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The Willsworthy Range ‘WD’ standing stones map out the tract of land that the War Department purchased in 1903. The route follows virtually the the line of the old Willsworthy Manor bounds, with some slight variations (of about 3200 acres) which were purchased from the Calmady-Hamlyn family. There is some debate surrounding WD 14 (which may have been moved), the correctness of the locations for WD 15 and WD 16 and the mystery surrounding the ‘missing’ WD 17 (all of which is covered in this post). The source of information for the post has been from Dartmoor Boundary Markers (1st edition; 1986 and 2nd edition; 2002) by Dave Brewer.
This plan is adapted from the map found in the Dartmoor Boundary Markers (1st edition – 1986) book by Dave Brewer and shows the locations of all the stones. The actual National Grid Reference locations of all 45 stones ( WD1 – WD16 and WD18 – WD46) can be found on the Dartefacts website here (you will have to register to get the information) : http://dartefacts.co.uk/walk/the-willsworthy-wd-war-department-stones-walk/
WD1 – On Black Hill ; WD2 – On Tavistock / Okehampton roadside ; WD3 – At Willsworthy Gate. According to (Eric) Hemery all the boundary stones / markers were ‘cut in the locality of Nattor Down’ and taken to their sites by Fred Palmer of Lane End Farm. All the stones are around 2ft (0.6m) in height and are square of section. They also bare marks of tare and feather.
WD 4 – At Prescombe Corner ; WD 5 – At Sounscombe Head
WD 6 – On Sounscombe Brook ; WD 7 – At Sounscombe Foot
WD 8 – At Beardon Gate (south side) ; WD 9 At Beardon Gate (north side)
WD 10 – At Lissicombe Head (west side) ; WD 11 – At Lissicombe Head (east side)
WD 12 – Bewtween Lissicombe Head and Foot
WD 13 – At Lissicombe Foot at junction with River Lyd
WD 14 – On bank of River Lyd (below Bearwalls) ; WD 15 – At Doe Tor Bottom near Tavistock Water Intake ; WD 16 – Near cist east of Doe Tor. On old 6 inch OS Maps WD 14 was originally located on High Down (near the farm). Also, it is speculated that the War Department followed the Doe Tor Brook route in error, when they should have followed the Wallabrook (once called Black-a-Brook). In the Dartmoor Boundary Markers (2nd edition) by Dave Brewer it is further suspected that WD 15 and WD 16 are incorrectly sited as they were originally located on Duchy land and this was at a time (1938) when the War Department wished to purchase a further 550 acres on Doe Tor common, which was contested by Lydford parishioners. WD15 and WD 16 were at that time what the War Department described as a “dry training” area.
WD 18 – At Wallabrook Head ; WD 19 – Near cairn between Hare Tor and Sharp Tor ; WD 20 – At Deadlake Head. The expected location of stone WD 17 reveals it is conspicuous by its absence. A former Willsworthy warden is recorded to have indicated that he understood that the bounds once went up to and included Sharp Tor (although he didn’t know exactly when this was) and that at a later date the bounds were amended to go directly from WD 16 to WD 18, hence the missing WD 17 stone.
WD 20 – At Deadlake Head. The story of the missing WD 17 stone continues at Deadlake Head. In 1988, at the beating of the bounds of the newly created civil parish of Lydford, another stone simply inscribed “WD” was found lying recumbent near to WD 20 (see picture). At first, it was thought that this stone may have been the intended WD 17 at Sharp Tor. However, on closer inspection, not only was it un-numbered but the inscription was quite crude and there wasn’t a ‘stop’ after the W.
WD 21 – At Deadlake Foot ; WD 22 – At Western Redlake Foot.
WD 23 – Midway up Western Redlake ; WD 24 – Near Western Western Redlake Head.
WD 25 – Near head of Baggator Brook ; WD 26 – Near head of Baggator Brook.
WD 27 – Near head of Baggator Brook ; WD 28 – At north-west corner of South Common Plantation.
WD 29 – At north-west corner of Baggator Woods ; WD 30 – At south-west corner of Baggator Woods.
WD 31 – At Cataloo Steps ; WD 32 – At Standon Steps.
WD 33 – On left bank of River Tavy ; WD 34 – On right bank of River Tavy.
WD 35 – On the edge of Yellowmeade enclosures ; WD 36 – On the edge of Yellowmeade enclosures. These two stones are the most difficult to photograph and locate. WD 35 (if you keep to access land) is across a very boggy field then over a stream. WD 36 is facing in an awkward direction to get a decent photograph and is surrounded by a large gorse bush.
WD 37 – On the edge of Yellowmeade enclosures ; WD 38 – On the edge of Yellowmeade enclosures.
WD 39 – On the edge of Yellowmeade enclosures ; WD 4 0 – On the north side of Buddla Corner ; WD 41 – On the south side of Buddla Corner.
WD 42 – On the edge of Willsworthy Enclosures ; WD 43 – On the edge of Willsworthy Enclosures ; WD 44 – Near Wheal Jewell reservoir, at Down Pool next to a ‘W/B’ (Willsworthy Manor) boundary stone.
WD 45 – At Tin Pits, near a ‘W/B’ (Willsworthy Manor) boundary stone on slopes of Black Hill ; WD 46 – On the crest of Black Hill.