DTRG members standing on whim platt

Crane Lake

It was a larger than expected group. A perfect day but chilly to start. After briefly outlining the purpose of my walk we set off to Nun’s Cross Farm, here we admired the old stone cross (sited on a boundary and reave). Paul had a photo showing the inscriptions, only visible when the sun is at midday. Near the first earthworks of Eylesburrow mine, at Tom’s suggestion, we left the track to reach the head of the Crane Lake streamworks. Here we found a linear, shallow channel, with low bank 1, a feature found by Phil Newman in his survey of the Crane Lake mine site. Further down but not actually connected to it is a small crescent reservoir 2 – a slight, curved length of bank, its height tapered – highest where it meets the small gap in the middle, presumably where a sluice gate was (made of turf?). Later on we saw another, a larger example, at the edge of an open work. From the sluice gap we followed a linear channel to the scarp edge of the streamworks. It grew deeper and at the end has the remains of a stone dam 3 , this could have been a linear reservoir holding the water used for washing away light clays to reveal the tin ore in the streamworks below. The remains of the streamworks are now several meters deep. We explored the mounds, shafts and a whim platform – where Paul discovered a fine whim stone 4. Heaped on a conical mound surrounding a shaft we saw sharply broken rock, some with ‘shot’ marks 5, rock that had come out of the underground mine. There wasn’t a lot of it. At the end of the streamworks there is the neat remains of small building, sited at one end of an open work 6. Nearby lie the remains of various structures to do with processing. A blocked adit with water flowing like a spring 7. A filled in, narrow wheel pit, impressive dressed granite blocks (where stamp machinery once sat) 8, dressing floors, ‘reck houses’ (or ‘rack houses’) 9 – each with a small rectangular buddle inside, leats, and large, shallow, rectangular settling pits. There is also another shaft, stone lined 10, the remains of a large tinners’ hut built into the scarp 11, a small rectangular building with a hearth-like recess, built into a mound 12 and across the Plym, a few meters upstream from the ford, a 3-sided structure 13 built utilising a mound of the streamwork. We followed the Eylesburrow ‘engine leat’ up to the point it where it used to cross the Plym 14 and then we followed up a leat that fed the Crane Lake mine waterwheel. We visited a mine shaft that has what is likely to have been a large dressing floor at its base 15. Possibly it was intended to have a set of non-water powered stamps here. We had lunch near Plym Ford sitting around a splendid wheel house 16, built at an odd angle inside a gully, according to which an old document has marked as an adit. Anthony found a tail-race tunnel. The day was now hot. Next we looked at the nearby large conical pits and shafts and followed along the lode back workings 17. These workings became a deep beam or gert 18. At the edge I pointed out the second, larger of the two, crescent reservoirs 19. From here there is a good view of the deep, short, narrow, linear open work coming off at right angles to Crane Lake’s right bank. Our next stop was Frank’s Shaft 20, somewhat insubstantial looking, sited on the inside edge of the beam open work. Next we looked around the field and the ruins of a small building 21 before clambering down and onto the well-surfaced track to cross Crane Lake and the Eylseburrow ‘engine leat’. We climbed up the opposite hillside to peer down into this deep, narrow open work 22 with its sheer-sides of bare granite rock, upcast thrown up along its length (all recently circled by a wooden fence). The walk had taken less time than I’d planned so on our return we visited part of Eylesburrow. Here we found another whim platform intact with its whim stone (see ‘featured image’ above). From here it was an easy walk along an old mine track back to the car park.

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