MEM22309 - Porlock Weir Incline, Simonsbath to Porlock Railway (Monument)


Construction of the railway begun in 1860 but was abandoned before completion. Three routes for the incline from Porlock Allotment to Porlock Weir were proposed; it seems works were commenced at the incline's southern end.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

The Exmoor and Porlock Railway was proposed to transport iron ore from Simonsbath (SS 7739) to Porlock Weir (SS 8647) for shipment to South Wales. An agreement to construct the line was signed in 1855, but mining activity on Exmoor ceased shortly after. Construction contracts were let out in 1860 and substantial diggings were made before the project was abandoned. Sections of the line can still be detected. There is some evidence to suggest that a plan existed to build a standard gauge railway along the same lines about 1826 to open up access to Exmoor. The 'Pinkery Canal' (MSO6847) was possibly linked to this scheme to work inclines down to Simonsbath and Cornham (SS 7439). [1-3, 7] The track bed of the Simonsbath to Porlock Weir railways survives as an intermittent earthwork in the RCHME East Exmoor Project area. A length of track bed follows the contour to the Porlock-Exford road at SS 8445 4404. On the eastern side of the road, the earthwork is well-preserved. It runs from SS 8460 4420 to SS 8455 4514. The earthwork comprises a levelled portion 6 metres wide, with a bank 1 metre wide and 0.7 metres high on its eastern edge. A further length of track bed runs from SS 8440 4583 to just above the A39 at SS 8495 4629. This part of the line was surveyed using differential GPS as part of the RCHME East Exmoor project. [4] A plan of part of the proposed route shows three inclines to take the railway down to Porlock Weir. [5] Part of the western most of these three inclines was excavated between Westcott and the Toll Road. This was noted by M. Jones as visible between SS 8506 4655 and SS 8508 4667. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. P. 144-151.
  • <2> Monograph: Madge, M. 1975. Railways around Exmoor. P.73-77 ( map P.64-65).
  • <3> Monograph: Buchanan, C.A.and Buchanan, R.A.. 1980. The Batsford Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Central Southern England. Batsford. P. 147.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Riley, H. 1998.
  • <5> Technical drawing: Plan of Inclines at Porlock. D/DG Plan 79.
  • <6> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Jones, M. 1998 Correspondence to RCHME.



Grid reference Centred SS 8507 4665 (40m by 148m)
Map sheet SS84NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW44
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36303
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33046

Record last edited

Aug 17 2020 12:11PM


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