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HER Number:MDV8070
Name:Yarrow Copper Mine, Yarner Wood


Yarrow Copper Mine, Yarner Wood, also known as 'Yarner Copper Mine' was worked between 1857 and was bought in 1865 by the nearby Devon Frances (or Francis) Mine. Two shafts worked for copper between 1858-1865, producing 2300 tons of copper. Overgrown remains of the engine house can still be seen in Yarner Wood.


Grid Reference:SX 782 783
Map Sheet:SX77NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBovey Tracey
Ecclesiastical ParishBOVEY TRACEY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX77NE106
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1441681
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77NE/23

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COPPER MINE (Constructed, XIX - 1857 AD (Between) to 1880 AD (Between))
  • HORSE WHIM (Constructed, XIX - 1857 AD (Between) to 1880 AD (Between))
  • SHAFT (Constructed, XIX - 1857 AD (Between) to 1880 AD (Between))
  • SPOIL HEAP (Constructed, XIX - 1857 AD (Between) to 1880 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Yarner Copper Mine (Disused)' depicted on the late 19th century historic map. An area of workings with 'shaft' depicted at SX78227833 and two more areas shown to the north-east, including remains of a further shaft and the engine house (also disused) at SX78377837. Map object based on this Source.

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

'Yarrow Copper Mine (Disused)' depicted on the early 20th century historic map. Areas of workings shown and the 'old Engine House' but neither of the shafts are depicted.

Ramsden, J. V., 1952, Notes on the Mines of Devonshire, 101 (Article in Serial). SDV60737.

Yarner Mine (Y1) Copper. Other details: Figure 1.

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 187, 61, 80 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Of the iron working carried out in the northern part of the parish, east of Lustleigh, at the end of the last century and into the present one, there are few remains. The mines concerned were at Bowden Hill, Kelly, Hawkmoor, Plumley, and Shaptor. Working was mainly by adits into the hillsides, though signs of surface workings are mainly overgrown. A portion of the Haytor granite tramway is visible below lower down cross beside Chapple Lane.
Yarner Copper Mine (SX783783) was worked in the early years and again in the second half of the 19th century; 2300 tons of copper were produced between 1858 and 1865, with workings 50 fathoms deep. Situated in a nature reserved, there are few remains of the mine, though there were formally two shafts, an engine house and a chimney stack.

Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K., 1981, Mines of Devon: North and East of Dartmoor, 140 (Monograph). SDV364319.

Burt, R. + Waite, P. + Burnley, R., 1984, Devon and Somerset Mines, 118, 39 (Article in Serial). SDV347761.

Yarner Copper Mine, Bovey Tracey. Production listed for the years between 1858 and 1865 when apparently work was suspended at the mine. (Managers listed). May have continued as Devon Frances between 1866-1872 (management details listed) but no detailed return is listed for copper production during this time.

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

Not visible on Royal Air Force 1946 aerial photographs.

Nance, R. W. + Nance, R. D., 1996, A Survey of Engine Houses on the Mines of South Devon, 109-122 (Article in Serial). SDV241746.

Beside the trackway through Yarner Wood two miles west of Bovey Tracey, lie scant remains of pumping engine house. Only base of side walls are still standing although site of the shaft is clearly evident.

Nance, R. D., 1996, Project Design for a Survey of Engine Houses on the Mines of South Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV222663.

Nance, R. W. + Nance, R. D., 1996, Wheal Druid and the Engine Houses of Dartmoor, 4-6 (Article in Serial). SDV340907.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 295 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Plant and machinery listed for sale in the Exeter Flying Post, 20th September 1865, included a steam engine and two waterwheels.

Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K., 2005, Mines of Devon, 129-130, 158 (Monograph). SDV282410.

Yarner or Yarrow Mine is situated near the south-eastern end of Yarner Wood. Work began in 1857 and two copper lodes were developed. By 1862 the mine had reached a depth of 50 fathoms and 50 people were employed. At this time, the machinery consisted of a 60in cylinder pumping engine, one 40ft wheel and another of 25ft, with a drawing machine and crusher attached. Water for driving the wheels is thought to have come from Bovey Pottery Leat, which passed through the sett.
In December 1864 it was decided to wind up the company which to date had returned a total of 2300 tons of 3 ¾ per cent ore, realising £6200. In 1865 a new company was formed to take over the mine but in October 1865 the machinery was put up for sale. The mine, with its ruined engine-house, two shafts and, until recently, extensive burrows now lies in a nature reserve.
The remote situation of this mine meant much hardship for the mine workers who had to endure cold and wet winter weather. In 1864 a Yarner miner stated ‘many of the men have to walk two miles to the mine over an exposed road. They then go underground for eight hours, come up fatigued and freely perspiring and have to put on their cold wet clothes in which to go home’.

