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This walk: 2016-7-20. Burrator Upper Quarry car park, kissing gates, Burrator Halt station, Burrator Dam, memorial benches, Sheep's Tor, Devonport Leat, Dartmoor pony, Peek's Hill Bridge, Dousland Reservoir, Yennadon Quarry.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc. This walk follows the Burrator Railway Walk - The Princetown Branch and its Predessor leaflet, published South West Lakes Trust and available from the Burrator Heritage Centre (price 50 p).

Previous walk/s in this area: 4th November 2009 5th July 2012, 27th March 2013 (almost the same walk), 25th February 2015  and 13th October 2015

Link to Google Satellite view of the area including the GPS track of the walk

Old maps
Ordnance Survey 6-inch Series 1888-1913

Further reading
Eric Hemery (1983), Walking the Dartmoor Railways, David & Charles, Newton Abbot. Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway (Princetown to Crabtree Wharf), pages 11-21 and GWR: Yelverton-Princetown Branch, pages 102-107.


Information board in Burrator Upper Quarry car park.  Click the image to see a large version.


Burrator Upper Quarry car park:  The following caption is taken from the walk on 25th February 2015:

I remember 40 years ago (1970 et seq.) that there was a large plaque attached to this rock face saying what it was.  From Devon County Council's "Geology in Devon" online publication:

"The Upper Burrator Quarry offers an opportunity to view a rare exposure of the contact between the Dartmoor granite and Devonian rocks. Indeed, veins of pink granite can be seen penetrating these rocks which were once slates resulting from the deep burial and intense deformation of mudstone originally laid down in marine conditions. However, the high temperatures that resulted from the intrusion of the hot granite transformed them into recrystallised rocks known as hornfels. Minerals such as black tourmaline have been formed in the original slate."

Dartmoor granite is about 280 million years old, (= Late Paleozoic Era, Permian-Carboniferous Period) the Devonian rocks are about 370 million years old (= same era, Devonian Period).

Addendum: Another reference (from DNPA) has been given to me that states: 

"This site features rare exposures of the contact between the Permo-Carboniferous Dartmoor Granite and Devonian country rocks of the Kate Brook Formation. The contact is highly irregular and shows evidence of mobilisation of the metasediments and segregation of felsic and mafic constituents. The contact country rocks have been thermally metamorphosed to form hornfels with extensive tourmalinisation."

The area is a SSSI - Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The stone from the quarry was used to raise Burrator dam by 10 ft. in 1923-1928.

For those who are curious, the Lower Quarry is just around the corner on the road to the dam - blocked off for many years to prevent car parking.

Pink granite - the intrusion into the country rock as referred to above.



One of two kissing gates at Burrator & Sheepstor Halt station that led down towards the dam and reservoir.  Quite often, these gates alongside railways have posts and struts made from bent railway rails. 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 to do with old-fashioned philematology!


Another view .....


The second kissing gate, leading to Yennadon Down .....


On the left, the site of Burrator Platform, as originally named for workmen in 1924. who were employed on the raising of the Burrator and Sheepstor dams.  It was opened to the public in 1925 as Burrator Halt and renamed Burrator & Sheepstor Halt in 1927. The history of the P&DR can be found on the archived Plymouth Data web site and on Wikipedia: Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway.


Overlooking Burrator Dam, with Sheep's Tor behind.


Memorial bench at SX 54982 68041 .....


The inscription.


Memorial bench at SX 54982 68041


View across the lake from this area .....


Over there, somewhere, we once recognized a near-buried granite trough, hopefully on the end of this link:  "Our trough".


Memorial bench at SX 54986 68150 .....


The inscription.


A new memorial bench at SX 54990 68214 .....


Philip was known throughout the city of Plymouth for his amazing contribution to music over many years .....


The view taken from behind the bench.


The end of the flowing section of Deveonport Leat at SX 55008 68383 .....


The big "plug hole" where water falls by gravity down the Burrator waterfall or cascade .....the grille behind, to the left, is where water falls to the Dousland water works .....

The water movements have been confirmed by a contact in South West Water. There are other possibilities depending on water quality - if the leat water is of poor quality then good quality water is pumped from Burrator reservoir to Dousland treatment works. Dousland now supplies water down to Crownhill (Plymouth), Tavistock and Princetown. This is the normal arrangement, however, in times of drought or poor quality, SWW can effect various water movements to maintain good drinking water.

For anyone interested in a more complete description of Devonport Leat, there is a dedicated web page HERE.

For those who remember the doll's head story e.g. as seen on 8th June 2011, there is a brand new image of the head (rather, a 30-year-old copy of the head) HERE.


Recycled granite setts from the horsedrawn tramway used as kerb stones on the leat.


Looking ahead along the route of the GWR railway branch line towards Princetown.


Looking of the edge of the cycle path / footbridge at SX 55032 69003 at the quality of abutment built for the old bridge when it carried the railway.


Looking across to Sheep's Tor, SX 566 682, elevation 369 meters (1210 feet).


Dartmoor pony using the wire fence as a scratching aid.


Lowery Road Level Crossing: the area on the left, across the road, is where the cottage for the crossing keeper once stood.  It ceased to be manned after 1927, after which road users were responsible for opening and closing the gates themselves.


Approaching Peek Hill Bridge, a cycle and footbridge installed in April, 2015. .....


The signpost reads To Burrator and To Princetown .....


Another view.


Someone said "Look, pink sheep"!


Birds foot trefoil, Lotus corniculatus?


Celandine poppy, wood poppy or poppywort, Stylophorum diphyllum.


Devil's-bit scabious, Succisa pratenisis.


A clue!


Covered reservoir at Dousland water treatment works - click here for Google aerial view.


The path ahead, looking at spoik at Yennadon Quarry .....


Approaching closer .....


A few tramway granite setts are still visible .....


A clue .....


Yennadon Quarry 


Private road constructed on the route of the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, looking back at The Old Halt bungalow .....


A railway connection - photo from 27th March 2013.


Looking ahead on the private road .....


House nameplate at the end of the private road.


Looking back along the road / line of the old tramway, and the gate onto the moor with a passing place to its right.


Sheep in the shade - not that it was very sunny today after the hottest day previously!


Cattle creep, photo 2; built because the railway cut cattle off from parts of the open moor.


Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

Crown copyright and database rights 2016  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.


This walk was reached easily from Dousland by parking at Burrator Quarry, marked by the  P  symbol  and the yellow cross on the map.


Distance - 6.37 km / 3.96 miles.



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