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This walk: 2012-3-14. RAF 1942 Stirling Bomber memorial stone, Piall Woods, seat and memorial plaque, Delamore House, Headon Down, Cholwich Town China Clay Works, mica settling tank, leat, kaolin, granite constituents, Broomage Wood, oak trees, common polypody, abandoned well, Broomage farm, Crownhill Tor, smoke from swaling, Tolchmoor Gate, Cholwich Town Farm Cross, Quick Bridge.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Similar walks were undertaken on 17 June 2009 and 28 July 2010. This walk was repeated on 12 April 2012.


A memorial stone at SX 59433 59875. The crew of Stirling Bomber R9329 are remembered in a Book of Remembrance, HERE. It seems that, returning from a mine-laying mission off the French coast and the Gironde estuary, they may have have missed the Land's End lighthouse in heavy fog and navigated back by using the Lizard lighthouse. This would have sent them over Plymouth where British AA guns may have opened fire. The account by Cornwood villagers of the plane coming in on fire and crashing into trees on Gibb Hill is given under "The Final Mission" near the end of the book. The final section is about "The Memorial".  There is a separate Book of Remembrance to Sgt. Lawrence Nicholson, HERE.

The wooden cross carved into a nearby tree by the RAF personnel who attended following the crash was found on 12 April 2012.


The path along the way, through Piall Woods, this being Gib Hill; in the distance are Gibhill Cottages. Robert & Richard Gribbe had tin mining interests here 1327-1349.


A look down the slope ......


Looking down a tinners' gert, this deep cutting does not look as impressive here as it does in reality.


A seat along the way .....


..... with a memorial plaque on the wall behind it.


Delamore House - this is the fourth house on the estate, this one being commissioned by Admiral Parker in 1859. The house has been in the same family since 1688.


Climbing the slope of Headon (Heddon, according to Crossing, p. 74) Down.


Looking across Headon Down towards the Cholwich Town China Clay workings. Towards Cholwich Town  Gate (Farm?) this becomes Ridding Down (again, according to Crossing, p. 74). Cholwichtown is an ancient farmstead, very historic and documented since the early 13th century. This area, Crownhill Down, is internationally renowned for its lowland heath and is threatened by the clay industry.

Clay working � this is a comparatively late addition to the industries on Dartmoor.  Earliest find was at Whitehill Tor in 1827.  First pit was at Lee Moor in 1830. Lee Moor has daveloped since the early 1900s. After the first pit, within a generation, clay was being extracted from 9 separate pits between the Plym and Tory Brook.  Cornish clay workers came and taught their skills.

The Lee Moor Tramway was built 1853 to take the china clay to quays in Plymouth.


No caption necessary!


Looking over a bank to a nearby mini-mountain of china clay waste.


Looking across to a mica settling tank - why is it so blue, Jim?  Click the image to see a larger version.


An old leat, not on the map.


A worn channel where the granite has decomposed, in the kaolinisation process, and soft components have been washed away over the years.


The front gate ....


An area of pits and pools .....




That water is unnaturally turquoise due to mica refractive charactersitics, splitting and reflecting certain parts of the light spectrum more or less than others.


A zoomed view across the settling pond.


A greened-over waste tip.


Close-up of the broken down granite - not quite china clay yet!


Some science .....

Kaolin is essentially "rotted" granite where the feldspar crystals have decomposed. Resulted from hot gasses acting on the feldspar when the granite was forming, 295 million years ago in the Late Palaeozoic Era, on the border between the Carboniferous (older) and Permian (more recent) Periods.

Modified from: PZNOW - Penwith's tors ..... a web page that seems to no longer exist.

The composition of granite gives it a distinctive appearance. The proportion of the minerals that make up the granite varies from location to location. The main constituents of granite are feldspar, quartz, biotite and muscovite. Also commonly found are pieces of other rock that fell into the granite before it cooled. These are xenoliths.

(feldspar, colourless)

Good examples of these crystals can seen in some granites. They can be the largest crystals by far.

(white crystals)

A very common mineral, the main constituent of granite.

(dark mica)
K(Mg,Fe)3AlSi3O 10(OH,F)2

A black to brown mica, found in nearly all granites.

(light mica)
KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH,F) 2

A lighter coloured mica found in granite.

Wikipedia: Feldspar (an Orthoclase, generally colourless), Quartz (generally white crystals), Biotite (dark mica), Muscovite (common, lighter mica).

For every tone of clay, there are seven tons of waste, now being turned into building materials.


What appears to be a run-off stream leaving the clay works.


Broomage Wood - this looks old although the trees are not dwarfed and are not that large, possibly not such an ancient wood? There is a long history of woodland management here. Hut circles in this area are the lowest altitude recorded (at 200 m) for prehistoric settlements.


Common polypody, Polypodium vulgare.


Unidentified fungus on dead wood.


A felled tree, taken for the shape and spread of the branches.


Abandoned well in a field near Broomage Farm .....


There is water present this visit, it has been dry before.


AS previous photos.


Broomage Farm, SX 579 609, first documented in 1248 as "Nether Bromweche" ..... visited previously on 17 June 2009.


The main building, quite a substantial two storey structure.


Internal view.


Front of the house.


Crownhill Tor (formerly known as Knackers� Knoll) at SX 5748 6087, 236 metres (774 feet).


Vaguely artistic attempt, or a clich�?


Old china clay tips, levelled and now green - click the image to see a larger version.


Another tor under the belt.


Another vista ... click the image to see a larger version .....


Stone at Tolchmoor Gate, presumably part of a gate arrangement?


View throught eh square hole.


Trees in a narrow band along the road down to Quick Bridge, planted in rows perhaps to hide the waste tip behind.


Cholwich Town Farm Cross (or Ridding Down Cross).


View of the clay waste tip between the trees.


Continuing down the path.


Looking up!


The clay drying works at Quick Bridge .....


Its notices.


Car park with Quick Bridge behind, with a clay lorry going over the bridge.


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.


The walk was reached by driving from Lee Moor on the A38, past the big Tesco store, through Cornwood, and 1.7 km (1.0 mile) beyond to a roadside parking area, marked by the yellow cross, just before Quick Bridge - this is the bridge after Piall Bridge.

Distance - 6.95 km / 4.32 miles



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