Tuesday 17th July saw DPA volunteers accompanied by two from Western Mortgage Services cutting bracken on Roborough Down in two areas – the earthworks at the top of the hill by the triangulation pillar and across the road at a spot known among ourselves as “The Outpost”. The latter is in fact two separate earthworks. A map of the area can be seen HERE, and a Google Satellite view HERE.

The day was dry but very misty, as can be seen in the photograph below, taken at lunchtime. The weather brightened up later in the afternoon.

DPA Volunteers at lunch. Click the photo to see a larger image.

The work involved cutting bracken with hand slashers. There was also one brush cutter operating here and another across the main road. Over the years we have been working here, the bracken seems to be getting less each year. This seems also to be true at Grimspound, according to the small team who went there today.

Our team consisted of Bill, Chris, Derek, Ian, John L, John V, John & Rachel, Kathy, Mally, Nigel & Stephanie along with Alan and Heather from Western Mortgage Services. Including myself, that made 15 of us. We have to thank Val who maintained our cake tradition on the leat by sending along a box of home-made strawberry cakes. Thanks indeed, Val.

"The Outpost"

“The Outpost”. Click image to see a larger version.

After lunch, we crossed the main road to go to The Outpost. The age and function of this structure is unknown. It is believed that it was crossed by tanks on the Common during WWII and a track is seen in the above photograph, running left-right through the centre.

Slow worm – the head is hidden at the top left of the photo, trying to get away through the grass.
Click the image to see a larger version.

While cutting bracken at the second structure by The Outpost, we saw a slow worm (see photo above). When all the bracken was cut, there was only work for the brush cutter. This being so, we went down to Drake’s Plymouth Leat and cut some bracken that had regrown since a work day there on 23rd June.

When all was done, we followed our other tradition of making our way to The Rock Inn at Yelverton where once again refreshment was taken and we tried to persuade the volunteers from Western Mortgage Services, Plymouth, that they should come again!