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This walk: 2013-1-16. Granite/country rock exposure, Leeper/Leapra Cross, Mariners Way, slotted gatepost, signpost, Leapra Brook, massive gateposts, West Coombe Farm, ash house, impressive corner stones, leat, reservoir, hut circles, Shapley Tor.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Link to Google Satellite view of the area - the car park is at centre-top edge of the map.

This walk links to 23rd September 2009, being the same walk in reverse.


A fairly rare geological exposure showing the meeting of the Carboniferous era granite that forms the up-welled dome that constitutes the hard upland of Dartmoor (the horizontal rock at the top of the photograph) and the surrounding metamorphic aureole or "country rock": in this area this consists of Upper Carboniferous sandstones and slates and Lower Carboniferous slates, cherts, limestones, sandstones and volcanics, all altered by the heat of the granite intrusion.


Pointing out Leeper or Leapra Cross, now rather hidden in a hedge by Moor Gate Cottage .....


From its proportions, it is estimated that the cross would have stood over six feet in height: each face has a raised Latin cross (i.e. in relief), which is unusual on Dartmoor (not easily discernible in some lights).


The path is on the Two Moors Way (Eastern Route), also known as the Mariners Way, by which sailors dropped off on one Devon coast would join a ship, or look for one, on the other Devon coast, commonly Bideford - Dartmouth, a distance of 70 miles. Busy in the 1500s (Tudor times) with wool and tobacco trading and ship-building in Bideford .


Ruins of a building of unknown function - a barn might be a good guess?


Slotted gatepost.


I wonder if this was here in olden times for the mariners?


A view of Leapra Brook.


This must be one of the biggest gateposts anywhere? Believed once featured in Rocks & Minerals Magazine.


Another massive gatepost.


Caption competition?

1. Where's the brie?


West Coombe Farm, this barn was added over the pre-existing track and, it is reputed that, the Mariners Way then ran through the barn. It may have been that sailors could spend the night here before continuing their journey - a sort of primitive bed and breakfast, or maybe "barn and breakfast"?


Impressive corner work - someone in these parts clearly had a fixation on large stones!


An old barn, not a linhay as I originally thought as a linhays is essentially a lean-to built on the back of a building and this is free-standing. It might have been a mowhay, for storing mown hay, although the sides are open. On our farm, it would have been more of a tractor shed.


The old ash house at the farm, where fireplace ash and waste vegetable matter was stored for later use as fertiliser for the fields. The roof is actually stone, against fire, turfed over. Ash houses are unusual on Dartmoor because most farming is with grazing animals whereas in this area it was possible to have arable farming. The ash was fed in through a slit in the wall .....


The slit - the previous walk, on 23rd September 2009, has a photo taken by leaning over the wire fence and showing the larger opening on the other side for taking out the ash.


The farm, looked at from the ash house.


Stream, seen from the steep climb (56 metres up over 270 metres along, i.e. 1 in 4.8) from West Coombe Farm, going south-west to Coombe Down. 


Old building passed on the climb.


Formerly the house of the mine captain of East Vitifer Mine


Possible old leat - there is a disused mine shaft near here, marked on the map.


Believed reservoir to do with old mining activities.


Hut circle at SX 70424 81983.


Hut circle at SX 70156 81781,


As previous photograph.


A crafted wall!


Self-explanatory notice.


Shapley Tor is conquered, SX 699 821, elevation 480 metres (1574 feet).


View back to the car park.


Walk details

Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

© Crown copyright and database rights 2012  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.



This walk was reached from the Two Bridges direction by driving through Postbridge, past the Warren House Inn, passing the turn-off left for Fernworthy forest, the turn-off right for Grimspound and then stopping at the car park on the left of the road just before leaving the open moor at the  P  symbol and yellow cross on the map.


Distance - 5.61 km / 3.49 miles.



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