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This walk: 2015-6-10. Shaugh Bridge China Clay Drying Works, River Plym, River Meavy, river confluence, Shaugh Bridge, Shaugh Brick Works, Dewerstone Iron Mine, tunnel kiln, adit, Pixie Rock, Dewerstone Cottage, foxglove, railway embankments, Appaloosa pony, inclined plane, winding house, granite quarry features.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Old maps .....

Google Satellite view of the area - including the GPS track of the walk (compare with the Ordnance Survey map plus track below)

Please note - the recorded blue track suffers from inaccuracy because of the proximity of the trees in the wood interfering with the satellite signal. 

Previous walks in this area: 17th Nov. 2010, 6th Feb. 2013,


Shaugh Bridge Drying Sheds - china clay flowed two-miles in a suspended slurry in a pipe from near Cadover Bridge to settling pits and then to be dried out here between 1895 and 1950. This area was cleared from its overgrown condition in 2009 byDartmoor Preservation Association (I remember working here!) ..... the photograph shows the the loading bays: the clay was dried by heat from fires in kilns - the workers had to wear wooden clogs. The clay was transferred to the railway at Shaugh Platform.


One of the loading bays where carts were backed in to be loaded with clay blocks.


Footbridge over the River Plym, opened 14th November 2010 .....


Another view ....


The date plate .....


Looking up the Plym .....


Bubbles ....


More bubbles.


Footbridge again ....


Once more.


Taken for the form of the large tree behind - not easy to "catch" a tree in a wood of trees!  The tree nearer the camera is quite large, too. 


Confluence of the River Meavy (left) and the River Plym (right), just above Shaugh Prior road bridge ..... Click the image to see a wider view .....


Shaugh Bridge, swept away in a flood in 1823 when the water reached the keystone i.e. the stone that "wedges down" at the top of an arch.  


Another view up the Plym.


Starting the walk.


Blurry image of left-over china clay beside the path.


Shaugh Brick Works - late 19th century. End of the remaining walls of the of the 'modern' linear Brogden & Casper tunnel kiln: "The plant included a Brogden and Casper's improved tunnel kiln, two working sheds adjoining the brick kiln, nearly completed, tramways, eighteen iron tram wagons, two turntables, a 16 ft by 3 ft water wheel, tools, tramway metals, about 60 tons of iron ore, the manager's office, and a smith's shop." Source: a now-defunct web site.  There are diagrams in this reference: British Brick Society: Information 64 - February 1995.


As previous photograph - a limited photo because a group of schoolgirls were using the space as a changing room!


The old brick clay mixing tank - this included poor quality


A collapsed adit alongside the track .... a sign of the old Dewerstone Iron Mine that produced poor quality iron ore for brick-making in the nearby brick works. Better quality ore was produced and sent away for smelting.


Closer view.


Not much left of this place.


View of the River Meavy.


The steep track up to the granite quarries area ....


Looking back.


A blonde waiting for me by Pixie Rock .....


The pixie's head, looking left.


"I think it's up there" - could be another caption competition!


Track scene.


"Dewerstone Cottage" on the map: the old Dewerstone Granite Quarry Count House i.e. offices, later a scout hut - the quarry was a venture from the 1850s that closed in 1870, after building trackways for getting the granite out and an abortive attempt to join up with the main Marshmills-Tavistock GWR railway line nearby. Permission to build a bridge across the Meavy was refused by the landowner.

Addendum: "Dewerstone Cottage was the counting house, stables and smithy for the granite railway system. Two quarries, two hundred foot above the cottage were connected by a narrow gauge track."

Source: Callington U3A Newsletter - December 2009, page 3.

Latterly, a second home for Spirit of Adventure, based at Powdermills.


Adventure camping area.


That's tall, that's all.




Just walking.


Tunnel through the embankment, built to join with the nearby GWR railway but never completed.


River Meavy.


Completed bridge abutment on Lopes land .....


Incomplete embankment on the other side of the river, where the ailway scheme failed.,


Specimen Common Oak tree.


Looking down at the tunnel from a higher track.


An Appaloosa-type pony and a youngster.


A cutting on the track - a lot of work went into this track through the wood, landscape gardening, large-scale.


Walking on..


The inclined plane: The inclined plane is 400 yds (365m) long with a fall of 200ft (61m), a gradient of 1:6. A counter balance system was used whereby full trucks descending pulled up empty trucks for filling. A winding house at the top of the incline controlled the cable system. The ruins of the winding house and the sets for mounting the sleepers are still visible today." Source: Callington U3A Newsletter - December 2009, page 3 (link no longer functional).


Granite tramway sett on the inclined plane .....


Closer view.


Approaching the winding house .....


Hole from which the winding cables issued .....


Cable brake drum on the inclined plane of the Dewerstone Quarry, for pulling up trucks bearing stone as they went to the upper level. 


Another view .....


Closer view of the winding axle that held two cable drums.


Axle detail.


Accused of being "arty again"!


Gathered on the waste tip!


This is the waste from this particular granite quarry - there are a few along this upper track.


A large piece of dressed granite - ready for Saturday night, someone said!


At this quarry (SX 53695 64073) it is said that there are one or two sett makers' bankers for making setts used as cobbles in nearby towns.


Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

© Crown copyright and database rights 2015.  Ordnance Survey. Licence number 100047373. Use of this data is subject to terms and conditions. Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.

This walk was reached by driving down the hill through Shaugh Prior to the car park on the right before crossing the bridge over the River Plym. The car park is on the right before crossing the road bridge over the river, marked by the yellow cross symbol on the map.


Distance - 5.37 km / 3.34 miles.


All photographs on this web site are copyright © 2007-2016 Keith Ryan.
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Sister web sites
Dartmoor Tick Watch
The Cornish Pasty - The Compleat Pastypaedia