Kelly Mine

Useful Information

Location: Eastern flank of Dartmoor, within the National Park.
Open: All year Wed, Sun.
After appointment.
Fee: MineIron Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Kelly Mine, Nick Walter, 11 Lears Lane, Chudleigh, Devon TQ13 0LP. Telephone 01626 853127
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1797 first reference of workings at Kelly.
1877 first official record of the mine.
1892 mine closed.
1900 leased by the Scottish Silvoid Company of Glasgow and reopened.
1951 mine closed.
1984 Kelly Mine Preservation Society (KMPS) formed, mine taken over.
1985 restoration work commenced.


Several mines in this area of Dartmore produced micaceous haematite (shiny ore), a flaky form of iron oxide. It was used mainly for the production of MIO (micaceous iron oxide) anti-corrosion paints.

Dartmoor is a huge granite intrusion, lava which rose through the rock but got stuck and cooled down very slowly deep inside the crust. Later the surrounding rocks were eroded and the granite reached the surface. The granite does not have layers or crack, at least not enough to allow water to flow underground. As a result the whole area is very wet and supports raised moorland.

The rocks once had cracks but they were filled by various minerals by hydrothermal activities. The remaining heat of the lava heated the ground water which solved minerals from the rock, which were then deposited in the cracks and so the cracks were completelx filled in. The resulting veins are called lodes. In this part of the Dartmoor granite the lodes contain mostly iron oxide.


Kelly Mine near Dartmor in Devon is an abandoned Iron Mine. It is owned and maintained by the Kelly Mine Preservation Society. The tour includes aeveral above ground buildings, like the stone building with a working waterwheel, which houses the drying furnace, the ore packaging equipment and the blacksmiths shop. It contains a Blackstone oil engine and a water turbine, both can be used to power the machinery. Working machinery are the Californian stamps, a screw classifier, the original compressor and the unique haulage winch. There is a shaft with inside and outside settling tanks. There are various tramways including an inclined tramway to the lower adit.

When a mine finally closed the equipment was sold off, either for use on another mine or for its scrap value. The company which worked the mine at last was in debt to the land owner for rent and for royalties on the ore extracted. There was a legal dispute and the company left the machinery on the site in lieu of payment. It seems the dispute was never resolved and the site was left untouched for many years. After more than 30 years a group of mining enthusiasts, the Kelly Mine Preservation Society, convinced the owner to lease the site to them. The result is a unique collection of mining machinery still remaining on its original site.

This is only one of numerous mines in the area, which worked the shiny ore, micaceous haematite. The largest mien of the area was the Great Rock Mine at Hennock. It worked longer than Kelly mine, until 1969, and when it closed the the production of shiny ore in Britain ended.