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Gidleigh Common Leat

One of my favourite types of day. I have been asked to photograph various archealogical features on Gidleigh Common. I spent the afternoon bog hopping and winding my way round Scorhill Tor, the Stone Circle, Brown Hill, past Ripator, finishing up in the small valley of the Gallaven Brook.

Gidleigh Leat first appeared on maps from the 1880's, so was probably built just before that time. Following the leat across the moor made me appreciate the building of it. It starts high up on the Gallaven brook, flowing along the contours through boggy ground to bring water to farmsteads in Gidleigh. In places it must at least 3' deep.

As I was walking I remembered an incident from many years ago. A woman and her horse had fallen into the leat and she had removed the saddle and bridle. I had to catch the horse and lead it down the leat until I could find a piece of ground that was solid enough. At one point I was floundering about in the leat with the horse.

One of our jobs as commoners is to maintain or oversee the maintainence of various features. In recent years the leat has been re dug in places by a small digger. Very different to how it was once built, the mind boggles at the effort involved.

The Gallaven just above the start of the leat. The stream then disappears into bog, the reappears gathering pace until it meets the Wallabrook.


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