‘Twas on Thursday 6th October 2016 that the volunteers of the DPA Conservation Team gathered near Yelverton for the start of the winter season on Devonport Leat.  I am always amazed at how efficient this team  are and how much ground they can cover in one work session.  I had planned to start at the small bridge nearest to the end of the leat that forms part of the cycle track and then work back towards the small road bridge, but no, we started at the road bridge and cleared the whole section with ease – then foregathering at the Rock Inn for a well-earned debriefing session!

DPA Conservation volunteers arriving in the morning.

DPA Conservation volunteers arriving in the morning.

The weather forecast, so important in these outdoor activities, proved to be correct – dry with sunny periods.  After a short discussion, it was decided to start working right beside where the DPA’s “APY wagon” was parked.  This was by the small bridge down from the main A386 main road, which is almost opposite the turning to Crapstone.  The “recce” a few days ago indicated that there were brambles enough for all.

This ‘post’ is largely a photographic report …..

The small road bridge over the leat, from the "north - BEFORE clearing.

The small road bridge over the leat, from the “north – before clearing.

 

We're ready!

We’re ready!

 

The scene , from the "north" - after clearing the brambles.

The scene , from the “north” – after clearing the brambles.

 

Looking from the bridge towards Yelverton - before cutting the brambles.

Looking from the bridge towards Yelverton – before cutting the brambles.

The same view, after clearing away the bramble growth …..

Looking towards Yelverton, after clearing.

Looking towards Yelverton, after clearing.

The next pair of “before” and “after” photos show a little of Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt’s horse-drawn tramway, being the original Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, that opened in 1823 …..

Showing the road bridge over the leat, brambles and a double row of tramway granite setts.

Showing the road bridge over the leat, brambles and a double row of tramway granite setts.

 

Cleared area showing the granite setts and a rare piece of iron rail.

Cleared area showing the granite setts and a rare piece of iron rail.

The short length of iron rail is one of very few pieces remaining from the old railway – the leat can be seen to the left.

The volunteers today were Chris Francis, Claude Williams, Derek Collins, Helen Wilson, John Watson, Keith Ryan, Mally Stephen, Rachel Watson, Sylvia Hamilton and Val Barns: 10 in total.  And – there was cake, kindly provided by Sylvia.  The colourful decoration was worthy of a photograph, but sadly, I failed to think of this at the time!

I reckon they've gone for coffee and left me to it!

I reckon they’ve gone for coffee and left me to it!

 

Lone machinist.

Lone machinist finishing a patch of brambles.

 

Here I am, up to my neck in it again!

Here I am, up to my neck in it again!

 

A photo showing a partially cleared section of Devonport Leat.

A photo showing a partially cleared section of Devonport Leat.

The photo above shows the leat next to the small wooden bridge on the Sustrans No. 27 cycle track, also known as Drake’s Trail.

The cycle track bridge area, after clearing.

The cycle track bridge area, after clearing.

At one point, some riders came by, complimenting us on our efforts …..

Passing riders.

Passing riders, on the cycle track alongside the leat.

 

View of the leat, looking towards the end at the main road into Yelverton.

View of the leat, looking towards the end at the main road into Yelverton.

Somewhere in the photo above is the side-brach that drains the old WW2 aerodrome, RAF Harrowbeer. …..

The drain from RAF Harrowbeer, after clearing.

The drain from RAF Harrowbeer, after clearing.

 

Trametes versicolor, Turkey tail, a polypore bracket fungus.

Trametes versicolor, Turkey tail, a polypore bracket fungus.

Along the final section of the leat, we saw an old tree stump bearing Trametes versicolor, Turkey tail fungus.

DPA volunteers at the end of the leat.

DPA volunteers at the end of the leat.

The photograph above is “magic” – there were ten volunteers, all in the photograph – so how was it taken?  Clue: it was taken by two of them!  The last time we were here was at the end of the original clearance of the leat , on Thursday 14th March 2013.   Prior to that, we first reached the end on Thursday 28th February 2013, when I inserted a link about the nostalgic End of the Line.  This isn’t so relevant this time as it is the start of the season, however, it is still a good link!

The distance cleared today was measured by GPS at 240 metres (262 yards) ±3 metres. The length is plotted on the project’s Google Map, HERE.