Both of the leats on Roborough Common (Plymouth and Devonport leats) were seen to be running with water on Friday, 21st December 2012, following two days (and a summer and autumn) of heavy rain. The previous day, the Thursday, had been scheduled as a DPA work day on Devonport Leat but this was cancelled. This proved to be a wise decision because the ground in the vicinity of the leat was well and truly waterlogged.
Something that few people will have seen is the connecting pipe between Devonport Leat and Plymouth Leat (built by Drake). This was uncovered recently by a DPA work party on Friday 23rd Nov. and was proving its function today. This is ironic because it shows that Plymouth Leat takes water from Devonport Leat and yet the reason for building Devonport Leat was that Plymouth wouldn’t share its water supply with Devonport! Actually, this is a WW2 water management measure (see below). Ostensibly, both leats have been ‘dry’ in this area since Burrator Reservoir opened in 1898.
The photograph above is taken from the small bridge down the turn-off from the A386 almost opposite the turn-off for Crapstone (between the bollards in the centre of the road). It shows Devonport Leat running away from the camera, dry beyond this point, and the diverting of its water into a pipe that runs to the nearby Drake’s Plymouth Leat.
Since I first wrote this blog entry, I have been reliably informed that the connecting pipe between the leats was installed during WW2 to help drain the runways of RAF Harrowbeer, which was built during the war. The two upright stones in the second photograph above seem to be part of a small dam and may have acted like a bull’s-eye stone to limit flow into the old Devonport Leat. Plymouth Leat was breached beyond Clearbrook car park to let the water drain into the River Meavy near Goodameavy.
Plymouth Leat (built by Drake) was flowing for a considerable length, the photograph below was taken by the animals’ drinking trough at the end of Chub Tor Road where the leat enters farm land, running towards Clearbrook …..
The water continued flowing past the popular car park beside the leat at Clearbrook.
The photo above was taken after passing the main car park at Clearbrook (looking back towards the car park), it shows some flooding of the ground alongside the leat, this is also seen more spectacularly in the next photograph …..
A final impression …..
I drove around to look at Plymouth Leat at the edge of the Common at the Roborough end but it was dry at that location, which means it must be escaping from the leat somewhere, quite probably at SX 52257 64907 where four slabs were removed from the side of the leat to let the water drain down to the River Meavy, above Goodameavy.
A number of short videos were taken today but they seem not to want to upload to the blogs’ server but they can be seen HERE.