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Vitifer and Golden Dagger Mines

An outing in this direction gives the ever welcome opportunity to start the day with a coffee and toasted teacake at the Gateway Tearoom Moretonbedstead. If this was a pub it would be awarded a very high number of onions and shallots. Suitably refreshed we raced away excitedly to the car park near Warren House Inn.

Parked up we descended into the vast wasteland of the mines. Actually it wasn't a wasteland at all and the high vegetation covered a great deal of the industrial archaeology. The buildings that are left seldom rise above knee high but we were able to compare the ruins to the map we had and were thus able to get a sense of the mining village layout. Anyone interested would probably profit from an exploration in the winter when it would be easier to find other remains.

The black and white pictures on this page, unless otherwise mentioned, are taken from "The Mines and Miners of Dartmoor" by Tom Greeves which is a highly recommended account of several interesting locations.

In the foreground of the picture right is the Dry and Blacksmiths shop. Bottom right in this picture is the carpenters shop (otherwise known as "Bob's Building").

The ruins in the middle were the kitchen, canteen, and dormitory. It was taken around 1950

Below can be seen the stump of the chimney and the outline of the dry. Below - Bob's building aka The Carpenters shop.
Bob the builder angered by a recent act of vandalism lifts a fallen stone back on to the wall. Despite an immediate conference on its precise former location we couldn't fit it exactly.
Encountering a curious hole the best brain in the group investigates - assisted by PR Having lost both of them down the hole, JS tries to find them. A badger waits patiently for everyone to clear off.
RH was delighted to find a clump of chanterelles which he put in his doggie bag to take home to eat. Somehow they seemed less appetising after that.
This picture taken around 1912 shows the canteen etc. on the left, the mine office and the bungalow. On the extreme right is the managers house.

Moving on down the valley we came to the dry for Golden Dagger.

We noticed a small wooden cross in the corner of one of the rooms. Apparently it is a memorial to someone's wife.

The adit was nearby. The picture below was taken four years ago since which time it has become much more overgrown and blocked. There is a picture in Tom Greaves' book showing a group of miners outside this adit.

Above is the remains of Dinah's Cottage. How she would weep to see it now. Dinah's cottage around 1927. The wide waterwheel can be seen in the middle.

One of the broadest wheels used on Dartmoor driving the stamps. Both pictures were taken in 1927. The one on the right by P H G Richardson shows the wheel without the

shed and the launder. It is known as a pitchback wheel.
Here is the wheel pit at the moment. It is in a reasonable condition but the vegetation is doing a good job of breaking everything down. It is a great shame that while we protect and preserve the prehistoric remains on the moor we seem to allow more recent history to rot away.
We spent a lot of time talking about buddles but failed to find one on this trip. We stopped just 200 yards too soon.