MSO9229 - West Somerset Mineral Railway (Monument)

Summary

A railway designed primarily to carry iron ore from the Brendon Hill mines to Watchet, although it also carried passengers. It was built in 1856-61 and closed in 1898. It ran again in 1907-1916.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

The West Somerset Mineral Railway was designed primarily to carry iron ore from the Brendon Hill mines to an outlet port at Watchet, but also carried passengers. It received Royal assent in 1855, and work started on it in 1856 and was completed in 1861. It ran successfully until 1898, when failure of the mines caused its closure. It was briefly reopened in 1907, and was finally closed in 1916; its rails being commandeered by the Ministry of Munitions in 1917. Stations on the line were Watchet, Washford, Roadwater, Comberow, Raleigh's Cross, Luxborough and Gupworthy, with many of the mines having their own sidings. [1] This feature was recorded as part of the Brendon Hills Mapping Project, carried out by the Aerial Survey section of RCHME. [2-4] Much of the railway and its buildings are shown on the Ordnance Survey 25 inch maps. [5,6] Several ideas and projects were mooted before the actual line was sanctioned. [7] It was also planned to extend the line to Eisen Hill in 1864, but this was never built. [8] Parts of the trackbed to the north of Burrow Farm mine and the incline were scheduled on 3 September 2004. [10] Part of the line to the south of Carnarvon New Pit was scheduled on 14 January 2005. [11] The whole of the course of the incline and the winding house have been recently purchased by ENPA, who hold copies of the detailed surveys mentioned above. [12] The WSMR ran from Watchet on the West Somerset coast to Gupworthy high on the Brendon Hills. Construction started in 1856 and the line was opened as far as Brendon Hill, at the head of an impressive incline, in 1861. The line was completed as far as Gupworthy in 1864. The WSMR was closed in 1898, then re-opened as far as Brendon Hill by the Somerset Mineral Syndicate in 1907. Rails were comandeered in WWI, and the company was wound up in 1925. The history of the railway has been described at great length [1], and the remains of the incline have been recorded in considerable detail, by Mike Jones, for the Exmoor National Park Authority. The incline runs for over 1 kilometre from ST0292 3528 to ST02333 3446, with a gradient of 1 in 4. The principal building was the winding house (ST0233 3446), which had a cottage - Drum Cottage - inserted into one side. [13] The railway is referenced on the National Transport Trust's website (see External Links). [15] Recorded by National Record of Industrial Monuments in 1964. [16] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [17] Mapped extent of railway ends at National Park boundary. Feature continues into area maintained by Somerset HER and is recorded as PRN 28620 (see External Links). [18]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <1> Monograph: Sellick, R.. 1970. The West Somerset Mineral Railway and the Story of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines. David and Charles Limited. Second.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. CPE/UK/1944/3142-8 (23 January 1947).
  • <3> Report: Dyer, C.A.. 1998. National Mapping Programme: The Brendon Hills Mapping Project, Devon and Somerset. RCHME Swindon. SS93SE. AF1118137.
  • <4> Archive: Dyer, C.. 1998. RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS 93 SE. AF1118137.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1903-1904. Sheets 36(9), 36(13), 47(4), 58(3), 58(2) and 58(1).
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <7> Article in serial: Jones, M.H.. 1977. The Prehistory of the West Somerset Mineral Railway. Journal of the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 20. P.4-14.
  • <8> Article in serial: Bye, R.A. + Lovell, T.H.. 1977. A Proposed Extension of the West Somerset Mineral Railway to Eisen Hill. Journal of the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 2. P.24-26.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. DAP/VT 20, 24-36, DAP/VU 0-2, 4-30, -/03/1993. DAP/WD 20-36a, DAP/WE 0-9, -/03/1994.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Various. Scheduled Monument Notification . 23 September 2004.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Various. Scheduled Monument Notification . 07 January 2005.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Riley, H., 1999.
  • <13> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Notes on some of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines and the West Somerset Mineral Railway.
  • <14> Article in serial: Olszewska, M.. 2009. The West Somerset Mineral Railway. The Old Mineral Line. Exmoor Visitor.
  • <15> Website: National Transport Trust. National Transport Trust website. See External Links.
  • <16> Archive: Council for British Archaeology. 1963 - 1980. National Record of Industrial Monuments. Record number SO79, AH Parsons, December 1964.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 948654, Extant 1 November 2021.
  • <18> Archive: South West Heritage Trust. 1977-. Somerset Historic Environment Record. PRN 28620.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred ST 00 36 (7578m by 4974m) (3 map features)
Map sheet ST03NW
Civil Parish WINSFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish BROMPTON REGIS, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish CUTCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish EXTON, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish LUXBOROUGH, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish NETTLECOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish OLD CLEEVE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (29)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (3)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: LINEAR103
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NBR Index Number: NRI01
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 948654
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): 33074
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34374

Record last edited

May 31 2022 2:15PM

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.