Dear Folks – What can I say? Today was simply another excellent day of conservation work on Dartmoor, preserving the archaeology of Devonport Leat for future generations.

This was our 15th work day, Fri 24th Feb, and I want to thank Barbara & Roger, Barry & Tanya, Bill, Chris, Derek, Elaine & John, Helen, Ian, John, John & Rachel, Kathy, Keith, Nigel, Stephanie, Sylvia and Val, who with myself, made a total of 21 willing souls.

It was almost perfect except that “you know who” forgot to take his camera so there is no photograph today to show you all the smiling faces.

We removed scrub trees that have grown in the leat and on its close banks since it stopped running in 1898, that was when the reservoir at Burrator came into use. The leat has been little managed since then, although some trees have been cut before and have regrown as multi-stemmed “clumps”. The new pathway for walkers away from the road is coming along very well and, once again, a group of passers-by complimented us on our efforts.

Incidentally, in case you were unaware, as I was, the leat, that started running in 1801, was built during the reign of George III (1760-1820). You can say “Its Georgian!”

Another “thank you” goes to Stephanie for bringing a choice of three menu items for refreshment – chocolate cake, date & walnut cake and some rather tasty biscuits. It just gets better and better on the leat – I don’t think it can go on this way!

This was the last day of our season where we were pressing ahead, going along the leat towards Yelverton. Our next session will be spent cutting about 90 yards of gorse back on the golf course, where Barry & Tanya made a good start today cutting the brambles that were such an impediment to our intended activities in this section. The last day will be spent on a tidy-up walk along the whole length that we have worked on to date.

Depending on circumstances, our last day may involve reclaiming logs left by the residents to turn into longer-term habitat piles of hardwood logs for the benefit of wood-boring insects that so far have not benefited so much from our activities.

After the day of work, complete with morning, lunch and afternoon breaks, we repaired once again to – guess where – The Rock Hotel at Yelverton. At one point I counted 18 of us, all enjoying a really sociable time! If you would like to sample what we get up to, volunteers are always welcome – just make contact via the DPA web site Contact us page.