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This walk: 2009-9-2. Wheal Jewell Reservoir, formerly a tin mine, presently drained for cleaning and re-sealing, and Wheal Betsy, another old tin mine that was in the Cornish deep mining tradition.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.


A view across the edge of Kingsett Down to fields beyond with Standon Down in the distance.


Looking along Wheal Jewell Reservoir from the southern end. During the 18th Century this was Wheal Jewell Tin Mine and the old gert (workings) were subsequently used as the reservoir.


A view up the midline. 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 6 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".


The structure under the end of the reservoir.


A wider part of the construction.


..... and how did they get THAT down there?! 
Apparently, there is drive-in access under the bridge on which the red compressor is standing in the previous photo .....


A valve, apparently an inlet?


View at the far (i.e. northern) end of the main reservoir with the extension in the background.


Another view of the extension reservoir.


The site of another valve, the slide is missing.


A better view of the extension reservoir .....


Passing riders .....


Looking towards the northern end and the long, narrow inlet area.


An outlet valve.


Looking towards the southern end, where we started ..... around the bend, as usual.


The main inlet area, with a bridge over .....


The bridge over the leat that delivers about 2 million gallons of water each day.


A small side leat feeding into the main inlet channel, which is the Wheal Jewell Leat.


Dartmoor colours.


Moss growing on the top of a concrete fence post.


Looking along the disused Mine Leat.


Walking westwards, a clapper bridge over the old leat.


..... another view.


The old leat .....


The waterway is now a well-worn mini-gorge .....


 ..... looking in the opposite direction.


Reindeer lichen.


First view of Wheal Betsy, with the A386 Tavistock-Okehampton road above.


Just strolling .....



Approaching Wheal Betsy.


A better view.



The plaque explains some of the story .....


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


Entrance at the base of the chimney stack.


In silhouette .....


..... and a different camera setting.


Looking down from the end of the ramp that runs from the engine house towards the valley.


Looking up the valley at the spoil.


Annie Pinkham's Men, a line of fifty stones by the road, named after a local woman who was kind to the miners .....


Fruit bodies of a lichen on a gate.


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.


Walk details

Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

Ordnance Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2005. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047373.
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.


The walk was reached via the road from Mary Tavy to Horndon, turning off the A386 Tavistock-Okehampton road beside the Mary Tavy Inn, parking on the grass opposite the cottages at Zoar.


Distance - 5.63 km / 3.5 miles.


All photographs on this web site are copyright ©2007-2016 Keith Ryan.
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