Following on from “Virtual Walks” to Golden Dagger Mine (March), Powdermills (April), Haytor (May) and Venford Reservoir (June), this is another DPA Short Walk cancelled due to the Coronavirus situation. It was scheduled for 25th July to Swelltor Quarry. There are actually six quarries to consider. excluding a couple of small, old quarries marked on the maps.
The photographs and satellite tracks (linked below) are from two reconnaissance walks on 7th and 15th July.
Crip Tor (left) and waste tips at Swell Tor (right). The track up the middle is the old tramway from Foggintor that branched off the 1823 Tyrwhitt horse-drawn PDR – Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway. The feature across the photograph, near the camera, is the old 1883 GWR-Princetown Branch Line. The track runs straight to the top of Swelltor Quarry and has two side branches running left, around the hill. The first side-branch (hard to see here) ran to Sailor’s Home Quarry. The second branch, which this walk follows, and is seen in the photograph, runs left to Crip Tor Quarry (this being the quarry into Crip Tor). These are both seen in the photographs below. There is another Criptor Quarry, near Criptor farm, at SX 5587 7295. The photograph was taken from beside siding that runs to Big Tip, at Foggintor.
The track approaching the tor, note the granite setts – these are removed from the other tramway tracks.
A closer view – this rocky tower is a landmark at the top of an inclined plane that ran down the other side of the tor, to the old railways.
Inside Crip Tor Quarry, although probably more properly called Sailor’s Home Quarry – we are standing more or less on the end of the tramway track. There is not much of the tor remaining.
A sturdy gunpowder store in the quarry, possibly used as a shelter during blasting …..
Looking into the quarry below – Sailor’s Home Quarry, the first (lower) side branch off the tramway going straight up Swell Tor ran around the hill into the far end of this view, close to the cleft in the rocks. The old 1823/1883 railway track-bed (pale coloured) can be seen clearly down the hill. Just to the right of the cleft, at the far end of the long work-face on the right, is the access to the inclined plane that runs down to the 1823 / 1883 railways.
Another view of the explosives store.
Looking into Swell Tor Upper Quarry – through the cleft that leads to the lower quarry and to the buildings, such as the Smithy …..
Looking into Swell Tor Lower Quarry – the upper quarry is to the right, through the cleft that is now hidden. The main entrance is hidden to the left.
There is a man-made structure In the centre of this photograph of the lower quarry in the area that on the old map was the end of the tramway out of the quarry …..
Zoomed view of the old loading quay for the tramway.
Two sett makers’ bankers where setts were made for the tramways, with telltale piles of chippings.
The Manager’s House with the Blacksmith’s Shop behind, with standing walls.
A view through the entrance into the lower quarry with the cleft into the upper quarry beyond.
Foundations of a possible pulley system that worked with a winch to get wagons up the slope into the entrance to the quarry. The Blacksmith’s Shop is standing across the railway siding.
Ruins of the Engine and Compressor Shed.
The Blacksmith’s Shop, with a stone to the right in which the sharpness of drills were tested.
Looking across to the Loading Quay and Crushing Shed.
Base of a winch mechanism.
A view into the Smithy.
The Loading Quay, beside the railway siding from the 1883 Princetown (later, GWR) Railway line. Prior to this, this was the route of the 1823 Thomas Tyrwhitt Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway line.
View into Sailor’s Home Quarry – the first side branch up the hill at the start of the walk ran around the hill to terminate near the gap in the far rock face. The double-wall foundations at the right of the photograph mark the top of the inclined plane that took stone down to the 1883 railway.
The “other side” of the Crip Tor rock pile seen at the start of the walk, here it is at the top of the inclined plane.
The inclined plane, complete with granite setts, above the old railway line.
Rock crushiing area.
Wooden railway sleepers still remain, complete with nails, in the siding running into the quarry.
Abandoned practice work pieces made by apprentices.
Site of the weighbridge.
The famous Swelltor corbels that were destined for the widening of New London Bridge in 1902-1904. The bridge was sold to an American in 1968 and was dismantled and moved to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and reassembled. Originally, 650 corbels were cut and they can be seen, still in good order HERE.
The reason they remain here is probably because they were cut too short? The specifications stipulated they were to be 10-feet long, but these are close to 9-ft 6 inches in length.
Two wooden beams remain in the ground at the site of the Points Shed: the main line comes in from the right and the siding to the quarry runs back to the left.
The buffers at the end of the quarry siding, near the Points Shed.
Railway bridge, actually a cattle “creep” that enables livestock to “access all areas”.
The logan stone on the summit of Little King’s Tor.
A last photograph showing the platelayers’ hut base near the point where the GWR cutting through Little King’s Tor (left) and the original 1823 tramway (to the right of the little tor) came together after thew tor. The original horse-drawn line (1823) made a tighter turn out around the tor whereas steam locomotives and larger wagons (1883) needed a more gentle turn.