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This walk: 2013-1-30. RAF Harrowbeer, Roborough Rock, Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee drinking fountain, Jubilee commemorative monument, Devonport Leat, Plymouth Leat, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt's horse-drawn tram-way (Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway), mile stone, habitat pile, Yelverton golf course, tunnel, Dartmoor ponies, frog spawn, The Wharf, cycle track, River Meavy, Clearbrook Leat.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Link to Google Satellite view of the area

This walk repeats and extends a walk done on 28 November 2012

Water flowing in the leats can be seen from a walk on 21st December 2012, during a period os heavy rains and also on the DPA blog, HERE and HERE (with movies).


RAF Harrowbeer information board, similar sign to that seen on the 17th October 2012 walk around the Common and the airfield except for the map being oriented the other way round (top-to-bottom) because we are on the opposite side of the airfield here ..... the airfield was built for fighters during WW2 when Plymouth became a target for German bombers ..... Click the photograph to see a larger version.


Roborough Rock - the 'dry' one as opposed to The Rock Inn, Yelverton. Also known as Udal Tor, Ullestor and Hurlestone Rock (1765). It is a metamorphic rock, being a magnesium limestone. 'Proper' limestone is calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Magnesium limestone is calcium magnesium carbonate (CaMg(CO3)2) and compares with "dolomite".  "Roborough stone" has been cut from dykes across Roborough Common and used in churches e.g. Tamerton Foliot, Plympton and Shaugh Prior; it has a warm colour, no sparkle and becomes pitted. An example is probably the nearby Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee monument (a few photos below).


Another view of Roborough Rock showing the proximity of the remains of the remains of the Allan Williams turret, this was a simple anti-aircraft system using converted .303 machine guns or similar. Allan Williams is hyphenated on some web sites, but the designer was actually one A.H. Williams.


The basal ring of the Allan Williams turret 



A drinking fountain erected to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria .....


There were workmen parked by this monument today so here are two photographs from 28 November 2012 .....

A Diamond Jubilee commemorative monument .....


"Victoria Regina 1837-1897" - she reigned 20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901 (63 years 7 months, she died aged 81).


The site where Devonport Leat emerges from beneath the A386 main road .....


Beneath the brambles ..... towards the camera, the lower left quarter of the photograph shows the drainage channel that brings drainage water from the old airfield .....


The small road bridge (almost opposite the Crapstone turn-off) over Devonport Leat. The drainage water runs about 200 metres to go under this bridge and then is piped (almost centre of the photograph) to the nearby Plymouth Leat .....


Plymouth Leat, showing the inflow from Devonport Leat: movies of these water movements were made on 21 December 2012, during a period of heavy rains.

Inserted from 28 November 2012 .....

Photograph taken next to the previously mentioned small road bridge, looking towards Yelverton, showing Devonport Leat on the left and the remains of the granite sleepers of Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt's horse-drawn tramway (the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, opened 26th Sept. 1823), It also shows, probably, the last publicly viewable piece of original rail.


Devonport Leat, looking back towards Yelverton, along Chub Tor Road.


The 13 mile post along the P&DR, from Sutton Pool to Princetown.


Wildlife habitat piles, made by volunteers of the Dartmoor Preservation Association during scrub clearance conservation work.


Devonport Leat, showing a junction between lined and unlined sections.


The bridge carrying the road across Yelverton Golf Course, previously totally hidden by scrub growth 'triple whammy'of hawthorn, gorse and brambles.


Devonport Leat, with water, on the golf course.


Self-explanatory notice on the golf course.


Devonport Leat, outside the playing area of the course.


Tavistock stone(?) lining the leat on its approach to the tunnel.


The entrance to the 200-metre tunnel on Devonport Leat .....


Inside the tunnel entrance.


Looking back towards Yelverton from above the tunnel entrance.


From the same position, looking towards Plymouth along the top of the tunnel, which is in a cutting.


Devonport Leat is lined in places, usually near small bridges, with granite sleepers taken from the P&DR which was nearby.


Clapper bridge, the golf course is to the right.


On the open golf course again, looking back towards Yelverton.


Looking towards Plymouth.


Another running leat?! Actually, a drainage channel on the south edge of the golf course.


