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Steve Grigg and Frank Collinson
In the Dartmoor Heritage Environment Record (HER) there is mention of three target tramways in the Willsworthy Range area. The reference is SDV148. They are described thus: a) Two “target tramways” marked on OS 6″ (1965) map one from sx52828331 to sx52588306, the other from sx52838328 to sx52888305 and b) “target tramway” marked on OS 6″ (1965) map, runs sx53778324-sx53748309, presumably associated with Willworthy Camp. This is (at the time of this post) the only information found to be available. Having explored the 5 target tramways on the Okehampton Range (at West Mill Tor, East Mill Tor and Row Tor), an exploration of these tramways seemed a logical next step.
The 1949-1969 map taken from side-by-side, showing the location of the three tramways
Target Tramway 1, northern end has a concrete block shelter which is located close to an old stile which leads to the footbridge over Mine Leat which allowed access to Reddaford Farm.
A close up of the concrete block shelter is located at SX53772 83248
Inside the concrete block shelter is the remains of some electrics, which looks like the field communication system. This may help to age the system, which the author believes may have been from the 1950’s / 1960’s
Next to the shelter are the remains of what is believed to be a target hoist system. This one was at SX53779 83253
Another part of a target hoist system at SX53773 83248
The target hoist system appears to have been constructed on top of a wall, which leads away from the Reddaford Farm enclosures. Can one assume that the walls are older than the tramway / target hoists ?
Turning south along the course of the old tramway from the northern concrete shelter, the first rails of the old tramway can be found.
Close up of a rail
The rails were crudely measured using the markings on a walking pole and the gauge of the tracks appear to be around 2′ (60cm)
Descending the tramway and looking back north
At the southern end of the tramway, some more target hoists – this one is at SX53757 83094
The target hoist at the southern end of tramway 1 is still movable.
In one location, a sleeper was close enough to the surface to be seen. The sleeper was metallic. This is located at SX53762 83173
At the southern end of the tramway is a second concrete bunker. This one is at SX53751 83097
Location of the target hoist in relation to the southern target hoist. The conjecture is that the the tramway may have had both fixed and moving targets. The firing position(s) look like they may have been from across Mine Leat in what is known at Willsworthy Camp today.
Close up of the southern concrete bunker. This one doesn’t appear to have any remaining communications electrics but does have a recess, which presumably housed the system historically.
From across Mine Leat looking towards the Target Tramway 1, with Ger Tor behind. Was this the location, where the firing took place ?
Target Tramway 2. There is very little left of this one, especially at the southern end by the Mine Leat. This picture shows part of a ditch, which would have housed the tramway.
Northern end of Tramway 2 at SX52823 83286
Target Tramway 3, runs NE to SW. This is the northern end (which is close to tramway 2 north end) at SX52812 83310. The tramway appears at this end to have been repurposed into a track wide enough for vehicles.
Walking along Target Tramway 3, it becomes clear that “track” leads to a military bunker.
Alongside Target Tramway 3 and the bunker is a standing stone at SX52650 83122. This is possibly one of the Hamlyn’s stones.
Beyond the bunker the tramway seems to revert to its original size. This is looking SW
Looking back along the Target Tramway (NE) to the bunker
Target Tramway 3 terminates at a concrete block wall at SX52577 83061
Looking NE from the end of the tramway towards the bunker and White Hill beyond
Termination point of Target Tramway 3 looking SW