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This walk: 2009-7-22. Swincombe Valley, Dolly Trebble's House, John Bishop semi-dressed walling, Belted Galloway cattle, dry Wheal Emma leat, Swincombe Bridge, Swincombe Ford Bridge, Fairy Bridge, John Bishop's House, Cladonia cup lichen, medieval Tavistock Ashburton packhorse track, horse and foal, crazing mill stones, mortar stones, mould stones, wheelpit.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.


A general view down the Swincombe Valley towards where the river joins the West Dart River less than a kilometre from here.


An example of John Bishop's semi-dressed dry stone walling. The stones are roughly shaped rather than simply picked off the ground as moorstones and used as they are.


Black and white Belted Galloway cows with the dry Wheal Emma leat behind them.  The Widdecombe Dun & Belted Galloway Herd has some useful information and this link tells about these cattle on Dartmoor, among other things (see the bottom of the page). If you put "belted galloway" into Google, there is a lot of information out there! By the way, these cows belong to Sherberton Farm (see the map below).


A red Belted Galloway heifer.


Dolly Trebble's House.


Two fireplace uprights.


A zoomed view down to the Swincombe Bridge, aka Swincombe Ford Bridge and later as Fairy Bridge.


Another view of Dolly Trebble's house.


Crossing the River Swincombe.


The present remains of the fairy that was installed at one end of the bridge .....


..... a closer view .....


The original fairy,
unfortunately damaged

The replacement fairy,
photographed 28/2/2009


Notice on one end of the wooden bridge


First view of John Bishop's House, described here on the Legendary Dartmoor web site.


Approaching closer, the cobbled path to the door.


Another view, showing the impressive porch.


Another view .....


A view around the side of the house, showing the lintel of the upstairs fireplace.


A nearby scene in the lane passing the house, amedieval Tavistock Ashburton packhorse track.


More structures in the lane.


Cladonia, an unidentified species of cup lichen growing on a stone in a wall.


One of what was once a pair of gateposts that marked the entrance to Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt's estate from the east.


For the shape of a tree .....


An AT stone, this is where you are at when you find one! A = Ashburton, T = Tavistock way marker stones. This one has been used as a gatepost or for something similar. The "A" is quite clearly visible on this stone, see the next photo .....


..... there is a trace of the "T" if you know where to look on this side of the stone.


Hi-ho, hi-ho, its off to work we go! Back over the Swincombe/Swincombe Ford/Fairy bridge.


Looking down the river valley, note the flow of the water, towards the West Dart River.


Looking up the Swincombe valley.


The Swincombe Ford stepping stones that the bridge was built to replace. The bridge dates back to the times of miners at the nearby Hexworthy mine walking in at the beginning of each week and out again for their Sundays at home - sometimes the river was too high for them to cross, so a bridge was built.


Curious mother and foal .....


..... moving on.


A view to an adit from Gobbett Tin Mine, located not far from the car park.


Items of interest at an old tin mining works at SX 64510 72800. This is the base stone of a crazing mill that was used to crush tin ore, cassiterite.


..... this is the top stone. Rough chippings or gravel from the tin workings was fed into the central hole and the top stone was rotated to grind the ore into a fine sand prior to smelting. This stone shows four peripheral impressions where something was attached and the stone driven around probably by water power. An account of Dartmoor tin mining can be seen here.


A mortar stone where the impression was made by a stamping device banging up and down, wearing the stone away as tin ore was crushed.


Another mortar stone.


One of two mould stones where molten tin was cast into 200 lb ingots from transporting by pony off the moor. An account of tin states that the chemical symbol is Sn (standing for stannous or stannic, depending on the chemical valency of the particular compound) and that this comes from the Latin for tin: stannum. This relates to stannators, the stannary parliament, stannary laws etc.


The remains of a wheel-pit that housed a 40-foot water wheel.


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Looking along Swincombe Intake access road,
over Fairy Bridge and stepping stones
across the old Tavistock-Ashburton track
("The Dartmoor Way") to Swincombe Farm

File size: 2 MB
25 secs download on BT Broadband.
Plays for 12 secs.


Walk details

Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2005. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047373.
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.


The walk was approached via the Two Bridges-Ashburton road, turning off for Hexworthy just before Dartmeet. The road gets narrow, steep and twisty before reaching the Forest Inn (where we had a good lunch afterwards). Continuing up the hill past the Forest Inn, parking was reached by taking the first right turn and parking at the yellow cross on the map, just before a cattle grid.


Distance - 4.19 km / 2.6 miles.



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