West Devon Mining District

The West Devon Mining District, this is one of the mining areas I have sadly neglected. I hope as I spend more time around the Tamar the content will grow as my knowledge of the area increases. I am aware there is no official West Devon Mining District, I have named it this to fit in with the rest of the “District” pages.

West Devon Mining District

The railway viaduct at Calstock on the River Tamar. It stands 120 feet tall with 12 sixty foot arches, the viaduct was built in 1907.

The images on this page are of the extensive remains of Devon Great Consols Mine in the Tavistock area which worked from 1844-1901. The earliest workings were known as North Bedford Mines or Wheal Maria. By November 1844, a rich vein of copper ore was discovered, this was proved to extend eastwards for over two miles. Devon Great Consols soon became the richest copper mine in Europe and later as the world’s largest producer of arsenic. During the time the mine was open it produced a total of 763,573 tons of Copper and 71,770 tons of Arsenic.
The images below were taken in the late 1990’s they are the remains of the Arsenic Refining Plant. Since these were taken the site has been stabilised and the most Arsenic contaminated areas have been sealed off.

West Devon Mining District

This first image of the West Devon Mining District shows the remains of a ball mill on the extensive site. Dating from the 1970’s when many of the huge dumps were being re-worked for their mineral content.

West Devon Mining District

A closer image of the Ball Mill, the electric drive motor is closest to the camera, this still survives today but much the area has become overgrown.

West Devon Mining District

A view of the remarkable surviving grinding wheel on the site. In the background the long line of Arsenic condensing chambers disappear into the woodland. These have all been fenced off due to the hazardous nature of the Arsenic within.

West Devon Mining District

An detailed image of the grinding wheel at the Arsenic Refinery of Devon Great Consols Mine, this would have been used to grind the processed Arsenic to a fine powder.

West Devon Mining District

A second line of Arsenic condensing chambers.

This was an amazing site, a true jewel in the West Devon Mining District.
I am reviewing my old negatives to add move to this page as soon as I can.
(November 2017)

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