NORSWORTHY CP, CLAZYWELL POOL, CRAMBER POOL AND TOR,
AQUADUCT AND DEVONPORT LEAT
The walk described here is for the new years day walk with the addition of photographs taken on 11 Nov 99, shortly after Sara had found out that British Airways had lost her main luggage en route from the States!1
At last after days of rain and wind, the New Year dawned with lighter winds and some blue sky, ideal to recce a walk for the Plymouth Ramblers list. We wanted a walk of about 8 miles with some varying landscape.
We decided to base the walk around visiting two landmarks on Dartmoor, Clazywell Pool and Cramber Pool.
The walk started from a large car park at the North End of Burrator Reservoir, the Norsworthy Bridge Car Park. With the heavy rain of the last ten days we expected plenty of mud. Yes there was some, but nothing like the mud bath we had anticipated. We started by crossing. Norsworthy Bridge and turning North East with a steady climb up Norsworthy Lane, which led up to the open moors after about a mile. We had our first good views of Burrator from this point.
This is a largish pool formed from an old mine working. It is steeped in legend about its depth.
Unfortunately it was the scene of a recent tragedy when a young marine recruit drowned whilst attempting to swim across it in combat gear. He was not alone but part of a group. He disappeared beneath the surface half way across and although divers were on hand they couldn't locate him.
We left the pool and turned east to walk to the Cross, named after the pool. Apparently the cross is one of many marking the old monastic route between the abbeys of Buckfast and Buckland.
Turning north we soon came across the Devonport leat.
Sometimes called Drakes leat, its purpose was to carry fresh water to Plymouth in the West.
There is still plenty of fresh clear water flowing in it as the photographs show.
We turned east again and followed the leat for a further mile until it started running parallel to the track we had been climbing some time before. We soon found the girt we were looking for and we left the leat at this point and followed the girt more or less due North for the best part of a mile.
Clear compass bearing were taken to make sure that we could find the local high point, marked with a triangulation plinth.
Lo and behold we were spot on with our navigation and we found the point dead ahead. The views from the point were a splendid vista. The erosion in the direct vicinity showed that many other walkers had also made for this little landmark.
If you look carefully at the picture of the triangulation mark, you can clearly see the erosion and you can just about pick out the TV mast at North Hessary Tor in the background. The next point of interest on the walk was to be Cramber Pool. This is much less well known than Clazywell, but many Dartmoor experts claim that it is more interesting.
Since it was impossible to see it from the point we took yet another compass bearing on it from the map, about 250 if I recall, after a few minutes walking we suddenly came upon it at the head of yet another girt. Yes it is quite pretty and I understand the fauna is very varied and interesting at the right time of year.
We wound our way across therange of hillocks surrounding the pool and made for Cramber Tor, again not visible from the pool so it was yet another Compass bearing from Joy's new Christmas present.
Amazing things these compasses, yes we found it after about half a mile. As you might expect it is quite windswept up on the moor and we were glad of the break from the wind in the lee of the Tor, lunch in the shape of an apple and coffee was taken on the North side of the Tor. Luckily it was a South West wind otherwise it could have been decidedly chilly.
After a quick break we were off again heading for the Aqueduct WNW from the Tor, not visible, we again were walking following a compass bearing. This was probably the only difficult part of the walk as we descended through a granite scree field. The descent was quite gentle though, providing we kept our feet as we picked our way through the scree. Plenty of animals and birds around, and the occasional human being. A slightly steeper descent as we dropped down by the waterfall leading to the aqueduct.
Crossing the aqueduct we were with the leat again and we were to remain with it for a very gentle westerly stretch along its Northerly bank and into the forestry plantation. After some five miles our first stile. With some rambles we would have been hopping over many stiles by this distance.
And so into the plantation, more people around here, we are obviously getting close to the Burrator beauty spot where there would be many Devonians out celebrating the New Year. We crossed to the Southern side of the leat as we entered the plantation. If there were to be mud then it would be found here. Yes there was some mud but nothing like the amount that we thought we would be wading through.
We continued to follow the leat in a SW direction until we came across a bridge. Well signposted here, we turned off the leat and followed a well-signed descending path southerly through the plantation, muddier here but not that bad. We passed a derelict farm, Lether Tor Farm I believe.
Over another stile and a left turn to head Easterly for a couple of hundred yards, passing a cache store used by workers some hundred years ago and down to a very pretty bridge called Lether Bridge.
Here a young dog was frolicking in the water looking for stones, completely immersed in the current, he had obviously done this before. In January, goodluck to the dog!! But he seemed very happy. Turning South-westerly we followed the signposted path back to the Norsworthy Bridge. A successful and interesting walk with no rain. The car park was now very full with many people celebrating the New Years Day.
We estimate the walk to be of about 7 miles in length of mainly easy walking, plus some careful scree hopping. Quickly out of the walking gear and back in the car we headed back around Burrator and to the Burrator Inn at Dousland.
An all day open pub, we were in with the throng for a couple of well earned pints of Old Speckled Hen bitter for Sara, Steve and myself, for Joy a dry sherry and tomato juice.
Of course a ridiculously cheap bar meal of Rump Steak, mushrooms, tomatoes chips and peas for 3 pounds was taken by the non veggies and an omlette for the non meat eater.
What an excellent way to round off a good walk, good beer and food. 20 minutes later and we are home in Plymouth to download the pictures from Joy's digital camera. We think they've come out very well indeed and illustrate the walk very well.