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This walk: 2014-11-5. Plume of Feathers, Fox Tor Cafe, drinking fountain, cattle crusher, HM Prison, Devonport Leat, Bullpark, Conchies Road, Longaford Tor, Higher White Tor, Bellever Tor, Blakey Tor, cists, Crock of Gold, dung fungi, pineapple weed, fly agaric, Duchy Hotel.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Previous walk in this area: 15th July 2009. 

Princes Town was built by Thomas Tyrwhitt (1762-1833).  He built roads across Dartmoor and many other features - he was one of the Georgian "Improvers", although he eventually fell foul of the local climate that did little to encourage farming and crop-growing.  He was MP for Okehampton (1796-1802), Portarlington (1802-1806) and Plymouth (1806-1812).  He built the war prison in 1809 for French prisoners taken in the Napoleonic wars and for Americans taken in the 1812 war.  He also built the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, a horse-dawn tramway initially, converted to steam later by the GWR.


The much-favoured Plume of Feathers pub, selling the much-praised Dartmoor Breweries Jail Ale.

Fox Tor Cafe.

1908 drinking fountain beside the main road, one of two - the other is on the road to the prison .....

Another view .....

The faucet .....

T.R. 1908 D.C.
The Gift of R.H. Hooke Esq.

Self-explanatory notice.

The approach to the walk (part I) .....

The approach to the walk (part II) ..... through the gate to the bridle way.

An unusual device just off the road, thought to be part of the overhead rope-way for transferring logs from Brimpt's to the railway at Princetown.

Information from a later email (the details are now lost on a previous computer):

I suspect others will have told you that the remains of the iron gateway shown in one of your photos was from the level crossing at Dousland.
The remains of the G.W.R. level crossing gate adjacent to "Sunnyside": Jonathan Stones tells me that he was told by 'Sonny' Williams (an old farm hand) that he helped one Val Forder (sometime tenant of Sunnyside when a Duchy Farm) to transport the said gate from its original working position at Dousland. It's second life was as a 'cattle crush'. The ropeway bringing timber from from Brimpts Plantation, powered by an engine at Moorlands Farm, ended nearby but I am told nothing visible remains - though many will remember old photographs in the Plume of Feathers in James Langton's time.

I don't know about this feature, in a private garden: it seems to have a heavy bag for "heaving" up - maybe a physical training item for rugby players - a local mystery?!

HM Prison Dartmoor .....

Zoomed view.

Gateway seen en route.

An early view to the north-east, looking towards Dunnabridge Plantation with a marker indicating Blakey Tor (visited later on this walk).

A landscape to get lost in - maybe you will if you click on the image to see a larger version!

Devonport Leat, looking north .....

Devonport Leat, looking south .....

The clapper bridge over the leat.

Bachelor's Hall - built by Thomas Tyrwhitt as a farm.  It had a chequered history, being at one time a peat works where peat was distilled for naphtha and tar oil in the making of fuel, candles and moth balls. It was also a mill and a bakery with the hill behind being known as Bakery Hill.  The wheelpit and dressing floors of Bachelor's Hall Mine (another venture) lie in a small wood beside the track.

Barn at Bachelor's Hall.

Passing Bullpark - built by Tyrwhitt for one of his farmers / herdsmen.

Self-explanatory sign to YMCA Bachelors Hall.

Sign on the moor gate just past Bullpark - referring to famous "Faery Bridge".

Walking a long a long road .....

The road to nowhere, Conchies Road, rebuilt by WW1 conscientious objectors, looking east ..... this is part of the old Tavistock-Ashburton packhorse route .....

The same, looking west, with North Hessary Tor TV transmitter in view.

The prominence on the skyline is Longaford Tor, SX 61565 77931, elevation 507 metres (1663 feet), 4.8 km (2.98 miles) distant, with Higher White Tor to the right .....

Zoomed view to Longaford Tor .....

Longaford and Higher White Tors together.

