is obvious that the mines around North Molton in Devon have attracted
a lot of interest, for other transport enthusiasts and industrial
archaeologists have been there before us. This photograph shows a
'horizontal duplex steam winch by Clarke, Chapman & Co Ltd of
Gateshead. This is believed to have been installed ca. 1918 and is
in situ but derelict. The slide valve cylinders are ca. "
x 8" and the geared drum is ca. 14" diameter.' 1st January
1998. Photograph and caption by Chris
Allen, and reproduced under the terms of this creative
Since websites come and go, and specific
web pages may be moved, we quote below – in full – the material
that we have found on the New Florence Mine Tramway and the associated
Crowbarn Mine Tramway. The sources are quoted at the foot of each entry.
Florence Mine Tramway
The New Florence Mine Tramway was
constructed to connect the New Florence Iron Mine (see SS 73 SE 15)
with South Molton. It conveyed iron ore from the mine to the main railway
line. Its overall length was some 5.5kms (extending from SS 7460 3326
to SS 7300 2720).
The current investigation, as part
of RCHME's West Exmoor Project, only includes the extreme northern end
of the tramway, from the New Florence Mine site to the Exmoor National
The tramway best survives at its
junction with the Crowbarn Mine Tramway (see SS 73 SW 21), where it
is a sharply defined, flat-topped embankment 0.9m high. North of Brinsworthy
Bridge it has been disturbed and eroded in places by the erratic course
of the un-named stream. At several places it crosses and re-crosses
this stream, and here attempts have been made to confine the stream
with short sections of roughly coursed walling. In addition, lengths
of tram rails still in place have been used as the basis for a makeshift
bridge to carry the tramway over the stream at SS 7493 3173. Further
north-east up the valley the course of the tramway is impossible to
follow in places.
At SS 7527 3205 are the remains
of a loading bay fronting the tramway and adjacent to other structures
associated with the New Florence Iron Mine. In addition the Ordnance
Survey 1st edition 25" mapping of 1888 depicts several sidings
leading off the main tramway; there is no field evidence for these.
The main line continued for some 200m north-east of the centre of the
complex, and ended alongside a massive spoil heap issuing from one on
the principal adits. (1)
Citation (1): Field Investigator's
Comments: Wilson-North, W.R., 20th April 1993, RCHME Field Investigation.
(an English Heritage website – click on the link for 'More Information
We have not been able to find any
information specifically about the Crowbarn Mine Tramway, but the University
of Exeter has published some brief details of Crowbarn Mine on its Mining
History Information pages. It is interesting to see that the ores found
here included gold, which is currently being mined in the Crediton area
to the south east. Local resident Fred Harding has produced an interesting
website about North Molton gold, past and present, which can be accessed
from the link here.
Site Identification Number - 117
North Molton Parish, Devon
National Grid Reference: SS 738318
Open workings and adits on west
side of Mole Valley south of Heasley Mill. Early working for iron; opened
up for gold in 1853 as South Poltimore but abandoned with collapse of
Poltimore and Britannia mines. Reworked for iron and manganese from
1873 as part of enlarged Bampfylde sett until about 1884. Served by
branch of the Florence Mine tramway. For brief details of iron and copper
mining in this parish see Atkinson 1997, pp. 37-9 and 42-55 respectively.
Note - the author’s view
of copper/gold mining development in this parish is not in agreement
with that expressed by Dixon in Atkinson 1997. See Claughton Jan 1997
for areas of disagreement.
Atkinson, Michael. (ed.) Exmoor’s
Industrial Archaeology, 1997.
Peter Claughton / Dept. of Economic
and Social History
Last modified 13 May 1998
(a University of Exeter website)
Report compiled by Jeff Vinter