MSO10923 - Honeymead Mine, northwest of Red Deer Farm (Monument)


The site was used by the Plymouth Iron Company in 1858. Remains include a spoil heap, well preserved adit, shaft, ruined building and possible surface workings.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

"Old mine shaft" marked on 6 inch 1962 and 25 inch 1978 Ordnance Survey maps. [1,2] Formed part of the ore deposits worked by the Plymouth Iron Co 1857-58 (see MSO6931). Shaft and adit driven but little success. [3] Called Honeymead mine. [4] Stone arch entrance, adit stone lined for 20 to 30 feet. [5] "The Plymouth Iron Co. commenced work on a second mine, and from the Honeymead Mine - as it is believed to have been known - 500 tonnes of carbonated iron ore is said to have been raised in 1858. Mining...was confined to a small surface working and a shaft close by, but like most of the Exmoor mines it was very wet, and an adit was driven south to the shaft for drainage. The entrance of this tunnel is finely arched with stone for a distance of 30 feet, but thereafter is in solid rock. About 115 feet from the adit mouth the level is blocked off at the point where it meets the shaft, which has been filled in. Outwardly there is little sign of any great mining activity here, but a stone building of some kind was erected, the ruins of which still remain." [6] The remains of the Honeymead Iron mine lie on steep, north facing slopes on the southern side of the valley of the River Exe. The site consists of a spoil heap, a well preserved adit, a shaft with attendant features, a ruined structure, and possible surface working. The remains are in an excellent state of preservation, possibly due to the remoteness of the site and the short lived nature of the mining operations. The adit consists of a fine, round headed stone arch, 1.3 metres high and 1.0 metre wide, from which a stream still issues. A gulley, 9 to 11 metres wide and 3 metres deep runs northwards from the adit for some 17 metres towards a massive spoil heap, 26 metres across and 3.7 metres high. The water from the adit mouth runs down the eastern side of the spoil. The shaft, 29 metres to the south of the adit, comprises a circular hollow, with a stone revetment, 2.5 metres high and 6.5 metres long on the southeast side. This revetment defines a subcircular platform 10.5 metres in diameter, which overlooks the shaft and may well have been occupied by winding gear. Some 25 metres to the west of the adit mouth are the remains of a rectangular stone building. It occupies a level area on the steep hillside, partly the product of openworking to the immediate south. The building measures 5.6 metres by 5.2 metres and is defined by roughly coursed walls 0.6 metres wide and averaging 0.6 metres high. No entrance is visible, and the function of the building is unclear. To the south of the building is a cleave in the hillside from which a stream runs. It appears to be a natural feature, but has clearly been worked for ore. Towards the upper (southern) end of the cleave, the steep, rocky sides have been squared-off as part of this "open-working". [7] Honeymead Mine is visible on aerial photographs as the substantial earthworks remains of a large spoil heap, air shaft, possible openworks and a small square structure, centred approximately on circa SS 8091 3995. The possible openwork is over 75 metres long and up to 7 metres wide. As described by [7] it does resemble a natural feature, but would appear regular in plan, supporting the interpretation that it has also been worked. The possible location of the air shaft is marked by an irregularly shaped negative feature or hollow, up to 15 metres in diameter, perhaps indicating that the shaft has been capped and subsided. The spoil heap is roughly triangular in plan, up to 26 metres across at the widest point, and appears to be flat topped, perhaps deliberately levelled to provide a working surface. On aerial photographs of 1952 the small square structure is clearly visible as an unroofed ruin. [8-9] Honeymead Mine is recorded as having been active at some point between the years 1853 and 1859. [10] 7.2.1, SS 8090 3995. Honeymead adit was driven by the Plymouth Company in 1857-8 as a drainage adit for a shaft above [6]. It is 35 metres long to debris filling the shaft, 1.6 metres wide and 2 metres high. It has a fine ashlar arched opening carried inwards for about 9 metres. 7.2.2, SS 8090 3992. Honeymead shaft was sunk by the Plymouth Company in 1857-8 [6] but has since been filled. It is thought to be about 12 metres in depth. N.B. The grid references provided are incorrect. The features are clearly marked on 2018 Ordnance Survey MasterMap data; the adit is centred at SS 8091 3998 and the shaft at SS 8090 3995. [11-13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14]

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962. 6" SS83NW. SS83NW.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. 25" SS8039.
  • <3> Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition. 180, 197.
  • <4> Monograph: Dines, H.G. 1956. The Metalliferous Mining Region of South-West England. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Volume 2.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN 33062, G. Fritton, Correspondence, 1989.
  • <6> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 144.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 9 August 1995.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/860 (F20) 4081-2 (2 September 1952).
  • <9> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NW. MD002191.
  • <10> Monograph: Siraut, M.. Royal Forest, Exmoor: A guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 11.
  • <11> Report: Exmoor Mines Research Group. 1995. Report on the safety condition of disused mine workings on lands owned by Exmoor National Park Department and other lands nearby. 7.2.1 p18, 7.2.2 p18.
  • <12> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap.
  • <13> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 19 August 2019.
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974422, Extant 23 August 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO376
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7013
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NW20
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974422
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33062



Grid reference Centred SS 8088 3996 (105m by 164m)
Map sheet SS83NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Aug 23 2021 4:35PM


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