Scheduled Monument: Burrow Farm iron mine and section of mineral railway trackbed, 350m north east of Burrow Farm
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
03 September 2004
Date last amended
The monument includes the greater part of the ruins, earthworks, and other remains of Burrow Farm iron mine together with a section of the mineral railway trackbed adjacent to it. The mine was one of a number opened on the Brendon Hills in the mid-19th century to exploit the high quality iron ore lode which, on the Brendons was workable westwards from Raleigh's Cross mine to Gupworthy and beyond. The shaft was sunk through extensive earlier surface workings in 1860 and the extension of the West Somerset Mineral Railway (WSMR) reached it in 1863. The ore that had been stockpiled was loaded on to the railway for transport to Watchet and ultimately for transhipment to the South Wales smelting furnaces. The lode was found to be fickle and the mine closed in 1868 only to be reopened again in 1879 when a new engine house was constructed using materials from the engine house at Langham Hill, some 3km to the east, after operations had ceased there in 1874. Surviving at Burrow Farm mine is the standing beam engine house constructed as part of the 1879 initiative. It is a Listed Building Grade II. The engine house is of `Cornish' type and is the last remaining example on Exmoor. It is roofless but all four walls, built of local stone and the re-used material from Langham, stand to a height of about 10m. The circular chimney of the engine house, which is attached to the north wall, stands to its full height and is constructed of stone for the lower 10.5m and is then finished in brick for the upper 4m. The building received some conservation and restoration work in 1990. Documentary investigations by the Exmoor Mines Research Group have shown that the engine was also brought over from Langham Hill. It comprised a 66cm diameter cylinder with a 2.74m stroke. Two winding drums were set in the space between the stone `loading' (which supported the flywheel, crank, clutch and gearing to the south of the engine house) and the massive stone wall to the west. None of this machinery survives but the stone wall which supported one end of the drum axles, stands to a height of 4m; it was later incorporated into a miners' dry which with dimensions of 9m by 5m which was yet later adapted as a farm building. A horizontal duct through the south west corner of the engine house allowed a pipe to return condensation to the reservoir which survives as a sunken earthwork about 30m to the north west of the engine house. About 30m to the south of the engine house are the earthwork remains of a spoil heap which surrounded the now infilled main shaft. Two other shafts, the North Lode shaft which lies 30m north west of the reservoir, and Gundry's shaft which was sunk in 1866 and lies 230m ESW of the engine house, are both included in the scheduling, together with some openwork trenches of unknown date. The scheduling also includes a 330m long section of the cutting for the West Somerset Mineral Railway which passed immediately to the north of the mine. Sidings constructed in 1880 reached the main shaft by the engine house and allowed the ore to be trucked out to the main line for onward transport to Watchet. The cutting has an average width throughout its length of 16m. The mine closed in 1883 but the mineral railway continued in use for a further 15 years until 1898, providing a mine salvage, light goods and passenger service between Watchet and Gupworthy to the west. All gates, fencing, fence posts, fixed information boards, and telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.
Book Reference - Author: M Jones - Title: Burrow Farm Engine House - Date: 1997 - Type: PLAN: MEASURED
Book Reference - Author: R Sellick - Title: The WSM Railway and the story of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines - Date: 1970 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: M Jones - Title: Notes on some of the Brendon Hills iron mines and the WSMR - Date: 1998 - Type: DESC TEXT