A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park
June 9, 2023
Manga (or Mangersford) Rails
At the ancient Mangersford (Manga Ford) on the North Teign River, near the point where Hugh (Hew) Lake joins the river, there are four granite posts which support the Manga ‘Rails’. Historically, the granite posts once supported horizontal timbers as the ‘rails’ which in modern times are now metal. This is well known crossing point of the river, but this wasn’t the original intention for their construction.
The granite posts that support the rails have been in place since around 1780, and were constructed as described by Eric Hemery in High Dartmoor (page 819): “to prevent beasts from wandering downstream from Teignhead Newtake”. Hemery further mentions that this location was once known as ‘Collinsford’, which was marked on the Gidley Map. The name is believed to have originated because of the regular use of the ford by the Collins family of Batworthy who were mentioned in the Tithe Apportionments of 1843.
The ‘Rails’ are extensively used by hikers which ultimately leads to this crossing point needing lots of repair work over the years. In the memory of the author major repairs took place in June 1991 and in June 2014. This post explores the stories behind these repairs and also shows some of the pictures the author has taken over the last 30 years or so.