Somerset Mineral Railway

Bearland Ventilation Chimney is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and was on the Buildings at Risk Register. It was built in 1860 by The Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company and is said to be the only complete example of its kind to remain in the West Country. Identified as being in very poor condition in 2002, it became the driving force behind a bid by The Exmoor National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and others to the  Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to conserve and provide access and interpretation works to three iconic sites relating to the former West Somerset Mineral Railway.

Jonathan Rhind Architects were appointed to stabilise, repair and conserve the chimney; a far from easy task given its isolated location on a steep slope amidst thick forestry land and the presence of a potentially  unsafe, in-filled mine shaft on the hillside just below it. The work concluded in September 2008.

Rob Wilson-North, Head of Historic Environment at Exmoor National Park Authority said “It’s great to see such good progress being made to this wonderful example of Victorian engineering and we look forward to  being able to make the site more accessible to people”.

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