This walk, on Sunday 25th June, started with eleven of us from the aircraft dispersal bay now used as a car park closest to Roborough Rock. The rock has been known over the years by several names: Udal Torre, Ullestorre Rock. Ulster Rock and Udell Torre.
The raised hump in the grass with a flat top, to the left of the rock, is the remains of an Allan Williams anti-aircraft turret. These were installed during WW2 at RAF Harrowbeer with a .303 machine gun or similar to protect against air attack.
A still-working drinking fountain from 1897 …..
Commemorating Victoria Regina 1837-1897.
The appearance of the ground in this area is similar to that seen on the 25th March walk when we saw remains of the North Roborough Down Mine. A map reference for the southern mine locates it mainly on the near-area of the old airfield.
The photograph above shows a road bridge of which there still several identical ones over Devonport Leat – there is one by the Yelverton shops and another across the road from The Burrator Inn.
Close to the road bridge, there is a pipe that runs from Devonport Leat (inaugurated 1801) to the nearby Plymouth Leat, built by Francis Drake in 1591. The Devonport Leat receives water in times of heavy rain that drains from the old airfield and this is transferred to the Plymouth Leat to run across Roborough Down past Clearbrook and eventually down to the River Meavy.
The Plymouth Leat was originally dug as an earthen ditch. It was lined with granite slabs in 1871 – and rendered redundant when Burrator Reservoir was inaugurated in 1898.
There still signs of the original Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, built by Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt and opened in 1823. This was a horse-drawn tramway. The setts can be seen clearly if you zoom in on the Google Satellite map linked at the end of this article.
The railway embankment is part of the of the South Devon & Tavistock Railway that opened on Wednesday June 21st 1859, running from Plymouth to Tavistock. It was built in the broad gauge (7 ft 0¼ ins compared to standard gauge 4 ft 8½ ins). The engineer was a Mr Bampton who died in 1857; the Railway Company subsequently secured the services of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but as he was already busy with the Royal Albert Bridge across the River Tamar at Saltash, the work was done by his chief assistant, Mr R P Brereton, and two Assistant Engineers, by the names of Grose and Glennie.
This kissing gate marks a footpath that runs alongside the railway embanlment for a secluded stretch.
There aren’t many places on Dartmoor where you can find wild bamboo!
After passing back through the railway embankment, we enter Mabor Wood and climb a slope that is good to reach the end of, when it is hot. That is where we had a short break.
A small detour leads to the entrance to a 200-yard long tunnel on Devonport Leat – a spooky place if you venture inside.
At a certain point along the road that passes the residences on Chub Tor Road, there is a granite post with the number “13” carved in relief on the top. This marks 13 miles from, presumably Crabtree, Plymouth, where Tyrwhitt’s railway started from.
The photo above shows the group back at the small road bridge over Devonport Leat, shown in one of the photographs above.