MSO8864 - Carnarvon Mine New Pit (Monument)


An ironstone mine which began work in 1866, with shafts, engine house and tramway connecting to the West Somerset Mineral Railway. The mine closed in 1879, reopened briefly before finally closed in September 1883.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

Full Description

An ironstone mine visible as earthworks and mapped from aerial photographs. [2,3] The visible remains consist of shafts, including an air shaft [4] aligned west-north-west to east-south-east and centred at ST 0204 3429. To the south of these shafts are many smaller shallower workings. The robbed out foundations of the Engine House, and a small section of trackway linking the mine to the West Somerset Mineral Railway were also visible as earthworks. Work began on Carnarvon New Pit in 1866 [5]. The area is now covered in a forestry plantation. [6,7] This was one of the Brendon Hills Iron Ore mines. Work began on Carnarvon New Pit in 1866, when the drift was sunk and by 1867, together with the Raleigh's Cross Mine, production reached 400 tons per week. Engine installed in 1872 and levels joined to Raleigh's Cross Pit. There was a tramway from the top of the incline to the mine, with cottages to house the workers at ST 0210 3418. [5] Site of former mine workings located immediately north of the Bampton Road Stores. Site includes former Winding House, air shaft and mine workings. The site is heavily wooded with conifers, planted by the owner during the mid-twentieth century. [8] The mine closed in 1879, briefly reopened and finally closed in September 1883. [9] Carnarvon New Pit was connected by 50 yards of narrow gauge railway to a platform over a siding of the West Somerset Mineral Railway. The mine had 16 levels and exceeded 500 feet in depth. It was connected to Raleigh's Cross mine at number 3 level. [11] Surface mining features, consisting of a linear openwork and ‘lode-back pits’, i.e. extraction pits that follow the surface outcrop, or ‘back’, of a lode were identified at Carnarvon by the Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor preliminary survey. It is unclear whether these are those at Carnarvon old Pit or New Pit. [12] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 4. [13] New Carnarvon Pit was started by Morgans in 1866. The workings were connected by narrow gauge tramway to a loading platform over the WSMR. A permanent engine was installed in 1872. The mine closed in 1879, with a brief re-opening before the final surrender of the lease in 1883. Its maximum depth exceeded 150m and it had 16 levels [21]. The visible remains consist of two main elements: earlier surface workings and the remains of the 19th century shaft mining. All now lie in a neglected coniferous plantation, making survey difficult. The area of earlier working consists of a linear trench 210 metres long, 8 to 12 metres wide and 1.6 to 1.2 metres deep. A disturbed area 210 metres long and 20 to 30 metres wide lies to the south of the trench. It contains numerous small pits 1 to 2 metres in diameter with spoil around them. The remains of the 19th century mining consist of three shafts, the remains of an engine house and a tramway. The main shaft lies at ST 0204 3427. It is 10 metres in diameter and at least 10 metres deep. A large chunk of masonry from the demolished engine house lies in the side of the shaft. A second shaft lies at ST 0201 3428. It is 4m in diameter and at least 5 metres deep. A ventilation shaft lies at ST 0194 3430. It is 4 metres in diameter, 8 metres deep with 0.5 metres of coursed stone walling around its top. The remains of the engine house lie at ST 0205 3430. They comprise a rectangular mound measuring 34 by 20 metres. Two rectangular hollows lie to the east and west, and the remains of spoil heaps lie to the north and east - this was probably used to cover the demolished mine buildings. Chunks of exposed masonry are visible at the north and south ends of the mound; there is evidence of recent excavtions. The tramway which connected the mine to the WSMR is defined by two earthern banks, running from the main shaft for about 50 metres to the loading bay on the WSMR. The south bank clearly overlies the earlier workings in several places. A ruined building lies at ST 0214 3424. It comprises roughly mortared stone walls, 13 by 3 metres, with a maximum height of 2.3 metres. Although it has been used recently for agricultural purposes, it was probably originally connected with the loading bay. Surveyed at 1:2500 scale as part of the RCHME Exmoor project. [16-17,22] The site was subject to further survey work in 2015 in advance of proposed consolidation and new fencing work, following the removal of a larch plantation in 2012. This recorded and identified the remains of mining from four distinct phases. Numerous small, circular pits represent extraction of iron ore in the Roman and/or early medieval periods; large openwork trenches were probably worked in the later medieval and/or early post-medieval periods. The remains of several structures from 19th Century iron mining at Carnarvon New Pit date from two periods: 1866-1872 and 1873-1883. [18] The site was surveyed in 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 9. [19] A site visit was undertaken to examine the condition of the structure and propose options for treating local collapses. [20] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [23] The mine is mentioned in a publication on the industrial archaeology of Somerset. [24]

Sources/Archives (23)

  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1944 3144-3145 (23 January 1947).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/2082 4019-4020 (19 May 1947).
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560. ST03SW.
  • <5> Monograph: Sellick, R.. 1970. The West Somerset Mineral Railway and the Story of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines. David and Charles Limited. Second. 37, 53, 31, 56-7.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR ST 0134/1 (15421/14) (15 May 1996).
  • <7> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, ST 03 SW.
  • <8> Report: The Hartley Conservation Partnership + David Sekers Consulting Partnership. 2004. West Somerset Mineral Railway Conservation Plan. P.37.
  • <9> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Notes on some of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines and the West Somerset Mineral Railway. P.22.
  • <10> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Report on Proposed Low-Key Visitor Access to Industrial Sites on the Brendon Hills. P.13.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 1990. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Visit to the Brendon Hills. P.6.
  • <12> Report: Juleff, G.. 1997. Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor: Preliminary Survey. P.13-14, 30, Table 1..
  • <13> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2009. Final Results Table: Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment.
  • <14> Aerial photograph: 1994. DAP VU 8-9 1993, WD20-1.
  • <15> Monograph: Bryant T.C. 1980. The Hollow Hills of Brendon. 6-7.
  • <16> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Riley, H.. 1999. Carnarvon Pit/ink survey. Unknown. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <17> Technical drawing: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 1999. Carnarvon Pit/pencil survey. Unknown. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <18> Report: Riley, H.. 2015. Carnarvon New Pit Iron Mine: Analytical Earthwork Survey.
  • <19> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <20> Report: Stow, P.J.. 2015. Mineral Line, Carnarvon Mine, Exmoor, Somerset: structural condition review.
  • <21> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Notes on some of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines and the West Somerset Mineral Railway.
  • <22> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 1999.
  • <23> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 975376, Extant 30 May 2022.
  • <24> Monograph: Daniel, P. (Ed.). 2019. A guide to the industrial archaeology of Somerset. Association for Industrial Archaeology. 2nd Edition. p 67, W5.5.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO432
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11078
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: ST 03 SW24
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 975376
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33375



Grid reference Centred ST 0205 3428 (308m by 164m)
Map sheet ST03SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (5)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Dec 12 2022 9:33PM


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