Yet another viewof Devonport Leat on the golf course .....


Zoomed view to where the modern drainage channel splits and runs down towards Drake's Plymouth Leat.


Golf course, Devonport Leat.


The end of the cleared section of Devonport Leat, very close to the large car park seen on the left when driving down to Clearbrook from the main road .....


Closer, and final, view of Devonport Leat.


Road bridge  at SX 51475 64706 on Roborough Down Lane, unusually with worked granite, which runs to Lower Upperton and beyond. It was under this bridge that a dismembered, burnt body was found in 2001: BBC News - Link 1, BBC News - Link 2, BBC News - Link 3, BBC News - Link 4, BBC News - Link 5 - the bridge is now known to some as "Dead Man's Bridge".


Dartmoor ponies standing with their rear quarters against the wind, sheltering behind gorse.


Mistake? A parallel trench, perhaps the leat builders made a mistake that was corrected here.



Dartmoor CAM movie. TIP .....
  • press F11 to make more "Full Screen", remembering to press it again to regain Normal Screen.

A movie of water running and draining into Plymouth Leat on Roborough Common.

Click the photo to download

File size: 3.1 MB.
Length 19 secs



Plymouth Leat was robbed here, at SX 51790 64896, for work, apparently, on Lopwell Dam.


Sluice? At SX 51828 64883.


Water laying in the leat.


Plymouth Leat.


Flooded area beside Plymouth Leat.


Frog spawn, early?


Frog spawn.


Flooded area beside Plymouth Leat, where the frog spawn was seen.


"The Wharf", the stables for changing horses on Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt's horse-drawn railway (the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, opened 26th Sept. 1823) ..... located near the car park on the road to Clearbrook .....


The stable doors .....


The roof is deteriorating.


12-mile post along the railway, from Plymouth to Princetown .....


The mile post, photographed from the cycle track, looking across the old railway bed.


Clapper bridge over Plymouth Leat near where the leat goes from the Common into private fields: it looks to me as though this granite has warped?


The location where the leat is in private fields.


Sign along the National Cycle Network, Route 27, also part of Drake's Trail.


Airlock for walkers and cyclists into a walled section of the cycle path.


Sign beside the gate seen in the previous photograph. Click the image to see a larger version.


The rear of the houses at Clearbrook as seen from the cycle track: the yellow building is the famous Skylark pub.


Old tramway sidings or passing place along the walled section of the cycle path.


A sluice site in the side of the Plymouth Leat at SX51880 65911.


Oak wood at SX 520 659.


Somewhere up there is Chub Tor - see the link down the page (link, click to see five photos of the tor).


Zoomed view.


A stream running down towards the River Meavy.


Tunnel through the old railway embankment.


Looking down the River Meavy .....


Looking upstream.


Looking back at the tunnel we just came through.


Sign post opposite the tunnel.


The path is one the West Devon Way.


Drainage culvert through the railway embankment.


A large cutting-like structure alongside the footpath with the railway embankment on the far side.


Interesting works going on at the sewage works. Click the image to see a larger version.


View to Sheeps Tor, SX 566 682, elevation 369 metres (1210 feet).


Houses / farm seen along the way.


A plethora of points - in a  kissing gate, where the post and struts are made from bent railway rails. Having discovered the origin of the "kissing" aspect, I am disappointed, no need to "pucker up" ever again! The etymology of the name is that the gate merely "kisses" (touches) the enclosure either side, rather than needing to be securely latched - and I thought it was all to do with good old fashioned philematology!


Another tunnel back through the railway embankment.


The former watch tower of RAF Harrowbeer, now the Knightstone Tearooms & Restaurant.


A look at the now-dry cascade down from the breach in Plymouth Leat .....


The now-dry Clearbrook Leat.


Iron girder bridge.


Closer view.


Walk details

MAP:  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 by turning of the Roborough-Yelverton A386 road at the Crapstone turn-off, taking the first turnng on the right and parking in one of the old aircraft bays on the old WW2 airfield, marked by the yellow cross on the map.


Distance - 10.88 km / 6.76 miles.


All photographs on this web site are copyright ©2007-2016 Keith Ryan.
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