When I decided to start this blog I was fairly sure I would have to try and fit in a few postings that were not about Dartmoor to allow some slight balance. It saddens me that this is really only the second post on what is my favourite area of the West Country.
I was introduced to the moors by my father at a very young age and have walked them for many years now both in company and on my own. They are a second home to me and in many sense a spiritual one. I think it likely that I will write an actual page about the moors at some stage so I’ll move from the general to the particular on this one.
Finally the rain stopped and there was a forecast of sun. Being Dartmoor the sun was absent and it was cold (very) however the moors are rewarding to me whatever the conditions. As I expected the ground to be very wet from the rain I headed to one of the closest areas of the south moor – Holne moor.
Parking by the Vennford reservoir I walked south over two disused leats up to the third and working leat. These leats have been used for centuries to get water from the moors. They were often relatively temporary and used to provide motive power for mine workings. Others were to provide actual water supply and this leat still supplies farms in the Holne area. There was plenty of water flowing and the leat had obviously been cleared recently. I saw fish swimming (or darting) in it.
I followed the leat to the unnamed stream that supplies it at the lower end of Ringleshuts mine working. This working is not the most recent or an example of the oldest on the moors. The earlier workings were simple streaming. The miners diverted water to wash the tin out. After that more extensive workings were required actively digging into the hillsides and this is one of this era.
The depth of digging can be seen. Sadly the pony was not colourful enough to stand out but it gives an idea of scale. This particular “gut” or “girt” is not the deepest in this mine working. Because of the heavy rains there was streams where there are normally paths. It was cold and the light was not good so I headed back to the car. Hopefully more on Dartmoor soon.