Thursday 25th June proved to be a really hot, sunny day, even though I wore a fleece to the work site. That must be a reptilian characteristic – ready to spring into action!  From the car park just off the A386 main road, on the road down to Clearbrook, we made our way down to Drake’s (Plymouth) Leat.

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Drake’s Leat after the bracken has been cut, waiting for clearing away.

The photograph above shows how the leat looks after the folks with slashers and the machinists with their brush cutters have passed. It is a bit of a mess …..

The leat, cleaned up.

The leat, cleaned up.

An on-going comfort is that the bracken seems to be less, and growing less tall.  Originally, much of the leat was hidden under gorse that was five or six feet high in many places, except for short lengths and crossing places, be they clapper bridges or paths where the leat walls were worn down.

Raking up bracken cuttings.

Raking up bracken cuttings.

Besides volunteers tidying away cut bracken, the photograph above also shows an oddity in the leat side at the bottom right. There are a number of these where it appears that there was possibly a drainage point into the leat from the uphill side.

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The slab above is almost opposite one of the leat points that appear to be inlet or drainage points. There are three holes in the stone that are quite visible plus a fourth in the dark area, offset from the line of three. The stone is also shaped on this face.  This may have been a stone “robbed” from the nearby horse-drawn tramway, although the arrangement of the holes is unusual.

Clapper bridge.

Clapper bridge.

The clapper bridge above is at grid reference SX 50951 64102.

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Volunteers (nearest camera) raking cuttings.

The volunteers today were: Bill Radcliffe, Bob Bruce, Chris Francis, David Auty, Derek Collins, Elaine Viant, Janet Reeves, John Viant, John Watson, Keith Ryan, Rachel Watson, Stephen Barrow and Sylvia Hamilton, total 13.  Once again, thank you to Sylvia for the carrot cake. The DPA Conservation Cake Team delivers again!

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Bracken cutters at work.

After lunch, the temperature rose to a level at which, after an hour or so’s effort, around 2.15 pm, we decided that we had done enough to warrant a withdrawal to more conducive surroundings, for rehydration and debriefing purposes.

Dog rose.

Dog rose.

A GPS record of the length of leat cleared today yielded exactly 500 metres (564 yards). This has been added to the Google Satellite view of the area HERE.