Foxhole Mine and other tinworks south east of Arms Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021214

Date first listed: 22-Dec-2003


Ordnance survey map of Foxhole Mine and other tinworks south east of Arms Tor
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 17:38:57.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Lands common to the Parishes of Bridestowe and Sourton

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Lydford

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 54905 85964


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

Reasons for Designation

Tin has been exploited on Dartmoor since the prehistoric period and surviving remains are numerous, well-preserved and diverse, with the two main types of tinwork being streamworks and mines. The three different forms of tinwork used to mine lode tin were lode-back pits, openworks and shafts. Lode-back pits survive as shallow shafts which were sunk onto the lode outcrop to extract cassiterite. These pits generally occur in linear groups following the line of the lode, with associated spoil dumps. Many tin lodes have been worked at the surface by digging pits onto the backs or surface exposures of the lode to remove the mineral that lay above the water table. Openworks are also known as beams and they were formed by opencast quarrying along the length of the lode. The term openwork refers to the field evidence for opencast quarrying of the lode, which produced relatively narrow and elongated gulleys. Shaft mining is synonymous with underground extraction, with access to the lode being through near vertical or horizontal tunnels known as shafts and adits. Underground workings are often complex in character, with considerable layout variations reflecting developing extraction techniques. Within the vicinity of most mines are found the remains of prospecting activity. This generally takes the form of small pits and gulleys. Some mines have associated surface buildings which provided a variety of services for the working miners. The ore quarried from all three forms of mine was taken for processing to nearby stamping mills. A national survey of the tin industry in England was completed in 1999. This demonstrated the number and diversity of surviving remains and the significance of some areas for understanding the origins and development of the industry. Dartmoor is one such area and here a representative selection of sites with significant surviving remains has been identified as nationally important.

Foxhole Mine and the other tinworks south of Great Links Tor contain a broad range of different forms of evidence relating to prospecting, exploitation and processing of both tin deposits and lodes. The 19th century mining remains represent an important source of information concerning the character of a small scale water powered tin mine, where the original elements survive in excellent condition and, in particular, the circular buddles may be the earliest surviving examples on Dartmoor. The earlier tinworking remains provide a useful insight into the different methods used over time to find and extract different types of tin deposit and lode tin.


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


The monument includes Foxhole Mine, the core part of Doetor Brook alluvial tin streamwork and associated mining remains including openworks, reservoirs, prospecting trenches and pits, buildings and an adit situated on either side of the upper reaches of the Doetor Brook.

Foxhole Mine is represented by a stamping mill, a group of buildings and a dressing floor. The water supply to the mill was carried to the wheel on a leat embankment and timber launder. The leat embankment survives as a revetted bank standing up to 1.7m high, on which sits a leat measuring 0.9m wide and up to 0.7m deep. The timber launder survives only as a buried feature. The stamping mill survives as a substantial wheelpit measuring 8m long by 1.3m wide and the machinery would have sat on a stone faced platform on the eastern side. The tailrace leading from the wheelpit is stone lined, measures 24m long by 1m wide and is 0.7m deep. The tin ore crushed under the stamps was carried to the nearby dressing floor which survives as two circular buddles together with a number of channels and hollows contained within a terraced area denoted by a drystone revetment. Two buildings associated with the mine survive to the west of the dressing floor. The largest of these, is probably the Count House and survives as a two-roomed building with an extension. The mortared granite walls stand up to 2.9m high and still have traces of plaster adhering to them in places. Heating was provided by fireplaces against each of the short walls and lighting was provided by east facing windows which overlook the dressing floor. The second building survives as a 3.3m long by 2.2m wide structure denoted by earthworks and drystone revetment. This building has a north facing doorway.

Leading northward from the mine is a length of tramway which cuts through earlier streamwork earthworks. The tramway is revetted in places, measures 2.6m wide and still possesses a number of stone sleepers. The tramway crosses the Doetor Brook on a small clapper bridge formed by eight slabs laid across the stream. Ore would have been carried to the stamping mill along this tramway. Foxhole Mine which is also known as Wheal Frederick is considered to have been active in the middle part of the 19th century, although no output figures are known.

Leading north and south from Foxhole Mine is a substantial alluvial tin streamwork. This streamwork was formed during the extraction of tin deposits using water to separate the heavy tin from the lighter silts, sands and gravels. Earthworks surviving within the gully formed by streamworking illustrate clearly the extractive methods used by the tinners. This streamwork probably represents the earliest phase of extraction in the area and when abandoned, the tinners turned their attentions to smaller scale eluvial deposits. At least three areas of eluvial tin streamwork earthworks survive within the monument with the largest situated at NGR SX55208627. Many of the dumps in this streamwork are curved in shape and lie parallel to each other. At the upper streamwork most of the dumps are revetted with large rocks and stand up to 1.2m high.

Once the tin deposits were exploited, the tinners turned their attention to the lodes. The first stage was extensive prospecting using pits, trenches and an adit. The pits and adit were excavated solely by hand, but the trenches were formed by using both shovels and running water. The water was brought to the area in leats and stored in reservoirs. Once the lodes had been identified they were exploited using opencast quarries known as openworks to extract the lode tin. These survive as deep, steep sided gullys which trend approximately west-east. Small buildings surviving within the vicinity probably represent shelters used by the tinners.

The surface of the trackway leading from east-west across the northern part of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground below is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 34478

Legacy System: RSM


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2002)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2002)

End of official listing