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This walk: 2018-7-26. Burrator Reservoir in drought conditions, dried-up reservoir, sheep, submerged bridge, tinners' mouldstone, gatepost, granite troughs/kieves, socket stone (for a cross or a gate?), Longstone Manor, Essworthy, cider mill, wind strew.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Previous walks in this area:  (17th March 2010),  18th May 2011

Google Satellite map + GPS track of the walk 

Sheep grazing at the "top" end of the reservoir, near Norsworthy Bridge.


The normally submerged bridge at SX 56421 68946. This must be the "FB" seen on the 1886 6-inch OS map north-west of Narrator. A little way west of this is "Foot Bridge" beyond which is "Weir" - this is the head weir of the old Plymouth (aka Drake's) Leat. Nearby is the old Weir Cottage and its flagtaff .....


Another view, with Peek Hill (left) and Leather Tor (right) in the distance .....


An almost-ground level view of the bridge.


Looking north-east towards the Norsworthy Bridge area and the concrete walls of the weir and channels where the River Meavy, with Newleycombe Lake and Narrator Brook, enter the top end of the reservoir .....


Zoomed view of the preceeding photograph, with more sheep. The concrete structures can be seen clearly if you zoom into the Google Earth link above that shows the GPS track.  I have never seen sheep in here before, perhaps they have special dispensation in this very dry period?


A montage of three photographs taken almost in the "middle" of the dried-up reservoir at the top end. Click the image to see a larger version.

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV103325 - Burrator Reservoir - a good short history of the reservoir

Plymouth Herald - Stunning drone footage shows 'drowned village' revealed as Devon reservoir dries up

Link to the video alone 

BBC News: UK heatwave reveals 'drowned village' at Burrator Reservoir

Devon Heritage web site: Burrator Reservoir


Presumed tinners' mould stone, at SX 55994 68773, for casting tin ingots from smelted ore, half-buried .... or id it too large and square-sided, not sloped for ingot removal. Might it be a bearing for nearby blowing house machinery?


Another view ..... two of these stones .....

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV3378 - Blowing mill at Longstone, Burrator Reservoir - SX 560 688
Crazing mill stone once found. Somewhere near today's half-buried mouldstone. Did have a leat - any sign of it now?  
"Before the reservoir was constructed the leat which formerly supplied the blowing house was clearly traceable. A mill stone from a crazing mill was found on the foreshore near the mould stone on the south bank of the reservoir"

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV20822 - Site of blowing house at Longstone, Burrator Reservoir - SX 560 687
"Very ruined rectangular structure beneath top water level of reservoir but exposed in drought conditions. Possibly the site from which mouldstone was removed in 1928" 


Another view. After further research, it is possible that the rectangular outline in the top right quadrant, filled with water, could be the site of the blowing house


Looking back up the reservoir, with Leather Tor on the skyline.


Approaching "the island", with one of the recently installed fences.


Low-angle view of the exposed Longstone, a gatepost, at SX 55652 68414 .....


Another view, with The Longstone.


A granite kieve for cider or a trough for livestock? It stands quite high, moreso than the nearby row of cider kieves. It also has a newly-broken corner. This stands on the "high tide mark" .....


A short distance from the trough / kieve is a rarity - an exposed socket stone (normally submerged?) for a granite cross(?) although its purpose appears to be unknown according to Mike Brown (2001) Guide to Dartmoor, CD-ROM, Dartmoor Press, Grid Square 55 68 ..... another description of the stone is as Longstone Manor Socket Stone, where it is postulated that this is the socket stone of the diappeared Lowery Cross, brought to the farm for safe keeping. An explanation for this stone is that it is a gate hanger stone, mentioned in Historic England's The Remains of Longstone Manor House, Wind Strew and associated features (see "Details", 2nd para).


A near-identical photograph to this is described as a blowing mill small mouldstone for casting tin ingots by Phil Newman (1998), The Dartmoor Tin Industry - A Field Guide, Chercombe Press, Newton Abbot, page 36. 

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV3971 - Gatepost at Longstone, Burrator Reservoir - Describes a holed stone used as gatepost  

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV3972 - Gate at Longstone - "The old slot-bar gates were in use at Longstone and one of the principal gates was of the "wood and stone" type, of which only two were still known in work in Devon on Dartmoor."    


Nearby long granite trough either from or destined for feeding pigs, at SX 55681 68438. Somewhere I have seen a plan of the old layout of  Longstone Manor and pigs were kept somewhere ..... now, where did I see that? The trough is almost at the top of the "shore" .....


Another view.


What appears to be an old road, with some paving intact? The trough is just upshore from this.


Click the image to see a larger version.


A photograph from 17th March 2010


The ruins of Longstone Manor, described in Legendary Dartmoor - Longstone Manor ..... Longstone ceased to be a Manor House in 1748 and passed out of the Elford family (Dartmoor Crosses - Longstone Manor Socket Stone).


