Wednesday 25th January saw the first in the new programme of short walks take place. Like all the DPA walks over the years, these shorter walks are also free. We met in the car parks at Norsworthy Bridge, with 20 people registered, although three cancelled the night before due to forecast icy roads to the east of the moor and in the event, we started with 22 walkers! A few had simply “arrived” but they were all welcome.
The route was via Norsworthy Farm, out to Leathertor Bridge, via Keaglesborough Mine, Raddick Lane, Crazywell Pool, Crazywell Cross, the abandoned mill stone, the ruins of Roundypark Farm and back to the car park, passing the feathers and tare stone. Back in the car park a little was said about Bal Mine and its covered tunnel for pumping rods going to the workings behind the car park.
Link to the Google Satellite aerial view with the GPS track of the walk. You can use your mouse thumbwheel to zoom into the map and almost see our footprints! You can certainly see the abandoned mill stone shown in a photo below.
There are some photographs presented below that were taken on a reconnaissance walk except for the group photo, that was taken at Crazywell Cross. The text under each photo is essentially an extended caption to the photo, except for the tailpiece..
At Crazywell Cross, twenty-one of us including the photographer, two walkers only wanted to come with us as far as the pool, to make their own way back.
Above: the remains of the Bal Mine wheelpit, now largely filled-in. Behind it is the earth bank that brought the leat that carried water to drive the wheel. The tailrace can be found just left of the bottom corner of the photograph, across the track into the car park.
Newleycombe Lake, between the two separate car park areas, between the River Meavy and Narrator Brook which is further around the tip of the reservoir.
Drill testing stone in the track from Norsworthy Bridge up to Norsworthy Farm. It is about 12 paces from the big tree between the start of the track and the car park, just left of centre going up the slope. It is produced by testing the sharpness of chisels or drills and suggests that there was a blacksmith “shop” in the area.
To reach this old tinner’s stamping mill, go about 50 meters up the track (which is Norsworthy Lane) from the car park at Norsworthy Bridge (far end of Burrator Reservoir from the dam) towards Crazy Well Pool. Turn left at the junction and look for the second stile (GPS location: SX 5178 6960) on the left after about 110 meters. The River Meavy runs right alongside the site. An unusual stone with a long slot in it can be seen left of centre in the photo above. Four mortarstones on the floor near the slotted stone. These bear depressions from where the stamps ground the tin ore prior to smelting, probably at another site. Other mortarstones are in this area, including in the river …..
A closer view of the mortarstones with the slotted stone behind – this may have been part of the attachment of the stamps. When a mortarstone was worn down to a certain level, it could be turned and used anew, which resulted in four depressions. The evidence here is that there was a pair of stamps working in this mill, this is common on Dartmoor.
Looking across the valley, over the River Meavy to Leathetor Farm (at the top of the photo), showing the location of the fougou – the hole in the bank below the white V …. where it is said that tinners hid their tools overnight.
Right of the tree stump, looking along the leat bank that brought water to the big water wheel, it was ducted from the leat to the wheel by a wooden launder. Leather Tor (left) and Sharpitor behind.
Crazywell Pool, a large hole dug out by tinners – it may have functioned as a reservoir for sending water down the nearby gert ….. we had the old stories about the pool being bottomless when tested using Walkhampton church’s bell ropes, of the level rising and falling with the tide at Plymouth, of young maidens looking into the pool on a certain evening and seeing the face of their intended and of the dread of hearing your name being called in the gloaming!
Crazywell Cross, probably a way-marking cross along the Monks’ Path between Buckfast Abbey and those at Tavistock and Buckland.
Abandoned mill stone, at SX 57960 70125, about 40 metres above the track that is known as Uncle’s Road, and within sight of Cockle’s Gate (the moor gate at the top of the lane from Norsworthy Bridge.
Above: looking south through a gateway at the ruins of Roundypark Farm. The two recesses in the wall are of unknown function.
“Feathers and tare stone” beside the track at SX 56990 69490, where someone drilled the stone and inserted sets of feathers, separated by hammering in a tare (metal chisel) to apply steady pressure until the rock cracked, which it did in part. Presumably, the stone split in an undesired fashion ….
The weather for this walk was simply gorgeous for a winter’s day – quite cold, a blue sky and practically no breeze. This can be seen in the group photograph. The walkers included several who had never seen Crazywell Pool, or the cross, so it was a pleasure to see the enjoyment on their faces.
After the walk, I think 17 of us had a convivial, talkative lunch at the Burrator Inn – again, there was a little oscillation regarding who booked, who dropped out and who came in. The lunches on these walks, by the way, are not free! More photographs can be seen HERE.