Sourton Tors Ice Works, Sourton, Dartmoor National Park

Sourton Tors Ice Works, Sourton, Dartmoor National Park

Walk the moorland around Sourton Tors when the sun is low in Winter or at the end of the day and earthworks like a sheet of corrugated iron are particularly noticeable. These earthworks were part of Sourton Ice Works or the Ice Pits.

The Dartmoor expert Eric Hemery describes this venture in his book 'High Dartmoor':

'The venture of Sourton Ice Works dates from about 1875 and endured for only a decade. Requirements for its successful operation were all in hand on the north-east shoulder of Sourton Down: water, high incidence of frost, exposure to icy winds, accessibility for horse and cart. Water was conveyed from a hillside spring into long, shallow, rectangular pits, in which deepening ice invariably formed during the long winter months on this bitterly cold, north-west slope of northern Dartmoor. Ice was cut into blocks and laid for storage in specially dug trenches. When needed for transportation, it was transferred to a walled pit inside the rectangular house, from which it could be loaded in the minimum of time onto waiting carts. In those day before mechanical refrigeration, ice was much in demand by fishmongers for the preservation of their stock; the Plymouth merchants were supplied from Sourton by horse-and-wagon.'

We've positioned Sourton Ice Works on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location.

To visit, head for Prewley Moor or the village Sourton. There's plenty of parking on Prewley Moor and limited parking in front of the church in Sourton. The ice works are at the north eastern end of the rocky outcrops presumably to limit the effect of the sun as it arcs east to west.