History Group Talk January 2011

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Mike Wright gave an illustrated tour by means of some of his collection of coloured slides around Foales Arrish, Rippon Tor, Haytor, and the Granite Railway.
Last year we had a guided walk around Foales Arrish and Rippon Tor and Mike took some excellent photographs, some of which he showed us. Many of his photographs were very atmospheric with cloud activity and the effect of the sun on clouds and landscape being most delightful to see. The prehistoric remnants visible on the moors made good viewing and the more modern activities on the moor made interesting subjects. The old firing range on the south side of Rippon Tor, the slit trenches and mortar sites, reminded members of World War II activities. This brought memories of when the red flag used to be hoisted at Cold East Cross, Hemsworthy Gate and on the Tor when firing practice was being held. the poles are no longer there. Pictures of early pottery and a bronze age axe also related to our early history. The ten commandments carved on Buckland Beacon, carved stones on Rippon Tor including an incomplete Cross, and many interesting other stones in the Haytor area A variety of pictures of the Haytor area included the quarry and its ponds with its goldfish, lilies and the remains of the quarry equipment and winding gear. The beautiful colours of heather and gorse, some wonderful views of the surrounding area. The archaeological remains that can be still seen made a grand finale to the show. The remains of quarry works, mining, a beehive hut, (was this shelter or a store?), and of course the world renown Templar Granite Railway and Stover Canal. The walker needs to be very observant when walking on Dartmoor and none more so than when in this area. An uncompleted trough, a broken one only part made but shattered and left where it had been worked on, the fantastic granite rail tracks and its associated mile stones, numbers 3,4,5,&6 still there to be seen by the keen observer. Bound stones with their engraved names (many with Royal connotations) are to be found. Into Bovey Tracey and a look at the hand weaving business there and then on to Stover Canal. There is a great deal of work being done to restore this canal, the old lock gates, the canal itself, the stone work and bridges associated with it, interesting plaques all adding to the interest of the walker all demonstrated by Michael’s keen eye as he walked this area. We benefited from his sharp eye and beautiful photographs.
As a result of this talk Michael and Richard Wells offered to organise a walk from Haytor to the canal as suggestion for ‘The Peter Hirst Memorial Walk’ this year.  This was put to the group in a casual way, and it was generally approved.
Put this in your diary for Monday 29th August 2011 provisionally at 12 noon so that we can make it quite a leisurely event. More details later in the year.

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