all survive. A substantial leat associated with this mine survives on the west bank of the River Dart.
The mine is sited close to the eastern bank of the River Dart on a level section of the alluvial plain, positioned so as to exploit an east-west copper lode said to visibly outcrop in the river bed. The strike of the lode is recorded at 15° south of east underlying south 2ft per fm (Mining Journal, 1855, 1859, 1860). The modern bungalow is sited within an enclosed walled garden, the walls of which correspond partly on the north side with a wall that formed part of the mine property, as depicted on the OS 25-inch map of 1886-7.
The most noticeable surviving feature of the mine is the spoil dump associated with a shaft at SX 7344 6879. The shaft, which is depicted on OS 25-inch scale maps from 1886 onwards, has been capped with concrete slabs within the memory of the current owners, its position now barely visible. A rectangular feature, also depicted on OS maps adjacent to the shaft and believed by Hamilton Jenkin (1981) to be the base of an engine house which accommodated a portable Robey engine, is no longer visible. The spoil heap measures approximately 30m long by 20m wide overall and no higher than 2.5 - 3m. It was robbed quite extensively for aggregate material to construct the drive to the house, and has a disturbed and hollowed out appearance as a result.
45m east of the spoil heap is the remains of a second shaft at the foot of the slope of Shere Wood, on the boundary of the wood. This is depicted and annotated as a shaft on the 1886 edition OS map, with a substantial spoil heap on the west side. This is certainly the boundary engine shaft described in mine reports of the 1850s where it is also mentioned that the mine had no adit . According to one report, this shaft was sunk to 40fms with levels at 5, 10, 20 and 30 fms, extending no more than 40fms east and west of the shaft. The associated spoil has been mostly removed and levelled, this area having been absorbed into a field, but the blocked opening of the shaft survives to approximately 2m deep and fenced.
It is recorded that two waterwheels of 30ft and 35ft diameter, both 4.5ft breast, existed at the mine, though on the sale particulars they are 30ft and 26ft diameter. One powered pumping equipment and the other was for crushing and winding. The site of these wheels may correspond with the elongated features depicted on the 1886 OS map close by the river. The wheelpits were probably demolished or buried when the bungalow was built and the garden landscaped in 1929, however a three-sided stone structure at SX 7340 7883 appears to be in the position of one of the marked features and could represent the outline of a wheelpit. It measures 2.2m wide by 4.7m long. It is reported that a small man-made cave at the back eastern end of the structure, which is currently buried and inaccessible, was once used as a cold store for the fishing lodge although it may have had origins as part of a wheelpit.
At SX 7340 6882, south of the garden wall and approximately adjacent to the site of one of the elongated features marked on the OS map, are traces of a stone-edged platform of 4.7m by 1.5m. This may represent the surviving corner of a platform on which a timber building once stood.
A standing building of stone, currently used as a shed is sited on the eastern side of the property (SX 7347 6883) and is probably one of the original mine buildings, depicted as a roofless structure on the OS map of 1886. Its original function is not known but it has a large door opening and no windows so is most likely to have been a store or workshop. It was until recently used as a generator house for the bungalow and concrete and iron fixture surviving inside are associated with this equipment and not with the mine.
On the west side of the River Dart is the massive remains of a leat (SX 76 NW 100) which provided water for the wheels.

Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, 2017, Mindat (Website). SDV294721.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV294721Website: Hudson Institute of Mineralogy. 2017. Mindat. Mindat.org. Website.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). 114NW.
SDV350058Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963-1996. 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric. Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV351461Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2006. Measured Survey Hidden Dartmoor: Peripheral Mines (Phase 1 Pilot). English Heritage Survey Report. Unknown.
SDV60737Article in Serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 98 fig.1.
SDV8442Un-published: Snell, R.. 1986. Green Lanes in Devon Project. Green Lanes in Devon Project. Not applicable. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV133370Parent of: Mine shaft and spoil heap in Shere Wood (Monument)
MDV133376Parent of: Mine shaft, Shere Wood (Monument)
MDV133372Parent of: Prospecting pit or shaft in Shere Wood (Monument)
MDV133373Parent of: Prospecting pit or shaft in Shere Wood (Monument)
MDV133378Related to: Possible prospecting pit, Shere Wood (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8574 - Hidden Dartmoor: Peripheral Mine (Phase 1 Pilot)
  • EDV8833 - Survey of archaeological features in Shere Wood

Date Last Edited:Apr 24 2023 2:01PM