MSO11725 - Blackland Iron Mine (Monument)


The mine was worked by the Ebbw Vale Company from 1875 to 1881 and in 1895. Withypool Mining Company formed and in 1907 sent ore to Minehead by traction engine. There are various adits and shafts surviving as earthworks.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

"Blackland Iron Mine (disused)", "shaft", "adit" and "Old tramway" printed on Ordnance Survey maps dating to 1903 and 1962. [1,2] There is little known of Blackland Mine's history, although it was worked in the 19th Century. Remains include a shaft (MEM15406, SS 8387 3690) 61 metres deep connecting with the now blocked North Adit (MEM15407, SS 8411 3686), which intersects the load at 240 metres. It connects with shaft 1 where the drifts extends 107 metres along the lode (northnortheast to southsouthwest), a tramway running from here to Sparrow Lane at SS 8451 3708 (still in situ), South Adit (MEM15408, SS 8414 3679), which is open for 100 metres with short branches, and two further shafts at SS 8412 3679 (MEM15409) and SS 8400 3694 (MEM15410). [3] Worked by the Ebbw Vale Company from 1875 to 1881 and in 1895. Withypool Mining Company formed and in 1907 sent ore to Minehead by traction engine. Incline built from the mine to the road. [4] The incline and mine survive in excellent condition. At the northeastern end of the incline (nearest the road) there is a loading bay where trucks were pulled up an embankment so the material can be tipped into trucks or wagons. Two bays are apparent for them to pull into. From here to the edge of the steep slope the incline is not visible in the field, but there is a gap in the hedge and a small cutting at the point where the steep slope descends into the valley. On this steepest section the incline is well preserved as a stone built platform. In the valley bottom the track branches, one continuing straight to the North Adit (MEM15407) and another going off to the south to the South Adit (MEM15408). This southern section ends in a curving platform which is presumably another loading bay. There are no indications that the track crossed the river, although the bank here is revetted. On the other side of the river are the mining areas. Two adits are marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map [9] with several shafts. The shafts appear to have been filled in but the adits are open and could be investigated. The rails on which the trucks were pushed are still in situ coming out of both adits and there are rails running along the side of the river, presumably connecting up the various adits. One branch goes to a tip. There are various iron structures around, including a truck by the side of the river. All in all, a superb example of the relative simple mining activity that went on. The site is prime for an interpretation scheme although it is rather secluded (which is why the archaeology has presumably survived so well). See also MSO12346. [9,10] A 'level three' investigation of this site has been programmed for the winter months of 1995. [11] The central part of Blacklands Iron Mine was surveyed at 1:500 scale in March 1996. NOTE: Further remains to the west have not been included in this survey. The remains consist of two principal adits on the western side of Pennycombe Water, and a massive, linear, flat topped spoil mound about 4 metres high, along the valley side. The spoil has been revetted at its base to prevent it slipping into the river. The two adits are very well preserved and both still have water issuing from them: the northernmost has a tramway in situ emerging from it, and the opening is still accessible. The remains of one ore wagon is visible within, with a second on the river bank close by. The southernmost adit is visible as a linear gash into the hillside, but collapse has obscured its entrance. A possible shaft is visible immediately to the west. On the eastern side of the river is a spoil dump associated with the southernmost adit, at least one other trial adit, and the remains of an incline designed to transport iron ore from the mine to the road at approximately SS 8450 3720. Surveyed at 1:500 scale, March 1996. [12,13] In private ownership. [14] Several of the Blacklands Iron Mine earthworks were transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey, although the adits were largely obscured by dense vegetation. [8,15-17] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [18] The mine is mentioned in a publication on the industrial archaeology of Somerset. [19]

Sources/Archives (19)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 45(15).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962. 6" SS83NW.
  • <3> Monograph: Bryant T.C. 1980. The Hollow Hills of Brendon. 3.
  • <4> Monograph: Sellick R. 1970. The West Somerset Mineral Railway. 74.
  • <5> Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition. 171 and 218.
  • <6> Monograph: Dines, H.G. 1956. The Metalliferous Mining Region of South-West England. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Volume 2.
  • <7> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 8436.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3316-7.
  • <9> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1888, Somerset 45(16).
  • <10> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 1989.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 9 August 1995.
  • <12> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Sainsbury, I.. 1996. Blackland Mine/pencil survey. 1:500. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <13> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Sainsbury, I.. 1996. Blackland Mine/ink survey . 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <14> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, March 1996.
  • <15> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN 34293.
  • <16> Monograph: Atkinson, M.. 1997. Exmoor's Industrial Archaeology. Exmoor Books. 34.
  • <17>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NW. MD002191. [Mapped feature: #43755 ]
  • <18> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974457, Extant 23 August 2021.
  • <19> Monograph: Daniel, P. (Ed.). 2019. A guide to the industrial archaeology of Somerset. Association for Industrial Archaeology. 2nd Edition. p 76, W44.1.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO378
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8714
  • Local Heritage List Status (Proposed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NW35
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974457
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34293



Grid reference Centred SS 8427 3689 (493m by 340m) Historic mapping
Map sheet SS83NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (8)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2022 2:47PM


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