Devonport Leat, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Devonport Leat, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Devonport Leat is arguably the most impressive leat on Dartmoor and the one you're most likely to walk along or cross if you're exploring the National Park in depth. The leat has multiple headweirs and winds its way from its most northerly point on Dartmoor's north moor to the south western border of the National Park by Clearbrook. From there, it continues to Devonport/Plymouth. As the Dartmoor expert Eric Hemery writes in his book 'Walking the Dartmoor Waterways: A Guide to retracing the leats and canals of the Dartmoor country', the 'leat's course within the city area is in any case now almost untraceable due to building development'. This site covers Dartmoor. What follows is an overview of the leat in the National Park.

Devonport Leat has three headweirs. The most northerly point is the West Dart River Headweir/Wistman's Wood Weir. This is in a steep-sided valley between Beardown Tors and Longaford Tor. It's just downstream of Wistman's Wood Ford. The famous Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve itself is visible below on the eastern side of the river. You can walk along the side of the leat through Beardown Plantation to where it meets water that comes from the second headweir.

River Cowsic Headweir is situated in another steep-sided valley on the western side of Beardown Tors. The headweir is downstream of a footbridge that provides access from the car parking area at Holming Beam to the high moor around Beardown Tors and beyond. From the headweir the leat follows the shape of the River Cowsic until it meets the West Dart River branch.

The combined leat then heads towards a third headweir. The Black Brook Headweir is just north of Dartmoor Prison.

With water coming from three source, the Devonport Leat flows under the busy B3212 Princetown to Two Bridges road on its way to Tor Royal and then Peat Cot. The leat from Whiteworks to Nun's Cross Farm is beautiful with views over Foxtor Mires and across to Dartmoor's south moor. At Nun's Cross Farm, it arcs west and enters a tunnel. It passes by many crosses on the Buckfast to Tavistock Monastic Route. The leat drops steeply to Devonport Leat Aqueduct and then runs through the plantation at Burrator Reservoir. It emerges above Burrator Dam and meanders through the Dousland and Yelverton areas to Clearbrook and the border of Dartmoor National Park.