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An extension to today's walk, going up-river

A more complete understanding of the Shaugh Bridge / Dewerstone undertakings of the past can be had by walking from Dewerstone Cottage down to the River meavy and following it up the valley to where an embankment appears on your right, with a tunnel through it. This is the unfinished embankment of the intended (GWR) Dewerstone Quarry Branch (Mineral Line) that was to join up with the South Devon & Tavistock Railway that opened on the opposite bank of the Meavy in 1859. It was unfinished because the landowner, Sir Massey Lopes, refused permission for the building of the bridge across the River Meavy.

Further reading
Don Balkwill (2008). The Book of Shaugh Parish - It's a Shaugh Thing. Halsgrove, Wellington, Somerset.
Eric Hemery (1983). Walking the Dartmoor Railroads, David & Charles, Newton Abbot. Chap. 10 - GWR: Dewerstone Quarry Branch, pages 98-101.

Prior to the 1800s, surface moorstone and easily removed stones from stone pits (buried clitter?) was used for building purposes. Quarrying started in the early 1800s. 

In 1850, Johnson & Johnson started quarrying (presumably this means at this location?).  The South Devon & Tavistock Railway opened in 1859 and in 1863 Johnson & Johnson started building a railway to link with it across the Meavy.  However, the landowner, Sir Massey Lopes, witheld permission for a bridge across the Meavy and the company went bankrupt in 1865.

Revolvy web site - Plymouth-and-Dartmoor-Railway - Johnson & Bryce quarries were the main PDR customers and as the railway was failing, they took it over to secure their own quarry business.  Johnson Brothers (John & William). William Johnson was Managing Director of the Haytor Granite Company in 1841. In 1842, trouble with "the union" interfered with the completion of Nelson's Column. Source: Legendary Dartmoor - Haytor Quarries.  

  1. The Revolvy web link above has a very full description of the original Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway i.e. horse-drawn tramway.

  2. The old Plymouth Data web site ..... .....

    King Tor quarries were worked by two brothers, John and William Johnson.   Because the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway Company ran out of money, the brothers helped financially with the completion of the line into Princetown.  In return they took out a mortgage on the line but as the Company could not pay the interest on it, they allowed the Johnsons to transport their granite free of charge.  These two situations were to bring about the death of the railway as 
    Sir Thomas disappeared from the scene and his promises with him, even though he remained the largest shareholder.  There was no other traffic on the line to pay the running costs.


South Devon & Tavistock Railway, SD&TR - Wikipedia - Started Sept. 1846, opened to passengers June 1859 (goods in Feb. 1860), broad gauge (7ft 0ins) but standard (4ft 8 ins) gauge from 1876 by adding a third rail. Engineer AH Bampton died early in the work and IK Brunel brought in.  Involved 3 tunnels and 6 wood viaducts (replaced with stone later).   

The South Devon & Tavistock Railway (SD&TR) merged with the South Devon Railway (SDR) on 1 July 1865. The independent Launceston & South Devon Railway (L&SDR) and the Launceston company was later absorbed under an Act of Parliament on 24 June 1869. The South Devon Railway (SDR), in turn, amalgamated with the Great Western Railway (GWR) and on 1 February 1876. (Wikipedia)


After walking about 600 metres up the valley, this railway tunnel comes into view: this is near the end of the railway embankment which is very close to the river.

The railway embankment appears on the 1884 OS map, surveyed in 1883 .....
25-inch (1892-1914 Series) OS map with Dewerstone Cottage and Goodameavy 


The bridge, at  SX 53073 64446, is well-built .....


Looking back through the tunnel, at the river.  


The end of the railway embanlment at SX 5299 6447 - the Meavy can be seen at the right of the phorograph. A lot of the quarry's output had been used in building the abortive railway. Much of the stone was taken in 1952 by Plymouth Corporation for the building of Lopwell Dam on the River Tavy. Source: Don Balkwill, The Book of Shaugh Parish, pages111-113.


An apparent pier for the bridge over the Meavy that was never built.  

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV19426 - Goodameavy, Embankment

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV28745 - Railway Bridge in the Parish of Bickleigh (SH) Meavy - abutment (pier?) on west of river, embankment on west side.   

Looking across the river from the end pier, this shows a sluice on the Wheal Lopes Leat that we saw on 11 Dec 2017 .....


The sluice valve is marked by the white "v" at the top of the photograph.


The road or track to Goodameavy Gate - the way out for quarried stone before the embankment and in the absence of it being built.


Side view of the embankment from the road/track.


Looking across at the tunnel from the road ..... with the Meavy behind .....


A cutting for the abortive railway .....


The gate at the end of the cutting and near to Dewerstone Cottage.

Think of all the work that was put into the building of this embankment, all for nothing! 


Returning to Dewerstone Cottage, the path from the cottage to go up the valley can be seen going down on the right.

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