Kelly Mine

Useful Information

Location: Kelly Cross, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9SW.
Eastern flank of Dartmoor, within the National Park. A382 between Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead.
(50.6231332, -3.7050641)
Open: All year Wed, Sun.
After appointment.
Fee: free, donations welcome.
Classification: MineIron Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=2.5 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Tony Brooks (2016): Kelly Mine and the 'Shiny Ore' Mines of the Wray Valley, N Walter, 11 Lears Lane, Chudleigh, Devon TQ13 0LP, £12.99.
Address: Kelly Mine, Kelly Cross, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9SW, Tel: +44-1626-853127.
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 finally, operator went currupt.
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 Fe2O3. It was used mainly for the production of MIO (micaceous iron oxide) anti-corrosion paints. The ore has no value for the production of iron.

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 cracks, 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 groundwater which solved minerals from the rock, which were then deposited in the cracks and so the cracks were completely filled in. The resulting veins are called lodes, hydrothermal mineral deposits containg a wide variety of minerals and ores. 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 (KMPS). There is no underground tour, only surface buildings and machinery can be visited. The main sight is a 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 landowner 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 mine of the area was the Great Rock Mine at Hennock. It worked longer than Kelly mine, until 1969, and when it closed the production of shiny ore in Britain ended.