On Saturday 18th May, one week early because of the DPA AGM, 17 members and friends met at Meldon Dam car park. It was a rather grey day but we were dry! The walk started with a fairly steep slope down to the woods.

 

Beech trees covering a hedge

Beech trees covering a hed

 

On reaching the woods, just at the entry, there is a hedge of beech trees the roots of which are almost hiding the hedge (wall?) from view.

 

Tin mine adit

Tin mine adit

 

The first manmade item of interest was an unexplained embankment, quite high, that had bridge abutments with a field gate between them. Close to it is a tin mine adit into the hill. There are recorded shafts in the ground above here.

 

Clam bridge no. 1

Clam bridge no. 1

 

We encountered two clam bridges on this walk – this one we crossed for a short time and then we came back over it again.

 

Water wheelpit

Water wheelpit

 

Right beside the bridge is an old water wheelpit – the gate on the end of the bridge can be seen in the photograph. This wheel was fed by a leat and reservoir and was used to drive flat-rods over the river (West Okement) to pump out the old limestone quarry. Another wheel nearby was fed by a leat from the Red-a-Ven.

 

Finger dumps

Finger dumps

 

Waste material (chert?) was brought over the river (by tramway?). There are appropriate bridge abutments over the track we were on. It was dumped by tramway into finger dumps.

 

Meldon viaduct

Meldon viaduct

 

From near here there is a view of the Meldon viaduct.

 

Celandine

Celandine

 

There are various wild flowers in bloom at this time of year.

 

Believed chert in the old limestone quarry

Believed chert in the old limestone quarry

 

The old limestone quarry, used to produce lime in the nearby kiln to “sweeten” the land for agriculture, is surrounded by chert and it is mostly this that is left – the limestone was dug out at a depth equivalent to the height of the viaduct. Pumping out the water that drained into the pit probably made the exercise uneconomic.

 

Meldon Pool

Meldon Pool

 

The old quarry is now a deep pool.

 

Lime kiln (west)

Lime kiln (west)

 

A lime kiln was built near the quarry with an inclined plane to tram stone up to fill the kiln.

 

Meldon Viaduct

Meldon Viaduct

 

There followed a pleasant section of the walk under the viaduct …..

 

Clam bridge no. 2

Clam bridge no. 2

 

The section ended with a steep descent to a second clam bridge.

 

Bluebells in Meldon Woods

Bluebells in Meldon Woods

 

Across the river, the bluebells were still present although they were beginning to be “past their best”.

 

Bluebells

Bluebells

 

Nevertheless, the flowers were worth seeing.

 

Lime kiln (east), pre-1790

Lime kiln (east), pre-1790

 

A second kiln is found east of the river, this was on an Okehampton Estate map dated 1790 and it served nearby small quarries on this side of the river.

 

Looking up the lime kiln "well" at the back where it was loaded

Looking up the lime kiln “well” at the back where it was loaded

 

This view was obtained by crawling through the open grate and pointing the camera straight up at the sky!

 

Turbine house

Turbine house

 

Very close to the kiln is the believed site of a crushing shed where finger dump waste was crushed for ballast on the railway and beyond that was the turbine house where a water-powered turbine provided electricity for the quarry.

 

Meldon Dam

Meldon Dam

 

Up the valley, the dam.

 

 

Aplite quarry 2 (south)

Aplite quarry 2 (south)

 

Aplite, a rock bearing rare minerals, was quarried here and was utilised partly by a glass factory from about 1919 to 1922 when it closed.

 

Another view of the viaduct

Another view of the viaduct

 

The viaduct is hard to escape from!

 

The group with the viaduct behind

The group with the viaduct behind

 

So, too, is my camera for the group photograph!

 

Meldon Dam

Meldon Dam

 

As we progressed along a “mountain” track, the dam loomed ever nearer.

 

 

Stepped spillway on the dam

Stepped spillway on the dam

 

The spillway system of the dam is a stepped system to dissipate energy that might otherwise erode the structure.

 

One of two surveyor's pillars

One of two surveyor’s pillars

 

There is a surveyor’s pillar at each end of the dam that was used to check angles and curve of the dam as it was built.

Looking up the reservoir from near the middle of the dam

Looking up the reservoir from near the middle of the dam

 

The dam was recently fitted with an anti-submarine net, or so some would have you believe. There is a float in the left end of the photograph. The cable is apparently installed to “snag” certain items of rubbish and flotsam reaching or going over the dam.

 

 

View from the redoubt in the middle of the dam

View from the redoubt in the middle of the dam

 

There is quite a good view of the curve in the dam from the central area where there is a wider section that juts out into the lake.

 

Looking down from the middle of the dam

Looking down from the middle of the dam

 

The photograph above was obtained by poking the camera out over the edge of the parapet and trusting to luck, pointing down!

 

Commemorative plaque near the dam on the car park side

Commemorative plaque near the dam on the car park side

 

The group once again seemed to enjoy the features they had seen – and there is a lot to see at Meldon.

Satellite map + GPS track

More photographs on the Dartmoor CAM web site