Friday 8th January 2016 – the DPA Conservation Team reached another landmark by finishing the clearance work along Drake’s Leat that brought water into Plymouth on 24th April 1591.  We had started with bracken cutting on 16th June 2015.  Bearing in mind that we had cancelled three work days before Christmas due to bad weather, this was a welcome achievement. The work is a lot easier now that all the big gorse is already removed – that work having started in Jan/Feb. 2007.

The things you see in the car park!

Car park scene.

You can see some funny things in the car park, with folks strugglimg out of or into various items of garb! Luckily, there’s none of that in this photograph!


Water was running in the leat.

After all the rain we have had recently, it’s no wonder water was running in the leat. This is runoff from the old WW2 aerodrome that was RAF Harrobeer close to Yelverton. The runoff is leated away via William Crymes’ leat (1599) back to the River Meavy.


Wading while we worked!

The photograph above shows the sort of work that was done today – using brush cutters, loppers, a little sawing and a lot of forking out leaves.


Reflections at lunch time.

I tried to be clever with this caption above …..


“Arty” reflections at lunch time.

….. and I failed with this one – it was taken looking into the sun and was going to win us a prize! This is the first “clapper” bridge over the leat, at SX 51601 65320.


Another cleared section, except for some leaves on the water.

The valiant volunteers today were: Chris Francis, Derek Collins, Elaine Viant, Helen Wilson, John Lucas, John Viant, John Watson, Keith Ryan, Rachel Watson, Stephen Barrow and Sylvia Hamilton: 11 in total.

I have once again to say “Thank you” to Rachel for bringing chocolate brownie cake (superb) as well as an excellent fruit cake. It was worth the journey just for these! In a moment of flippancy, my email to the group about the impending work day included the line: “All the usual addenda apply, meet for 10 am, bring refreshments, sensible clothing, cake for Keith, etc.”

We do have fun in the DPA Conservation Team! You are welcome to join us – especially if you bring cake! Even without cake, our green gym exercises are completely free ….. why not come and “have a go”?


A modern, wide concrete bridge for commoners’ vehicles.


The photograph above shows the second bridge we came to, at SX 51694 65433.


Lycoperdon perlatum – a common “puffball”.

There were several clumps of a stalked puffball mushroom in the vicinity of the leat at the far end, towards Yelverton. A collection of images can be seen here, in the results of a Google Images search.


“These fungi may be found in grassy places at any time during the summer and autumn” – according to WPK Findlay in “Wayside and Woodland Fungi”, Warne, published 1967 & 1978, page 80. They are obviously past their best in these photographs, taken today, in January.


A fairly presentable semi-close-up of an individual mushroom.


More information can be found on Wikipedia – Puffball.


Almost at the Yelverton end of the leat.

In the afternoon, the sun really shone quite nicely. The bridge above is the third clapper bridge encountered, at SX 51737 65528.


The leat where it enters Roborough Common from private farm land.

The photo above marks the end of the task.


The footbridge near the end of the leat where it runs across the Common.

The photograph above was taken near the end of the leat, looking back towards Roborough/Plymouth.


Almost silhouettes in the leat?

The caption above is just an excuse to show my age – Silhouettes .


Another reflective moment at the end of the day.

The distance cleared today, from the car park to the edge of the Common, was 630 metres (689 yards).

The total length of the leat is 3,932 metres (4,300 yards or 2.11 miles); judging from GPS records (for which there is always an error of +/- approx. 3 metres). The length is made up from seven visits.

The GPS track of today’s efforts has been added to the project map in Google Satellite view, HERE.

Remember to zoom in on the map to see detail, either by mouse thumbwheel or using the “+” and “-” keys , and move around the map by “dragging” or using the four cursor arrow keys on your keyboard.