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

(30/03/2006) The remains of Yarner Copper Mine are sited near the eastern end of Yarner Nature Reserve, on the moderate north-facing slope of an unnamed stream. The most visible feature is a series of large spoil heaps on the south side of the stream (SX 7826 7835), near some modern timber buildings. It appears that a substantial amount of spoil was removed to accommodate these sheds and a modern track has also cut through a part of the heap. Above the and to the south of the spoil at SX 7823 7831, a shaft is marked on the 1st edition OS 25-inch map. This has been capped and survives only as an indentation in the ground but a fine whim plat is sited adjacent to it on the eastern side. It has a diameter of approximately 7m and a scarp of 1.2m around part of its circumference. It would appear that the bulk of the spoil on the large heaps was raised up this shaft using a horse whim mounted on this platform.
According to Hamilton Jenkin the mine had, in the 1860s, two waterwheels, one of 40ft and another of 25ft diameter. These he suggested would have used water from the Bovey Pottery Leat which cuts across the sett below the spoil heaps. This seems plausible because the nearby stream on its own would not have provided an adequate or reliable supply. However, the only location that these wheels could have been sited so as not to have depleted the water in the leat was near to the foot of a steep channel (SX 7820 7835) where the leat changes height. The water could then have been returned to the lower section of the pottery leat after passing over the wheels. Unfortunately this is the area which has since been levelled to accommodate the modern timber sheds so this theory is difficult to prove. An elongated structure marked on the 1st edition OS map at SX 7823 7833 may represent one of the wheelpits but nothing survives on the ground at this location.
A ruined engine house sited at the eastern edge of a wide shaft is approximately 145m east of the sheds, along a modern track (SX 7837 7837). Both the shaft and engine house are currently in an extremely dangerous condition and it is not possible to take detailed measurements. The engine house has completely collapsed with only a stump of stonework with some brick visible above ground. Two closely spaced parallel walls on the opposite west side of the shaft probably accommodated the balance beam. The shaft has a diameter of approximately 5m and is blocked 3m below surface. A moderate spoil heap adjacent to the west side of the shaft has been robbed, probably for aggregate. A shallow, approximately circular indentation in the ground to the SW of the building may have been a storage pond to supply water to the engine.
North west of the shaft, beside the track is an adit opening, now flooded, and beyond that further down the slope just below the leat, a small spoil heap is likely to be material transported out of it.
An area of prospecting activity is located 475m west of the main mine at SX 7778 7835, south of the small tributary as it curves west. The site of a blocked adit, driving approximately south at the foot of a steep slope is visible and has ochreous water emanating from within. Spoil was dumped approximately 30m down stream just below the track onto two linear spoil heaps of approximately 15m long. The outline of a very ruined rectangular building at SX 7776 7835 has rough stone walls of up to 0.8m high and internal dimensions of approximately 3m square. A narrow channel extends from behind the building down to the nearby track.

Natural England Volunteers, 2009-2015, Natural England Volunteer Archaeological Survey, P7f (Worksheet). SDV350591.

Visited 18/13/2010. Yarner Mine ore extraction windlass area? Site A: SX 78248 78322 (151 metres actual). Site B: SX 78228 78318 (147 metres actual). Height difference between A and B is 1.25 metres, visual. Overall condition stable. Sketched and photographed.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

'Yarrow Copper Mine (Disused)' depicted on the modern mapping and the ruins of the engine house are also depicted. Map object based on this Source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 187, 61, 80.
SDV222663Report - Assessment: Nance, R. D.. 1996. Project Design for a Survey of Engine Houses on the Mines of South Devon. Project Design for a Survey of Engine Houses on the Mines of South Devon. Unknown.
SDV241746Article in Serial: Nance, R. W. + Nance, R. D.. 1996. A Survey of Engine Houses on the Mines of South Devon. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. The Archaeology of Mining and Metallurgy in South-West Britain. 13, Number 2. A4 Paperback. 109-122.
SDV282410Monograph: Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K.. 2005. Mines of Devon. Mines of Devon. Paperback Volume. 129-130, 158.
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.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 295.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV340907Article in Serial: Nance, R. W. + Nance, R. D.. 1996. Wheal Druid and the Engine Houses of Dartmoor. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 10. A4 Stapled. 4-6.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV347761Article in Serial: Burt, R. + Waite, P. + Burnley, R.. 1984. Devon and Somerset Mines. The Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom. Paperback Volume. 118, 39.
SDV350591Worksheet: Natural England Volunteers. 2009-2015. Natural England Volunteer Archaeological Survey. Natural England Archaeological Survey. Worksheet. P7f.
SDV351461Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2006. Measured Survey Hidden Dartmoor: Peripheral Mines (Phase 1 Pilot). English Heritage Survey Report. Unknown.
SDV364319Monograph: Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K.. 1981. Mines of Devon: North and East of Dartmoor. Mines of Devon.. Unknown. 140.
SDV60737Article in Serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 101.

Associated Monuments

MDV30872Parent of: Copper working debris found near engine house, Yarner Wood (Monument)
MDV104246Parent of: Dressing floor at Yarner Mine (Monument)
MDV104965Parent of: Engine House at Yarrow Copper Mine, Bovey Tracey (Building)
MDV104027Related to: Access track to Yarner Copper Mine Engine House (Monument)
MDV104045Related to: Adit at Copper Mine, Yarner Wood (Monument)
MDV104013Related to: Devon Wheal Francis Mine (Monument)
MDV104046Related to: Launder at Yarner Wood Copper Mine (Monument)
MDV103969Related to: Leat to Dressing Floor at Yarner Mine (Monument)
MDV104037Related to: Leat to processing yard at Yarner Mine (Monument)
MDV104026Related to: Spoil heap by tramway in Yarner Wood (Monument)
MDV104024Related to: Trackway in Yarner Wood to Mine (Monument)
MDV104041Related to: Trial excavations at Yarner Copper Mine (Monument)
MDV103967Related to: Two Adits on south side of Yarner Wood (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6071 - East Devon Natural Nature Reserve and surrounds Archaeological Survey
  • EDV8574 - Hidden Dartmoor: Peripheral Mine (Phase 1 Pilot)

Date Last Edited:Mar 28 2022 8:53AM