Saturday, 9 July 2011

More Moor.

As we are still on the southern half of the Shroppie and I seem to have done that to death this year I thought some more from our weekend in Plymouth might be acceptable.
Last Monday was a real scorcher so we thought a nice walk in the woods would be acceptable. On the edge of Dartmoor is Burrator Reservoir which is largely surrounded by woodland, a mix of conifer plantation and broadleaved wood and that is where we headed.
At the side of the car park at Norsworthy Bridge there is a reminder of the moors industrial past.

It's the wheel pit of an old blowing house and the pile of stones at the back is the embankment for the leat which powered it.

Of the house itself very little remains, just a bit of the back wall and a soggy hollow. It is believed to have been one of the last working blowing houses but there seem to be no records of it, not even a name.
On the flat area above the car park was evidence of a modern industry,

logging. There are large areas of the moor under conifers.
Walking up beside the River Meavy brings you to Leather Tor Bridge,

the last clapper bridge to be built and unusual in having a parapet, Victorian health and safety?
As you cross the bridge and walk up the old track

you come to

the old potato cave, now nicely gated for our protection. Times past it was where the people of Leather Tor Farm would store their root crops through the winter. All the farms in the area were abandoned when the reservoir was built and all that remains here

are a few walls. a few hundred yards further you come across Devonport Leat,

built in the 1790's to carry water from the moor down to the town of Dock, now called Devonport, to supply the town and the Royal Navy. It now supplies the Walkhampton area and the excess goes into the reservoir.

A little way along there is a well preserved cist, a bronze age burial chamber

and also a medieval cross, the shaft on this one is a later replacement but the top and the socket stone are original. There are many of these on the moor, way markers from an earlier time. I think this one is called Lowery Cross but I'm open to correction.

You also get a splendid view of the reservoir. It's then all down hill to the bridge over the Meavy

and a quick paddle

for tired feet in Newleycombe (Nillacomb) Lake,( On the moor a "lake" is a small stream) and you're back at the car park..
It feels like I've just written a guide book to South Dartmoor, so to all those looking for narrowboats, sorry.
Addendum: Further research reveals that the cross is indeed Lowery Cross, a.k.a. Cross Gate Cross and is on the ancient track from Walkhampton via Fox Tor to the Holne/Buckfast area.

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