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This walk: 2015-3-5. Brat Tor, Sharp Tor, Hare Tor, Ger Tor, Wheal Jewell Reservoir, Wheal Betsy Mine.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Previous walks in this area: 2nd September 2009 (reservoir drained),  20th April 2011 (from Willsworthy) and 19th July 2012,

The photographs on this page were mostly taken on a "recce" on Sunday 1st March. 

1883 Ordnance Survey map.

Google Satellite Map + GPS track of the walk.

 

View from near the car park: left - Brat/Bray Tor with Widgery Cross; centre and most dominant - Hare Tor with Sharp Tor on it's left flank, further right - Ger Tor and at the right - Tavy Cleave Sharp tor.

 

Seen near the car park.

 

Valving station at Wheal Jewell Reservoir ..... moving water to the hydro-electric plant at Mary Tavy .....

 

View behind the building ..... looking north along Wheal Jewell Reservoir, this was an old mining gert that was part of the Wheal Jewell Mine (tin and copper) in the 18th Century, from the south end ..... holding 16 million gallons of water ..... the water is taken by pipes to drive the hydro-electricity station at Mary Tavy ..... The mine was abandoned in 1797 but re-opened in 1865  and worked for periods, with bursts of activity in 1911 and 1924 when it was worked for arsenic, as was the associated Wheal Friendship complex. Ore was taken to Wheal Friendship for dressing. Much of the old mine workings were obliterated when when the 16 million gallon reservoir was built in 1937/37. An extension was added later on the west side that destroyed the old leats, wheel pit etc. Together, Wheal Jewell and Wheal Friendship were known as the "Wheal Jewell & Mary Tavy Mine".

 

Riders enjoying the day ..... with Widgery Cross (on Brat Tor) behind .....

 

The rear of the building .....

 

Another view .....

 

Taken at the same location ..... the reservoir-proper is to the right of the track (seen in approximately the centre of the image), the water seen here is an overflow area .....

 

Looking from the overflow side, this si where a digger was driven in when the reservoir was drained for repairs .....

 

The second bend in the main reservoir .....

 

View near the north-east corner of the reservoir .....

 

A moss grows extensively on the tops of the concrete fence posts .....

 

Looking back .....

 

The Wheal Jewell Leat supply channel into the reservoir ..... the main leat is taken off the River Tavy just inside Tavy Cleave. In the past, these leats supplied three mines with water - Wheal Friendship (a copper mine), Wheal Betsy (a lead and silver mine) and Wheal Jewell (a tin and copper mine). Source for some of this material: John Hayward (1991) Dartmoor 365, Curlew Publications, page 142.

 

Zoomed view, showing a large sluice valve .....

 

The sluice is just out of sight to the right .....

 

A side stream or leat .....

 

Ger Tor (left) and Tavy Sharp aka Tavy Cleave Sharp aka Sharp Tor (right, tor 304, GR 5539 8341, in "Dartmoor's Tors and Rocks", Ken Ringwood, 2013, University of Plymouth, page 171, also listed as tor no. 332, Tavy Cleave Tors, GR 5549 8349, page 185 - the two references presumably refer to the two promontories, being approximtely 100 metres apart) .....

 

Ger Tor, with a flag staff for Willsworthy Firing Range .....

 

Tavy Sharp Tor.

 

A very deep gully, an eroded leat, not to be fallen into when on night manoeuvres!

 

A possible alternative route, along a bridle path from the reservoir and down to this location (SX 51270 81796).

 

Wheal Betsy comes into view .....

 

Coming down the approach track .....

 

Closer view .....

 

Self-explanatory sign .....

 

Deep pit inside the engine house .....

 

Looking up inside the house .....

 

Another internal view .....

 

External view .....

 

Annie Pinkham's Men, a row of fifty stones marking the edge of the road, named after a local woman who variously featured in stories about being kind to the miners etc ..... they are no doubt just a road safety measure .....

 

Plaque on the engine house .....

 

Cholwell Riding Stables .....

 

Another view, with Annie Pinkham's Men looking on .....

 

Sketch map of the Wheal Betsy Mine, redrawn from an issue of the British Mining Journal of many years ago.

 

Timber  from Totem?

 

Chimney entrance .....

 

Just a view .....

 

Putting some human scale into the story .....

 

There's a view!

 

The walkers today  .....

 

Taken from a snack spot down the track .....

 

The track was a stream today .....

 

Water running quite quickly .....

 

The engine house and it's spoil heaps.

 

Somewhere in this field is a view along the line of the 6-inch pipeline (90 psi compressed air) towards Wheal Jewell, as shown on the sketch map above. The air was used in connection with the arsenic works between 1912-1918. In this period, water from the Wheal Friendship Leat fed a headbox on the south-east flank of Gibbet Hill, from where it flowed through a 20-inch pipe to the Compressor House. This generated the compressed air which went through the 6-inch pipeline to Wheal Jewell.

 

Sheep feeding stations right beside the bridle path.

 

Deep pit, probably a mine shaft (looking at the old map) fenced off in a field.

 

Those tors again ..... from left: Brat Tor (with Widgery Cross), Hare Tor (with Sharp Tor as its left promontory), Ger Tor and Tavy Cleave Sharp Tor .....

 

..... and for the last time.

 

 

Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

 




© Crown copyright and database rights 2015.  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373.  Use of this data is subject to terms and conditions.
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.

This walk was reached from the A386 Tavistock-Okehampton road by turning off at the Mary Tavy Inn (just south of Mary Tavy), following the road down over a small bridge, bearing left, turning right to Horndon (passing the Elephant's Nest pub on the way), following the road to Zoar Cottages and parking just opposite them on the rough track, marked by the yellow cross on the map.

 

Statistics
Distance - 5.65 km / 3.51 miles.
 

All photographs on this web site are copyright © 2007-2016 Keith Ryan.
All rights reserved - please email for permissions

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