Dartmoor Explorations

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


Nigel Machin

Devil’s Elbow 1920 vs 2020 (1)
Looking east. Devil’s Bridge (Elbow) was straightened in the 1960s. To help imagine what it once looked like the old road from the 1906 map has been traced through Google Earth. It seems to show that the row of posts now running almost perpendicular to the modern road for no apparently good reason may well have run down the side of the old road. The picture shows a ‘painted on’ road and car, with what it might have looked like around 1950. The thing that is striking is how steep the climb would have been onto what is now a bank the other side of the road. It must have soon become impassible in ice and snow.

Devil’s Elbow 1920 vs 2020 (2)
Looking west. Further to the ‘painted’ on the old elbow bend in the first picture, it was assumed that a row of posts well away from the modern road went down the side of the old road. Comparing a photo taken around 1920 with the modern road and, although the posts weren’t there then, it does seem to confirm that they were indeed put alongside the old bend later to stop cars ending up in the mire. The most significant feature is not so much the ‘elbow’ but the steep climb up from it (left) towards Princetown compared to the modern gentle incline.
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  1. Peter Marks February 26, 2024

    I have an oil painting of Devils bridge by A. F. de Breanski 1877-1945.
    He has overdramatised the hills behind but it does show the clear route of the old road.
    I can send you a photo, if you wish.

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