TORS OF DARTMOOR

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Shuttamoor Crags

To the east of Shuttamoor Farm and set above the south side of the stream is a collection of dark and quite brooding rocks that protrude from the steep gradient of the hill. They are seen to best effect from the north side as a series of emergent granite outcrops that are marked by close horizontal jointings. The crags straddle the parish boundaries of Christow and Hennock and are well represented on historic Ordnance Survey (OS) Maps.

Shuttamoor (locally 'Shootimoor') is best-known for Shuttamoor Mine which produced a type of iron oxide called micaceous hematite also known, colloquially, as 'shiny ore', which was found throughout East Dartmoor. Brooks (2004, p.164) remarks that "Whilst recorded working started in 1897, the presence of an old shaft marked on the 1890 First edition Ordnance Survey map indicates that it must have been worked much earlier." An OS Map, published in 1888, shows an 'Old Shaft' which predates the first recorded workings as 1897 and would certainly give some credence to Jenkinson's (2018) assertion that "the poor-quality mineral in the area necessitated its abandonment in 1890." and Fraser (2004) who states that Shuttamoor Mine "Produced Iron ore for a very short period in the 1890s." It is probable that the mine closed for around 7 years before it was taken over by a new firm.

In addition, just before Shuttamoor ceased operations for good the second time in 1911, there was an accident concerning worker Elias Tucker who tragically died while working in the dangerous confines of the mine. Brooks explains that "Elias Tucker was killed when going to assist a trammer who was having difficulty in tipping an end tipping tub." Described as "a tall strong man", the death occurred as a result of Tucker not taking "the usual precaution of hooking the chassis chain to the rail to prevent such a happening." Interestingly, the date of death recorded by Brooks, 11th February 1911, is actually erroneous since the Western Times has it as February 3rd 1910 with the funeral taking place at Hennock Churchyard. Therefore, it is unlikely that the incident caused the mine to close as it remained open for a further year.

The abundant mining activity that was once overlooked by Shuttamoor Crags is no longer and what remains today is a scene of much contrast: the plantation that envelopes the valley is shrouded in enigma, concealing the industrial remains and possessing a certain eeriness that makes the visitor feel uneasy. The dense canopy of trees, sometimes cast in perpetual mist, stud the slopes and make the crags difficult to see, even at close-quarters.

Whilst neighbouring Shuttamoor Rock is on private land, Shuttamoor Crags reside on open access land, but due to the potentially dangerous nature of the mine shafts the terrain is difficult to traverse and as such has been cordoned off by a barbed wire fence for public safety. Only distant, minimal glimpses of the crags are to be had from the perimeter fence to the east. The Tors of Dartmoor team are grateful to Paul Rendell for initially contacting us about Shuttamoor Crags in February 2020.

Shuttamoor Crags
The map above is not a navigation tool and we recommend that the grid reference shown below is used in conjunction with an Ordnance Survey map and that training in its use with a compass is advised.
Grid Ref:
SX 8236 8276
Height:
230m
Parish:
Christow
Tor Classification:
Valley Side
Access:
Public
Rock Type:
Granite
Credit:
Paul Rendell
Reference:
National Library of Scotland: OS 25 Inch, 1892-1914 and OS 25 Inch, 1873-1888 (SW England)
Tony Brooks (2004): Great Rock: Devon's Last 'Metal' Mine
Iain Fraser (2004): Mining and Quarrying History in Hennock and the Teign Valley
Iain Fraser (2004): Hennock: A Village History
The British Newspaper Archive: Western Times article dated Friday 18 February 1910
Tim Jenkinson: Rock Piles of East Dartmoor: The Hidden Landscape Part 2 - Dartmoor Magazine No 133 Winter 2018

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