Devon's tinworking heritage
Devon tin - two words that are not readily thought of as being synonymous. Yet Dartmoor in Devon has one of the best preserved tinworking landscapes in the world.
Tin has been a valuable commodity from the Bronze Age to modern day and historical records relating its working survive from the mid 12th century to the 1970s. In the Middle Ages the wealth it generated enabled churches and substantial farmhouses to be built. Indeed, the very character of Dartmoor has in part been shaped by the tin miner, for almost every hillside or valley shows some evidence of the tinners' hand, whether a winding water channel, a large excavation, neatly arranged piles of waste or ruined mills and dressing floors.
The scale of the industry has left an interesting legacy of cultural and historic remains, impacting both the Dartmoor landscape and forming an important part of the heritage of European mining practice and trade.
Interactive map showing Dartmoor tinners huts and stream works.
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Are you interested in finding out more about Devon's tinworking past?
If you are interested in Dartmoor and its history, and in particular its minerals, mines and tinworking archaeology, please join the Dartmoor Tinworking Research Group (DTRG) and
- Explore the mines and tin works of Dartmoor and its surrounding area.
- Help conserve and promote some of the nineteenth-century mining sites and buildings.
- Help undertake field surveys of tinworking features and remains.
- Undertake documentary research on aspects of the Dartmoor tin industry and associated activities.
- Enjoy walks and social outings.
Since it was established in 1991 the DTRG has:
- Produced a twice yearly newsletter which contains various articles and reports as well as notices of current work, meetings and outings.
- 1992 Completed the research excavation of a tin blowing mill at Upper Merrivale.
- Undertaken surveys of many tin mines.
- Created the Brimpts Mine Trail and published an associated book on the history and features of the Brimpts Mine.
- In May 2016 held a conference in Tavistock, "Celebrating the Tinworking Landscape of Dartmoor in its European Context: Prehistory to 20th Century"
NEW books: 'Gentlemen and Rogues' and the
May 2016 DTRG Conference Proceedings available here