Sometimes I sit here and wonder what the whats-it can I say that hasn’t been said already – the joy of being a regular blogger!

The DPA’s intrepid volunteers were out again on Friday 1st November, on the Plymouth Leat, built (profitably) by Sir Francis Drake, which became operational on 24th April 1591. The water flowed from a headweir about ¾ mile north of today’s Burrator Dam for about 17½ miles to a millpool at Sourpool (close to the recently-closed Derry’s, in Plymouth). Of course, it wasn’t water for the people of Plymouth – it was water for the new mills built along the leat – and leased by Sir Francis.

Unfortunately I wasn’t concentrating when I recorded a GPS track along the finished work and I returned the following morning to repeat the exercise. While looking for the precise start point, two couples walking dogs kindly asked if I had lost my dog! I explained who I was and what I was doing and they expressed a lot of gratitude for what we do! One gentleman went away with our web address and may be in contact to join us.

As usual, the work party kept very busy and any photographs were taken either after we finished or during lunch …..

DPA sign beside the cleared leat

DPA sign beside the cleared leat

If you click on the photos, you can see enlarged versions, even click twice …..

The weather forecast had shown an awful lot of blue over SW England for Friday – but we only saw about six drops, although it set in to drizzle as we were packing up the tools and on the drive to the subsequent debriefing session. We were, indeed, fortunate.

I have to thank Bill, Chris, Derek, Emily, John, Sylvia and Val who with myself made just eight of us, but what a team ….. we cleared 229 ± 3 metres according to my GPS unit.

The DPA "A-Team", 1 Nov. 2013

The DPA “A-Team”, 1 Nov. 2013

Even with such a small team, and after such an accomplishment, special thanks are due to two people (1) Sylvia, Cake Queen, for providing lemon cake – we had to eat a second helping at lunch-time in case the forecast heavy rain came along after midday and (2) Derek, Machinery Manager, for providing the brush-cutters and hand-tools.

Low-level view of what the leat looks like when it is cleared of vegetation.

What the leat looks like when it is cleared of vegetation.

There is another 136 metres of vegetation to clear, beyond which there is a further 177 metres to the nearby road bridge, known to some as “Dead Man’s Bridge”.  Within the final 177 metres, there are 40 metres of regrown, dead bracken that could be cut very rapidly.

Following all the hard work that was done, the work party then had a most welcome debriefing session at The Rock Inn, Yelverton. Progress on the leat to date can be seen on this updated Google aerial view.