Longstone on the Sheepstor Parish Tithe Map (1840/1841?) - near top left corner
Image by permission of Devon County Council

The old road is shown running right by the house, the road was moved away with the building of the dam, which started on 9th August 1893 and was completed in 1898 Between December 1923 and 1928, the dam’s crest level was raised by 3m (10 feet).

An aside - regarding the flooded Essworthy farm in Burrator Reservoir .....


Essworthy on the Sheepstor Parish Tithe Map (1840/1841?) - near top left corner
Image by permission of Devon County Council

Using the 1886 6-inch OS map, it was measured that Essworthy was between Longstone and Burrator houses (776 m on a bearing of 195°). A 90° line to Essworthy off this 776 m course occurs at 289 m from Longstone. This distance across to Essworthy is 128 m, on a bearing of 285°. This gives a location at SX 55512 68228. These figures were then  transposed into Memory Map .....


© Crown copyright 2018  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.

A map image showing the location of Essworthy, at SX 55512 68228.  Longstone Manor is near the "slotted gateposts" label by Beechcroft Plantation.

From Mike Brown (2001) Guide to Dartmoor, CD-ROM, Dartmoor Press, Grid Reference 5515 6801 .....

"The only farm to have been drowned by the impounding of Mewy’s waters, was Essworthy, a property which was formerly known under another name entirely. In the Sheepstor parish rate lists of the early years of the eighteenth century it appears as Yowford or Yeoford (amongst other spelling variants), Sarah Creber having been the ratepaying tenant at the time. Although it was described as “Yeoford alias Essery” in 1729 and “yeoford other wais Esery” in 1751, the name always reverted to the earlier one until it appeared as Ersworthy in 1807. For some years there are no records, and for others the entry does not record the tenant as, for example in that of 1740, which merely records that a rate was paid by “the oukey peyers [occupiers] of yeoford”. However, with the aid of other sources, a reasonably complete tenants’ list can be compiled.

Meanwhile Essworthy, still in Sheepstor, changed hands with amazing regularity during the 1850s & 60s. In close succession the lessees were Richard Creft (1846), John L Luscombe (1850), Joseph Lampin (1851), William Spear (1856), Charles Leddaford (1857), Christopher Spear (1858), John Hext Boger (1864) and William Clifton (1865-68). This is where the documentary record effectively ends, and for the last decades of its existence the only mention of the farm is in the censi and trade directories of the period. During the 1850s the farm was briefly called Estworthy, literally, the “east settlement”, and it is not until 1860 that the more familiar spelling of Essworthy is found.
"     NB - My emboldening, Ed.


Site of Burrator Reservoir (F. Frith, Reigate) Bovey Tracy Heritage Trust
Leather Tor on skyline towards the left, Down Tor on skyline at the right.
Image reproduced by kind permission of Dartmoor Archive

See the Dartmoor Archive online image HERE


Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV3970 - Longstone, Burrator Reservoir - general, about the farm 

Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV25086 - Longstone Leat, Sheepstor
Originally supplied the farm. Cites a point at SX 5621 6800 which is in Torr Fields just north of Sheepstor

 Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV3973 - Cheesepress at Longstone Manor, Burrator - The cited SX 556 684 puts it at the farm 

 Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV62637 - Corn mill at Longstone Manor - Longstone Manor Mill on  Sheepstor Brook


A collection of granite troughs, or "kieves", for collecting the juice from pressed apples in cider-making .....


A well-preserved cider mill, or perhaps more correctly termed an apple mill? The apples would be placed in the basal, circular pound stone and edge runner stone (here placed on top of the pound stone) would be pulled around the groove by a horse, to well and truly crush the apples.


 Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV3974 - Cider mill at Longstone Farm      


Another view .....


View from above.


If you walk past the house a little way, you'll find a good path on the right - this leads to the wind strew or winnowing platform, where corn was threshed with flails or threshed corn was tossed into the air so that the breeze could blow away the chaff. .

From Historic England's The Remains of Longstone Manor House, Wind Strew and associated features .....

Much of the present building was re-built for Walter and Barbara Elford in 1633, according to a date stone removed from the ruins, possibly including in elements of the earlier house. Their son, John Elford, is understood to have built the wind strew (threshing platform), to the north-west of the family farm in 1637 (the windstrew was partially rebuilt circa. 1800), as well as a cider mill.

A granite wind strew (threshing floor) lies 70m to the north-west of the house and measures 6m long by 5.5m wide and stands up to 1.3m high with a set of three steps on the south-east side. It would have been used for threshing and winnowing corn and is one of the only known surviving example of its kind in England. The structure formerly included an inscription stone bearing 'IE AE 1637', thought to refer to John and Anna Elford.


Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV3975 - Threshing floor in Longstone Plantation, Burrator      


Showing the built-in steps up to the threshing floor.


The northern aspect of the house .....


Closer view.


Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

© Crown copyright 2018  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.

The walk was accessed from the B3212 road from Yelverton to Dousland, turning right to Burrator Dam, driving past Norsworthy Bridge to the Arboretum car park at the yellow cross on the map. There is a shorter route by going over the dam and turning left before Sheepstor village - but the roads here are quite narrow.


Distance - 4.11 km / 2.55 miles


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