Sunday, 7 August 2016

A 12 Miler from Burrator

Every now and again our monthly walking group (as distinct from our weekly walking group) do a 'longer walk'. We had one of those days recently and we embarked on a 12.5 miler beginning and ending at Burrator Reservoir, on the western edge of Dartmoor. Our route took us down to Meavy, across farmland to Cadover Bridge, down the eastern side of the River Plym to the bridge at Dewerstone, up the River Meavy to Yelverton (ice cream stop!) and back to our starting point via Yennadon Down. I think all thirteen of us acquitted ourselves really well and finished in fine fettle. A great route and a good day for getting out and about. As the photographs show, it was a very green day.
Our start and end points were just by the causeway at Burrator Reservoir, SX55023 68008
Meavy village green with the Royal Oak in the background. It has the unique claim to fame of being the only pub in the UK owned by a Parish Council. I should add that it's a very good pub in its own right as well.
A footpath framed by trees on the way up on to the moor.
The River Plym dropping down to the bridge near the Dewerstone.
In this part of the world, industrial remains are never far away. Here is the old railway bed associated with the china clay workings.
I liked this for the textures - moss on a bract fungus of some sort.
And I liked this for its shaded ambience - beech trees along the River Meavy, which joins the Plym about a mile downstream from this point.
These two structures caused us to ponder when we came across them in the Meavy. My best bet at the time was that they were being used to count young fish. As it turned out I was wrong. After the walk I exchanged e-mails with someone who could give an expert opinion. Here's the gist of what he said. The Meavy is a good river for salmon and trout which lay their eggs in the gravel of the river bed. Successful development of the eggs, and hence the maintenance of fish stocks, depends upon adequate oxygenation of the gravel. Oxygenation of the gravel is affected by pollution. Measuring the oxygenation of the gravel is important so that remedial measures can be put in place if problems are identified. The bits of kit we see are measuring oxygen levels in the gravel and are part of a research programme run by Plymouth University. Who knows when this piece of knowledge will come in useful again.
More signs of by-gone industrial activity with the footpath running alongside a leat. I couldn't make out what the water in the leat would have been used for. It would have powered a wheel somewhere for something.
Perhaps the leat was associated with the mine which was drained by this adit? The keyhole shape is made by the growth of the moss rather than by the skills of the stonemasons who made the portal.
I love coming across random examples of recycling. Here we have some old railway lines refashioned for use a gatepost and stanchion. Given the thickness of the metal, this was not a trivial exercise.
A new ice-cream flavour for me - rum and raising. I gave this one a miss and went for the salted caramel and honeycomb instead. Highly recommended - both the ice cream and the place where we bought it, The Game Larder, in Yelverton.

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