Foggintor Quarry History and Description
Foggintor Quarry is a short and easy walk from Princetown. There is good parking at the Dartmoor Visitors centre with disabled access. Foggintor quarry can be reached by following the old railway tracks, probably passable by wheel chair and pushchair, but please check first at the visitor centre.
Work started at Foggintor around 1800. The Granite was extracted, and originally used in the construction of Dartmoor Prison constructed to house French prisoners of war. The materials were also used to construct much of Princetown, which grew up around the prison.
Foggintor Quarry has long been abandoned but it was not only a quarry but a thriving community. In it's hey day around 1840 hundreds of men were employed in the area. By 1850 Hill cottages had a total of 10 dwellings all with very productive gardens. On reaching the quarry it becomes immediately obvious that using the suffix Tor is no longer warranted, all that remains is a hollowed out shell.
Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt (1762-1833) had visions of Dartmoor being a thriving place to live and work. Dartmoor Prison was his project he laid the first stone and the Prison was completed in 1809. After the declaration of peace in 1815 the Prison lay empty. Sir Thomas had not given up on his Dartmoor ambitions and realised that what Princetown needed was a railway. To carry materials mainly Granite from the moor to the port of Plymouth. The railway was completed in 1823 originally a horse drawn tramway transporting granite to Plymouth. The old tracks laid the foundations of what was to become the Plymouth to Yelverton railway, which ceased operations in 1953.
The much improved transport links allowed Dartmoor Granite to be used much further away. Foggintor granite was used to construct the column of Nelsons column. The railway served the other quarries long after the closure of Foggintor in 1906. Sewell Quarry continued to provide Granite until the 1930's.