It was a glorious sunny day on Thurs. 25th October when 29 of us gathered in the car parks below Sharpitor, the weather seemed too good to be true but it stayed with us for the whole walk. We must be a good-living lot!
It is always satisfying to see a good view of Sharpitor – one of the DPA’s own land-holdings.
The cist above is just of several Bronze Age remains in this area.
The history of Stanlake, dating from 1281, is not easy to work out. The Historic Environment Records state there were two longhouses, replaced with two other buildings, then one end of one house was incorporated into another house. To add to the story, a third dwelling was added in 1683. To top off the confusion, the Dartmoor Archive has a photograph from 1935 that shows a modern house here, very close to the leat.
Any walk along Devonport Leat in this area usually HAS to look for the famous doll’s head, also described as an Indian’s head or a Turk’s head. It all depends on whether the beholder visualises a bonnet, a feather head-dress or a turban. It is said to have been placed in the mortar by a French prisoner during the Napoleonic Wars. The artefact is showing signs of suffering now, whether through weathering or vandalism. This particular head is a (damaged) replica of the original – that having been replaced when a schoolchild won a local competition that ended the day with emplacing the new doll’s head. I have been lucky enough to photograph an undamaged version of the replica some years ago …..
I am inclined to see it as a simple doll’s head. Maybe the one in the leat will be replaced again one day? I remember it as being quite undamaged in about 1974 when Tom Gant showed it to me on a guided walk. How the years pass!
Devonport is not “manicured” along all its length with a lining of granite slabs – here it runs in a rough channel down Raddick Hill.
Black Tor Falls is not always easy to photograph with the trees casting their shade across the scene – but it is a very good ‘spot’ for a coffee break …..
There are only 16 in this photograph – the others were nearby or across the river via the rickety iron bridge.
There are still signs of tinners’ activities on the site – above is a double mortar stone from the ‘stamping’ of tin ore to render it into a powder before smelting.
The area around Black Tor Falls was surveyed for a reservoir but it was decided that the Burrator gorge area was more suitable, where a new reservoir came into use in 1898.
Black Tor was overseeing a lot of this walk, from beginning to end – it was only out of sight when we were in the shadow of the water fall.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable walk and this was reflected on in the Burrator Inn afterwards, over lunch.