Tuesday 16th June saw the trusty DPA Conservation team starting work again, clearing bracken on Roborough Common. We started at “The Camp” – the old Iron Age hilltop structure and moved onto Drake’s 1591 Plymouth Leat after the morning coffee break. This team doesn’t hang around!

Bill, Sylvia, David & Chris working on

Bill, Sylvia, David & Chris working on “The Camp”

The bracken growth seems to be a lot less this year – this seems to be true with each passing year, showing that the DPA team are having the desired effect. Hopefully, the bracken’s rhizome structure is getting weaker the more we cut the top growth.



The outer marginal areas are also showing less signs of vigorous growth that was so obvious when we first started this project.



As is the norm in recent years, we use a combination of hand tools, mainly slashers, and a few brush cutters.





The volunteers who were with us today were (I have to check my field list because of the usual memory problems) Bill Radcliffe, Bob Bruce, Chris Francis, David Auty, Derek Collins, Elaine Viant, John Lucas, John Viant, Keith Ryan, Michael Lingley, Stephen Barrow, Sylvia Hamilton, Val Barns: 13 in total.


Mid-morning coffee break, under the usual tree!

Once again, a feature of the day was “cake in the break”, cherry oat, from Sylvia!


David, in Drake’s Plymouth Leats

As with “The Camp”, the bracken in the leat seemed to be less vigorous than last year, although perhaps not weakened as much as at “The Camp”. The photograph above was taken from a low angle so the growth is relatively emphasised in height.


Chris & Stephen

The photograph above shows work proceeding back towards where the leat exits from the common towards Plymouth, where John had started, working towards us.


David & Val – looking towards Clearbrook

The photograph above was taken from a higher viewpoint, showing the bracken in and on the edges of the leat to be shorter than that away from the bank (which we do not cut).


John, David, Val & Elaine

The photograph above shows a small group doing what we normally do in this place – a work in progress!

Bill, Sylvia, David & Chris working on

Part of the Roborough Common herd of Dartmoor ponies beside the car park

Besides the hilltop area and its outpost, the distance covered on the leat was 551 metres (602 yards), finishing at map reference SX 50952 64043. A new Google Satellite map has been started HERE (you can zoom in to see the bushes, using your thumbwheel or the “+” and “-” keys). Although I calibrated the GPS unit and walked in the leat, it still indicated an error of ±3 metres and the recorded track isn’t always in the leat.  In 2014, the first day of work was on July 10th, covering 692 ± 3 metres (755 yards). See, perhaps I shouldn’t have left early! There may have beenan extra machinist on that day ….. anyway, my sincere thanks to all those volunteers who came, it was a good day.