Zoomed view to Bellever Tor, SX 644 764, elevation 443 metres (1453 feet), 5.08 k, (3.16 miles) distant ..... 

Zoomed view, just about showing the trig pillar on the summit.

Blakey Tor West Cist, SX 61235 73545 .....

Another view (more details below).

Approaching BLakey Tor, SX 61279 73633 (this is on the southern edge of the tor for GPS navigation purposes), elevation approx. 365 m (1197 feet) .....

The group at Blakey Tor .....

"This is my tor" .....

Blakey Tor is conquered!

Blakey Tor, the 'prettiest' rock stacks .....

Click the image to see a larger version - good for the scenery!

Zoomed view from the tor - is it a logan stone?

Another view.

Blakey Tor East Cist ..... cist 1 in the figure below (cist 2 being the west cist seen above, about 80 metres away) ..... the two cists are described briefly by J. Butler (1993), Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities  IV, The South-East. 65.4 Blakey Tor cairns (fig. 65.5), pages 230-231.

Image © J Butler 1994. Reproduced by kind permission (ref. 29 Sept. 2012).

Another view of the eastern cist. These cists have no retaining kerbs or covering cairns.

The gathered ensemble at the cist.

There were some huge toadstools about today - looking skywards under the Dung Bonnet ( Bolbitius vitellinus aka B. titubans), a coprophilous fungus that breaks down dung. These are larger and more delicate than Dung Roundheads (Stropharia semiglobulata).....

Another view .....

A more conventional view.

The Crock of Gold cist, SX 61282 73068, described by J. Butler (1993), Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities  IV, The South-East. 65.2 Cholake settlement and Crock of Gold cairn (figs. 65.3, 3.1), pages 229-230.

A view showing the cairn around the cist .....

This is a very deep Bronze Age stone box for burial/s .....

Another view of the cairn .....

Group at the cist .....

Dartmoor CAM movie. TIP .....

A movie panorama made beside the Crock of Gold - a lonely place.

Click the photo to download

File size: 8.3 MB.
Length 1:11 mins

Image © J Butler 1993. Reproduced by kind permission (ref. 29 Sept. 2012).

Bullpark on the way back.

Fly agaric, Amanita muscaria, suspected poisonous, growing on a hedge top and over the back .....

Fly agaric again.

Batchelor's Hall, now a YMCA facility. Originally built by Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt ... it was then used for naphtha extraction: from Dartmoor peat on the Legendary Dartmoor web site:

Another area of commercial peat extraction was in the Greena Ball/Holming Beam/Fice's Well area which is located above Princetown. Peat has an average content of 65% volatile matter and when distilled it is possible to obtain naphtha, so with this in mind Peter Adams and Jacob Hall started the British Patent Naphtha Company in 1844. It was initially based at Bachelor's Hall but in 1846 moved to the empty Princetown Prison. The peat was brought down from the ties in horse drawn wagons on a tramway, parts of which can still be seen today. This was then distilled to extract the naphtha oils which were used to produce candles, mothballs and gas for lighting.

The signpost is almost indecipherable, but by examining close-up photos, the right-hand board says "Public bridle path to Peat Cott", the middle board "Public bridle path to Princetown" and the left board "Public bridle path to Holming Beam".

Something that puzzled me for over fifty years - it grew as a weed on the family farm, particularly on busy "hard" tracks. I found out in May 2010  that it is Pineapple weed, Matricaria discoidea.It smells very like pineapple when it is crushed, particularly the flower heads. It is a relative of the mayweeds and chamomiles .....


Mystery object.

The Duchy Hotel, Princetown, now the DNPA High Moorland Visitor Centre.

Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

© Crown copyright and database rights 2014.  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373.  Use of this data is subject to terms and conditions.
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.

The walk was accessed very easily by the main roads to Princetown, with parking at the town car park, marked by the P symbol on the map and more precisely by the yellow cross.

Distance - 7.04 km / 4.4 miles.

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