A Misty Moisty Morning…

Burrator Dam, at one end of Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor.
The road runs across it, so you can walk across and look down
at the water , which is an awfully long down down!

This week we have been to visit my Elder Daughter and her Boyfriend in Plymouth, and had a wonderfully relaxing time being made a fuss of and looked after as if we were really special people. They cooked us wonderful meals, beautifully served up, with the table all laid out properly, and we’ve had home-grown salad, and courgettes, and home-made icecream )not together, I hasten to add, different courses!). And there was home-made wine, poured from a glass decanter – there’s posh for you! I kept offering to help, but I wasn’t allowed to do anything. No washing up, no cooking, no tidying, no cleaning, no washing, no ironing… Sheer bliss! All I did was chill out and enjoy myself, and being so pampered made me feel like Royalty! The Man of the House was just as happy, especially as Elder Daughter and her Boyfriend took out us out and about, so he didn’t have to worry about driving or parking. 

Lakeside view: Burrator Reservoir shrouded in mist.
One of our trips was up on to Dartmoor, where we walked around the Burrator Reservoir, which is where Plymouth’s drinking water comes from. Back at the house it seemed odd to think that we’d seen the source of all the water that came out of the taps for drinking and washing and so on, and I got the laptop out to do a bit of research for a Saturday Snapshot.
The trees looked spooky as the mist turned them to
silhouettes in shades of black, grey and very dark green.
Anyway, it was a misty, moisty sort of morning, which made for a very atmospheric walk as trees loomed out of the fog and mist rose from the reservoir, which looks like a natural lake and is surrounded by forest. The trees were planted when the reservoir was created, but they look as if they have been there for ever, covered in the most amazing lichens – the biggest and most varied I’ve ever seen – and the trunks and branches and twigs are twisted and contorted like something from an Arthur Rackham painting. There are carpets of cushiony moss covering the rocky ground and masses of ferns, and on this particular day everything was dripping with droplets of water. It was all very lush and green, and overgrown and treeish (as one of the Hobbits commented about Fangorn Forest), and not a bit as I imagined Dartmoor would be (we went to a different spot last year, which was very bleak and barren, so I was totally unprepared for this).  
There were lichens big enough to be
in a flower bed… 
… And others encrusted branches
so there was no wood ro be seen.
The water looked positively Arthurian, but I always think that about water in the mist or fog. I kept expecting to see the shadowy spectre of a boat drift by, or a hand clutching a sword to emerge through the surface… There are masses of ducks, geese and other water fowl, and around the edges of the water are sandy areas, almost like a proper beach, and pebbles and rocks, and tree roots, and grass, and a place which was very, very boggy. 
Droplets of water caught on a cobeweb.
Before the reservoir was built at the end of the 19th Century, Plymouth’s water was supplied by the Plymouth Leat, a six-foot deep trench, which brought water from the River Meavy, 18 miles away from the city. Created in 1585, the project was the brainchild of Sir Francis Drake, who is best known for insisting on finishing a game of bowls up on Plymouth Hoe before setting off do battle with the Spanish Armada.
I guess this is another of those cross-bred ducks,
similar to the ones I’ve seen in Tamworth.
For 300 years the Leat served the people of Plymouth, carrying more than 5 million gallons of water every day. But the demand for fresh water supplies increased as the docks developed and the city grew larger. Eventually there was a crisis in 1891 when the ditch was covered in heavy snow during the ‘Great Storm’ of 1891, and water didn’t flow for days on end. 
Raindrops on the spikes of a thistle flower.

So plans for a reservoir were drawn up, a site found, and construction got under way  on August 9th, 1893. Work took exactly five years – Burrator was officially opened on September 21st, 1898, and the whole thing cost £178,000. Part of the old Leat now lies inside the reservoir, which is fed directly by the River Meavy, with a dam at either end. Initially it held 668 million gallons of water, but it was enlarged in 1923, when the dams were raised by ten feet (another five-year project), with a re-opening ceremony in September 1928. It now holds more than 1,000 million gallons of water, is managed by the South West Lakes Trust, and is a popular spot for tourists and residents alike, with the most incredible scenery and tracks for walking, cycling, fishing and wildlife. I just loved this spot – it was so beautiful, and so quiet, and completely unspoiled, and shows just how amazing a man-made landscape can be, and how it gradually becomes part of the natural scene as nature takes over.  
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mummy.

The Wanderer… Me, trailing behind everyone
else because they’ve all got longer legs!

32 thoughts on “A Misty Moisty Morning…

  1. It really is the most gorgeous spot Deb. My daughter has been there in all weathers (including brilliant sunshine, and a day in the depths of winter when everything was covered in snow, and each time she sees it she thinks it's the most beautiful!


  2. Christine, such lovely photos! I love the spooky trees. Its wonderful to have children that treat us special isn't it? So glad you stopped over and I found your blog!


  3. Ohh – it sounds like you had a great visit! So nice when the kids take care of us a bit. 🙂
    The misty photos made me immediately think of the George R.R. Martin book I recently reviewed – With Morning Comes Mistfall.
    I love the cobweb droplet image! I took one like that a few weeks ago and will be using it some Saturday. Yours has more color around it. Isn't it a lovely thing?


  4. The cobweb with the water droplets was breath-taking, and the drops of water glittered in the murky light, and quivered in a very light breeze… It was magical. Please post your photo – I'd love to see it.


  5. Hope you enjoyed your holidays. I don't think anyone could see all of Dartmoor – I was surprised when I looked at a map and realised how vast the area is. This bit is really lovely, and is quite close to where my daughter and her boyfriend live, which is why they tend to go there.


  6. Ah, isn't is awesome being pampered?

    Lichen fascinates me too. We have a lot of it in Newfoundland. Some of your photos remind me of my home province, from which I just returned last month and am missing now.

    Thanks for sharing your research!


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