Yarrow Mine/Devon Wheal Francis/Yarner Copper Mine, Bovey Tracey, Dartmoor National Park

Yarrow Mine/Devon Wheal Francis/Yarner Copper Mine, Bovey Tracey, Dartmoor National Park

At Yarner Wood Reserve Base, painted on an angled wood panel, are depictions of the Yarner Wood area through history. One, particularly dark, is of a bleak landscape. In the foreground is a mine. It's hard to imagine when wandering around this wood today that there was once a thriving copper mining industry in Yarner Valley, just up the forestry road from the Woodland Centre.

Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting of the accompanying Google map and you'll see a small clearing that we've geolocated on the map. This is the location of Yarrow Mine. To visit, follow the road from Bovey Tracey past the National Trust's Parke Estate towards Manaton. On a sharp bend in the road, to your left, you'll see a sign for the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Yarner Wood is part of this NNR.

Leave you car or bike at the Yarner Wood Reserve Base. Follow the forestry road around the pond and up past the beech trees in to Yarner Valley. You'll pass a bird hide and then descend to the Woodland Centre. Cross Yarrow Stream and follow the forestry road up to Yarrow Mine.

The mine is fenced off. Signs tell you to stay out. Make sure you read the Natural England information board to the right of the fence. There's a great image of what the mine would have looked like in addition to general information about the history of mining in Yarner Wood. For example, in 'the 1850s and '60s Yarner Wood echoed with the hiss of a steam-powered Cornish beam pumping engine. The engine drained workings 300ft (91m) below ground, where up to 50 miners dug out copper-bearing ore. Two waterwheels supplied energy to haul and crush the ore, which was then sorted by hand for sale at Truro'.

Yarrow Mine is also referred to as Devon Wheal Francis or Yarner Copper Mine (the title on the Natural England information board).

If mining on Dartmoor is of interest, visit the Museum of Dartmoor Life in Okehampton and Princetown National Park Visitor Centre in Princetown.

Whilst you are at Yarrow Mine, we'd really recommend that you continue up the valley wall to the Templer Way. This granite railway was used to transport quarried granite from the moors to the coast. There's another fascinating information board and the views are great. The stretch of railway in the wood is particularly impressive.