Whiteworks is without a shadow of a doubt one of my favourite places on the whole of Dartmoor. It’s not particularly pretty or scenic however it is super atmospheric and to me, encompasses everything that Dartmoor is about and I’ve been going there ever since I passed my driving test and got my first car. It’s the start of many walks including the infamous Fox Tor Mire route.
Whiteworks was originally a tin min, in fact it was one of Dartmoor’s largest tin mines with substantial workings covering around 1km2. There is evidence that the area was being mined as early as 1180 although the mine was expanded substantially around 1790 toward the beginning of the industrial revolution when the demand for tin increased. The mine was owned by the wealthy Tavistock mining entrepreneur Moses Bawden and at its peak it would produce between 8-9 tons of tin bearing ore per year. Whiteworks operated for just under 100 years and shut in 1880 briefly reopening in early 1900 before finally closing for good by 1914. Today the old workings are clearly visible and the shafts have been filled and are fenced off. The moor has reclaimed the Whiteworks site apart from the two odl mining cottages.