The DPA Short Walk on Wednesday 25th October 2017 started from a car park on the B3212 between Dousland and Princetown, A group of
DPA members and friends set out to see several local features, including of course, the DPA’s very own tor, Sharpitor, that was finally purchased in February 1984, following years of argument about the area being developed for various purposes, following the abandonment of old wartime installations.
The photograph above shows Sharpitor, elevation 410 metres (1345 feet), as seen from the road and the two nearby car parks.
Just up the hill from the car park, in the Dousland direction, are three stones, not far away from Goadstone Pool. There is confusion about where the Goad Stone, or Goad’s Stone, is today and the most likely answer is that it is no longer in place. It was said to be an old mile stone but the one above is quite modern – and its top half is quite legible, unlike that of the Goadstone as described. The inscriptions is: “PLYMOUTH 12 MILES PRINCE TOWN 3”. The other two stones here, one each side of the road, are water catchment area boundary stones associated with Burrator Reservoir, inscribed “PCWW 1917”.
From the milestone, the walk proceeded south to the Bronze Age burial cairn and cist below Sharpitor, which can be seen in the background in the photograph above.
From the cist, it is only a short walk to the stone row, described as double but ruinously robbed, probably by road builders, that runs almost touching Goadstone Pool.
The pool is a feature that attracts a lot of visitors due to the livestock that frequently use it as a watering hole, the road can just be seen in the background in the photograph above.
During reconnaissance visits prior to this walk, some disturbances were noticed in the ground near the old road up to RAF Sharpitor. At first, it was assumed they were to do with the use of the area during WW2, possibly as the signs of old buildings. Then it seemed that the sides of these trench-like pits were built of stones and the possibility was considered that they may relate to a settlement of longhouses. The latest musings of this writer is that they are probably stone pits, i.e. pits from which ready-made stones were taken for building purposes. The features do not appear on the Walkhampton tithe map nor any Ordnance Survey maps. There is mention of small stone pits on this north-west slope of Sharpitor that might appear as hut circles in THIS record. However, these features do not look like hut circles.
During WW2, Peak Hill was developed as part of the nation-wide Gee system of radio-navigation beams for guiding war planes into the continent. The establishment on the hill was designated as RAF Sharpitor. There was also a Royal Observer Corps underground monitoring post established in 1957 or 1963 to listen for nuclear testsduring the Cold War; it was closed down in 1971.
The photograph above is taken looking north. There is little to see of the underground bunker …..
There is a trace of the entrance to the bunker and also of the ventilation shaft.
The view from Peak Hill eastwards offers a notable view of Leather Tor.
Below Peak Hill is a lesser tor called Lowery Tor and quite spectacular views of the Burrator area.
Looking down from Lowery Tor, the new roof on the recently conserved Lowery Barn can be seen glinting in the sunlight. This medieval settlement has been known variously during its history as Lower Lowery, Higher Lowery and Middle Lowery! The name varied over the years due to the rise and fall of farms below and above the site where this last remaining building sits. It was rebuilt in 1873 and is probably the last od the Lowery buildings to have been refurbished. There is little to be seen of Higher Lowery (the Devonport leatman’s house, just above the leat) and the original Lower Lowery, sited just off the road, in the trees beside the reservoir, seems to have completely disappeared.
One of the five DPA boundary stones around Sharpitor, this one is located at SX 55830 70185 and is viewed looking back towards Peak Hill. The cleard green ‘track’ going towards Peak Hill is actually part of a Bronze Age enclosure that is built against an extension of the Walkhampton Common Reave that also runs in that general direction.
Approaching Sharpitor from the west side, it looks something like a saddle. The rock formation above sits on the ridge between the two elevated ends of the tor.
The rock above is located at the easy-to-access north end of Sharpitor, approaching from the west. I propose that we describe it as a massive, unfinished cross?!
Finally, another DPA boundary stone, at SX 55925 70573, seen on the way back to the car park, which is visible just over the stone.
An extra photograph to show what the DPA stones look like when seen in good light and without too much lichen growth on them …..
A low-angle photograph of the DPA stone at SX 56145 70465, on the north-east corner of the DPA land, with Stanlake Plantation behind, taken on another walk (29th April 2015).