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This walk: 2012-2-9. Brent Moor (Shipley Bridge) china clay works, Shipley Tor, plain boundary stones, Rider's Rings, Black Tor, roundhouses, enclosures, Avon Reservoir, Avon dam, rhododendron, The Hunter's Stone.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Earlier walk - 8th July 2010


Brent Moor (Shipley Bridge) china clay works - click image for large version. Built on the site of the 1847 naphtha works.  

Some background ..... Source: EA Wade, 1982, The Redlake Tramway and China Clay Works, Twelveheads Press, Truro.

1846, South Brent Peat and Peat Charcoal Works established at Shipley Bridge to extract naphtha from peat (p.11).
1847, Zeal Tor Tramway (horse-drawn) constructed to bring peat from Redlake - portable tramway lines were laid across the peat beds (p.11). 
1850, business dissolved on 13 August (p.11).

1850, Leftlake china clay works first opened in about 1850 (p.8). 
1858, closed because cartage across the moor to Harford was difficult (p.8). Re-opened 1922 by then owner of Redlake works (p.13).

1872, Brent Moor Clay Company formed. Worked former Knattabarrow clay works, became known as Petrie's Pit, close to the old Zeal Tor Tramway. A branch line was built and the old naphtha works converted to clay dries. Abandoned 1880 (p.13). Re-opened 1923 by then-owner of Redlake works, this seems to have been short-lived.

Later .....
1911, The Redlake Tramway was opened 11 September (p.23), terminating near Bittaford, not Shipley Bridge. 
1932, Work ceased, the worst year of the Depression (p.39). Leftlake china clay works was probably already closed by this time.


Shipley Tor, SX 685 631, elevation 300 metres (984 feet) .....


Zoomed view.


Cross-over of high-flying jets.


Triangular stone pillar set in a base of several smaller stones, SX 67810 63189. No apparent inscriptions. Dave Brewer(2002) Dartmoor Boundary Markers, Halsgrove, p. 238:

"At and above Shipley there are a number of plain boundary posts defining the areas within which these two companies were permitted to build their settling pits, mica drags, and dries, to the east of Zeal farm and extending down as far as the riverbank (Avon)".


Another view with Shipley Tor behind.


Rider's Rings in the distance - click image to see a larger version. Described by J. Butler (1994) Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities IV, 57.14, fig. 57.14 (page 144). 


Stream to be crossed on approaching Rider's Rings - the Bronze Age water supply?


Gateway into the enclosure, bottom right. One authority states that entrances were made in recent times to let livestock in and out.


Doorway of the roundhouse where we had a coffee break.


Zoomed view to Black Tor, SX 6805 6350, elevation 320 metres (1049 feet).


Roundhouses inside the enclosure.


Another hut circle.


A large square enclosure within the main enclosure.


Large circular enclosure?


Enclosing wall at the northern end of Rider's Rings, looking down towards the River Avon .....


This looks like another main gateway, near the north-west corner of the main enclosure.


The Avon Reservoir (opened 1957) .....


Zoomed view to the dam.


Crossing back over the stream.


Looking down the valley towards the road running back to the car park.


Looking up the valley.


View of a small enclosure near Black Tor.


Dartmoor CAM movie

A short panoramic scan of the small enclosure near Black Tor. There is a larger enclosure down the slope from here but we didn't visit it.


Click the photo to download

File size: 3 MB.
Time to download: e.g. 13 secs
Length 18 secs



Shipley Tor again.


Hut circle in the small enclosure.


Rock pile at Black Tor (there are two).


Looking back up the Avon valley - it looks as if Rhododendron has spread up this side of the tor (see at right).


Rhododendron east of Black Tor.


Another boundary stone as described above.


The Hunter's Stone, SX 68143 63185, here since 1948 - looking up the valley road to the dam with the side road to the water treatment works going off to the left ..... it bears the names of past Masters of Dartmoor Foxhounds .....


This top face is inscribed 1948, Commander C. H. Davey R.N. 1919 - 1940 and Carew Coryton 1888 - 1916. Between the words "Carew" and "Coryton" is inscribed MI Douglas Pennant. There appears to be illegible lettering at the bottom of the face, just above the straight edge. The gaps in our efforts have been filled after reference to the Legenday Dartmoor web site's "The Hunter's Stone" page.


Paul Treby, on the south-east face .....


Another view .....


Eastern face: Trelawney and MH DD .....


Northern face: Bulteel with WL Goodman below (added 1983) although we could not discern the inscribed date, perhaps another visit in different lighting ......


The Hunter's Stone with the water works road behind.


A rapid in the River Avon .....


Flat rock that is the bottom of the river ....


More rushing water.


Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

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


This walk was reached by exiting the A38 at South Brent (Exeter side) at the exit for Avonwick, Totnes and Paington. Drive north from the roundabout up towards the moor, straight across Harbourneford Cross, left at Gingaford Cross, pass a road going off on the left, follow the rtoad to the car park at Shipley Bridge, marked by the  P  symbol and yellow cross on the map.


Distance - 4.9 km / 3.1 miles



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