Sparkwell - Baccamore - Smallhanger - Crownhill Down

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Sparkwell is a small village about five miles east of the boundary of Plymouth, nestling on the fringe of Dartmoor and relatively close to some huge mine workings. You could easily remain in blissful ignorance of that, if you didn't walk up to the moors from Sparkwell.
The nearest big clay-pit is called Headen Clay Works and this walk takes you up to the very edge of the works on Crownhill Down. If you have never seen the size of the hole in the ground a modern clay-pit now leaves, then this walk gives you the opportunity of doing that. You may well be in for a big surprise at the immensity of it.
In addition the walk leads you through Smallhanger Waste, where there were old-style clay-pit mines worked until about 1920. Although these pits are not small compared with the modern pits, the old ones are mere pin-pricks and have in the main now been virtually recaptured by nature, with trees, shrubs and a host of other wildlife.
The return to Sparkwell is via a small hamlet called Drakeland Corner and an old tungsten mine at Hemerdon Ball. Although not worked commercially since 1945, many of the buildings remain, since there is enough tungsten in the ground below Hemerdon Ball to meet the complete tungsten requirements of the UK for the next 25 years.
Will it ever re-open? It might, if and when the world price of tungsten makes it commercially viable for the owners to re-open.

England - South West England - Devon - Dartmoor


Birds, Butterflies, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Lake/Loch, Moor, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Wildlife, Woodland
6/6/2014 - louise hodge

This circular walk is no longer feasible due to recent quarry expansion

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Distance away
10 Miles
26.1 Miles