Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

BLACK DOWN (F RANGE) TARGET RAILWAYS

Steve Grigg and Frank Collinson

Black Down (F Range) Target Railways / Tramways. The post shows three of five target railways / tramways which can be visited in a day hike. The other two are the Row Tor Target Railway and the East Mill Tor Incline Target Raiway. Also shown in this post is Red-a-Ven dip reservoir, the Black Down semaphore station location and the remains of a 200m anti-tank range. More information about the F Range curved and straight target railway can be found here:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1424351

BD Map
Map of all features covered in this post
BD1
View of Black Down coming down off Yes Tor, some of the range features very discernable.
BD2
Approaching Red-a-Ven dip, West Mill Tor in the shadows.
BD3
Is this a worked millstone or just a natural stone ? SX58040 91034
BD4
The inky black reservoir at Red-a-Ven dip
BD 5
This once supplemented the water supply at Okehampton
BD 6
Not much water in the cascade.
BD 7
Just a very short distance from the reservoir is the F Range moving target (straight) railway. You can make out the shallow cutting heading towards Black Down in this picture. SX58128 91181
BD 8
F Range moving target (straight) railway, shows evidence of where sleepers were once laid. This tramway is believed to be late 19th century.
BD 9
F Range moving target (curved) tramway at SX57989 91419. This tramway is early to mid 20th century.
BD 10
My attempt at showing the end loop of the curved tramway.
BD 11
The top of the “loop” of the curved tramway. The two gullies easily recognisable. This is at SX58014 91478
BD 12
Looking north-east up the curved tramway, there is a iron pin and tube used as a cable bearing for the target carrier. It is thought the target was a sleigh on which canvas figures were attached.
BD 13
Detail of the iron pin and tube. SX58016 91487
BD 14
Moving back across to the F Range moving target (straight) railway to locate the foundations of the redoubt and electric light shed. This view is looking north.
BD 15
The foundations of the redoubt and electric light shed. This view is looking south to West Mill Tor and Yes Tor. SX58212 91568. The electric light was used for night firing.
BD 16
 the foundations, some looks like bakelite. Is this possible as bakelite was only invented in 1907 ?
BD 17
More metal and concrete debris.
BD 18
North end of the curved tramway at SX58147 91754
BD 19
The line of the curved tramway
BD 20
The big pond shown on OS map, which is the approx location where both the straight and the curved tramways meet.
BD Pond
The other side of the pond showing the line of the straight railway (picture taken on a different day to most of the other photographs)
BD 21
Heading up the straight railway to its terminal point
BD 22
A lonesome lost beret but there was no soldier underneath it.
BD 23
Top of the straight railway. Great views of West Mill Tor and Yes Tor. SX58235 92136
BD Flag
Black Down Flag Pole
BD Semaphore
Location of semaphore station
BD 24
Near the top of the straight railway is the F Range (anti-tank) range. This is the 200m firing point at SX58265 92100
BD 25
F Range (anti-tank) range. This is the 100m firing point at SX58308 92021
BD 26
F Range (anti-tank) range. This is the target point at SX58355 91900
BD 27
The third and final tramway in this post. It is only about 100m long and there isn’t any evidence of any mechanism. This is the west end with a large terminating stone. Not sure if this was part of the tramway or just a naturally located rock. SX58486 91721
BD 28
The National Monuments Record SDV363416, describes two crescentric hollows in the tramway. This is one at SX58505 91722
BD 29
A second crescentric hollow at SX58562 91716
BD 30
The east end of the tramway at SX58603 91715

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