A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park
May 2, 2021
Plymouth Corporation Water Works (PCWW) granite boundary posts and cast iron markers
In the late 1970’s, I came across my first PCWW granite boundary post on Sheepstor (it was inscribed PCWW 1919). I didn’t realise the full significance of this stone, except that it signified the water catchment area for Burrator Reservoir. In the intervening forty plus years, I regularly passed, what seemed like 100’s of these markers and got to learn a little more about them. Finally in 2021, I now have a photographic record of them all, which are shared in this post, with there grid references and a potted history. I am indebted to the “Old Plymouth Society”, who have created a fabulous 4 page report on the history of the markers and to Dartefacts website for additional location information.
In 1893, the Plymouth Corporation Water Act was approved, which effectively gave them the right to “impound the water of the River Meavy and its tributaries”. Subsequently the reservoir at Burrator was constructed and was completed in 1898 effectively replacing Drake’s Leat (the previous source of water dated from 1591), which had become inadequate. The reservoir watershed, however, was owned by others, in the main Sir Henry Lopes of Maristow. The area of the watershed was 5300 acres. The selling of the watershed lands to the Plymouth City Water Works in 1916, 1919 and 1932 led to the erection of the granite boundary markers.
There are 71 granite boundary posts as follows: PCWW 1917 (57) , PCWW 1919 (10) and PCWW 1932 (3) plus one post which is not inscribed and one inscription on North Hessary Tor (total 72). These are labelled PCWW 1-72 and this post has been faithful to the nomenclature of the “Old Plymouth Society”. As well as the granite markers there is a series of smaller cast iron marker posts in the vicinity of the reservoir, which are undated and whose purpose is unclear.