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Remains of leat serving former hydro-electric generating station, on the south bank of the East Lyn River, 210m east of Oxen Tor

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Remains of leat serving former hydro-electric generating station, on the south bank of the East Lyn River, 210m east of Oxen Tor

List entry Number: 1020808


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: North Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Lynton and Lynmouth

National Park: EXMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 16-Oct-2002

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 33057

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The harnessing of electricity for power, following Faraday's discovery of this energy source, developed in Britain in the years 1879 to 1888 during which time its application was in the generation of lighting for public and private use. Numerous companies and supplies were established which set the pattern for the supply and use of electricity until after World War I. These early stations and power houses were small, isolated, and predominantly coal-fired, though a significant number of hydro-electric schemes, using the established technologies of water wheels and turbines, served rural areas and country estates.

The water-powered electricity generating station at Lynmouth was the work of a local engineer, Charles Geen. The station began to operate in the early months of 1890 and it relied on the fast flowing East Lyn River to drive the turbines, the water arriving at the station via a leat and pipeline system. However, by 1895 demand was outstripping supply at certain times and a pumped storage system was installed to ease this pressure. This pumped storage system, which relied on water being pumped to a reservoir for later use as and when required, is considered to have been the earliest in the world. Both the generating station, which was swept away in a flood in 1952, and the reservoir have been demolished leaving the leat which carried water from the East Lyn River as the only part of the scheme to have survived in anything like a reasonable state of preservation. This leat will provide a visual reminder of this early period in the generation of electrical power in England.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of a concrete leat which drew river water to power the Lynmouth Central hydro-electric generating station which was opened in 1890. The leat is located on the south bank of the East Lyn River and it runs parallel with the river downstream from its intake at the Ladycombe Lake entry to its termination at a clearing shed approximately 350m to the north. From this point onward the water was piped rather than carried to the generating station. The leat, which survives fully in some sections of its 350m length and partly in others, has a purpose-built sluice at its entry point about 20m west of where the waters of Ladycombe Lake enter the East Lyn River down a steep valley slope. The entry sluice is rock cut and located in a slight bend in the river where the combination of the pressure provided by the river flow abetted by the nearby rush of waters from Ladycombe Lake would have ensured a good head of water entering the leat. The sluice gate was blocked with stone and concrete following the abandonment of the system in 1952. The leat itself was rock cut on its inner face against the bank but is revetted with stone where this was felt to be necessary. The outer riverside wall is constructed of local stone and faced externally with concrete; this wall rises 0.5m above the ground surface and is 0.15m thick. The leat was cut 1.6m deep and 2.25m wide on average with both the bottom and the inner walls lined with concrete. This produced an open channel which had a series of side sluices at intervals which could release water back into the river in order to control the flow required at any one time. At the far western end of the leat is a clearing shed which housed a screening mechanism and which marks the point where the leat gave way to an overground pipe which conveyed the water for the remaining 280m or so to the generating station. Nothing of the pipe system survives and the clearing shed has been the subject of much modernisation. The generating station continued in operation until 15th August 1952 when it was destroyed in a major flood and never rebuilt. The clearing shed at the western end of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the fabric of the leat where it passes beneath the clearing shed is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Tucker, D G, Hydro-Electricity for Public Supply in Britain, (1977), 141-147

National Grid Reference: SS 73138 48985


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This copy shows the entry on 25-Sep-2018 at 06:15:39.

End of official listing