Where do I begin? It was a bright sunny morning when I reached the car park, ready for another day on the leat. The weather forecast was for a mixed day of sunny periods and showers. We did remarkably well, experiencing just one short, sharp shower at lunch-time.

On this occasion we were close to the small bridge on the road opposite the Crapstone turn-off from the A386. Three of us met the National Park person who is responsible for Dartmoor’s trees on Thursday and had a very fruitful discussion about what we were doing and what is left to be done. We were very happy to be told that we have done rather well, clearing the leat with minimal impact on the scene.

Today there were 16 of us, so I must say “Thank you” to Bill, Chris, Clifton, Derek, Elaine & Jihn, Ian, John L, Kathy, Mally, Neil, Nigel & Stephanie, Sylvia and Val, along with myself making up the number. This was our 22nd day of work on the leat.

We started, as usual, where we finished the previous work day, about 70 metres from the small road bridge over the leat. During the day, I heard at least three different persons or groups of passers-by complimenting us on the job that we are doing; always a comfort!

We had the usual quick coffee break before we started, as we had mostly travelled a distance to get there and, as usual, I said a few words. This time it was to emphasise the putting of larger logs in the base of the habitat piles for wood-boring insects to enjoy as the logs decay over the following years. I also said about hiding them from view with smaller branches and the “brash” so that people are not tempted to steal the logs.

Today we had only one chain-saw so progress was not as rapid but even then, we did a lot. We did not touch a large rhododendron on the south side of the old tramway, now the access road to local properties and serving as National Cycle Route 27, although the tree expert pointed out that it does show signs of Phytophthora. We will deal with that later.

Keeping up our tradition of “cake”, I must thank both Stephanie and Elaine for their much-appreciated culinary efforts – Elaine for her chocolate and orange cake and Stephanie for her almond slice masterpiece – which could rival Mr Kipling’s!

At the end of the day, we gathered for the final tool-gathering when we saw the scene below – Nigel returning Stephanie back to our neck of the woods! They had spent the day further down the leat doing a magnificent job of “tidying up”. This entails clearing out all of our usual “leavings” in or by the leat, so that the whole scene looks neat and tidy and is a credit to the activities of Dartmoor Preservation Association.

Arriving in style!

As the camera was “out” then we had to get a photograph of the group …..

The work party at the end of the day. Click the photograph to see a larger version.

This photograph shows the work team about to finish for the day. Usually it is a photograph taken at lunch-time, occasionally taken to show work activities and once, to show a certain leisure activity after a hard day’s work – when we have our regular de-briefing session during which various aspects of the work are discussed, aren’t they?!