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This walk: 2012-11-28. Roborough Rock, RAF Harrowbeer aerodrome, Dartmoor ponies, Allan Williams turret, drinking fountain, Diamond Jubilee commemorative monument, Devonport Leat, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt's horse-drawn tramway, Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, Elford Town Farm, Gloucestershire Old Spot piglets, kissing gate, tunnels, oak trees, Chub Tor, oak apple, Drake's Plymouth Leat, tramway mile post, sluice.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Link to Google Satellite view of the area of RAF Harrowbeer.


RAF Harrowbeer information board, similar sign to that seen on the 17th October 2012 walk around the Common and the airfield except for the map being oriented the other way round (top-to-bottom) because we are on the opposite side of the airfield here ..... the airfield was built for fighters during WW2 when Plymouth became a target for German bombers .....


Showing the location of the board in relation to the former watch office, now the Knightstone Tearooms & Restaurant.


Roborough Rock - the 'dry' one as opposed to The Rock Inn, Yelverton. Also known as Udal Tor, Ullestor and Hurlestone Rock (1765).


Roborough Rock is a metamorphic rock, being a magnesium limestone. 'Proper' limestone is calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Magnesium limestone is calcium magnesium carbonate (CaMg(CO3)2) and compares with "dolomite".  "Roborough stone" has been cut from dykes across Roborough Common and used in churches e.g. Tamerton Foliot, Plympton and Shaugh Prior; it has a warm colour, no sparkle and becomes pitted. An example is probably the nearby Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee monument (a few photos below).


Dartmoor ponies on the former aerodrome.


Another view of Roborough Rock showing the proximity of the remains of the remains of the Allan Williams turret, this was a simple anti-aircraft system using converted .303 machine guns or similar. Allan Williams is hyphenated on some web sites, but the designer was actually one A.H. Williams.


Our "usual lecture" about Dartmoor's history, archaeology and antiquities ..... with the ring of the Allan Williams turret in the foreground.


A drinking fountain erected to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria .....


A Diamond Jubilee commemorative monument .....


"Victoria Regina 1837-1897" - she reigned 20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901 (63 years 7 months, she died aged 81).


Gathered on the small bridge over Devonport Leat at SX 5172 6717 - a sluice can be seen towards the right edge (just left of the modern concrete signpost) that lets water run into the Plymouth Leat (Drake's Leat), see the sluice in the next photo ..... Devonport leat was built in 1793-1801, 27 miles long with 17 miles still flowing - into Burrator Reservoir and the Dousland water works (to supply Princetown and local area) .....


The sluice - also, at the right edge of this photo, there can be seen part of the structure in the next photo .....


A strange pair of stones that themselves form a sluice when the leat water is very low. The sluice in the previous photograph was cleared on 23rd Nov. 2012 by a Dartmoor Preservation Association conservation team, almost witnessed by our guide as she scouted out the walk for us today - she saw us packing up.


A piece of iron rail, all that remains of Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt's horse-drawn tramway (opened 1823), this tramway being the beginnings of the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway which became a steam railway. The original tramway ran from Sutton Pool to Princetown, with various branch lines added later.


Looking along the minor road, built over the top of the old tramway, with Devonport Leat seen as the cutting on the right.


A house passed along the way .....


"Elford Town" was the name that was either miss-heard or miss-pronounced around the time they were planning a railway station at Elford Town and it gave rise to "Yelverton".


Self explanatory sign.


"Six little piggies went to feed" - that must be in a song somewhere ..... Gloucestershire Old Spots .....


What can I say?


They don't pose much .....


There's always one!


Another railway bridge, at SX 5210 6701.


A kissing gate, where the post and struts are made from bent railway rails. Having discovered the origin of the "kissing" aspect, I am disappointed, no need to "pucker up" ever again! 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 all to do with good old fashioned philematology!


Elford Town Farm .....


Zoomed view.


View along the path.


Another small tunnel under the railway embankment, quite small so probably just to connect land, to allow animals to pass through perhaps.


A picturesque field scene .....


Zoomed view.


Another tunnel, at SX 5329 6594 .....


Scene after passing through the tunnel, a fairly steep stream.


Mostly English Oak trees, the pedunculate oak (has acorns on stalks, not direct on twigs), Quercus robur.


Believed to be the real Chub Tor, at SX 5200 6610 (Legendary Dartmoor's tors page) ..... seen from SX 5227 6592, looking almost due north .....

Another, more probable, location could be SX 52171 66491, seen as the centre of a rocky area on Google Maps/Earth view, on private land.


Zoomed view.


Oak apple, formed on a leaf instead of more usually on a twig.


Sluice in the wall of Drake's Plymouth Leat.


Looking along Drake's Leat towards Clearbrook, the sluice can be seen just ahead, on the left.


Pony at water trough .....


Another pony nearby.


Looking along the Devonport Leat towards Yelverton.


The 13-mile post on Tyrwhitt's tramway (Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway), SX 51190 66739, marking possibly 13 miles from the original start of the railway at Crabtree, Plymouth.


Another view.


Standing on the road (former tramway/railway) looking north - the Devonport Leat (middle distance).....


..... and looking south, Drake's Plymouth Leat, in shadow against the hedge. Drake's Plymouth Leat was built in 1591, 18� miles long, the take-off being from the River Meavy (the site is now under Burrator Reservoir) running into Plymouth, terminating in the Drake Reservoir, just up the hill from Plymouth University.


Standing in the leat looking back towards Plymouth, the road is seen on the left.


Back to Roborough Rock.


Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

© Crown copyright and database rights 2012  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.


This walk was reached from the A386 Plymouth to Yelverton road by turning left at the sign for Crapstone, then first right, onto the old RAF Harrowbeer airfield and parking in one of the aeroplane parking bays, e.g. marked by the yellow cross on the map above.


Distance - 4.84 km / 3.01 miles.



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