Devonport Leat

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Devonport Leat
Devonport leat.JPG
Devonport Leat looking East towards Cramber Tor at Raddick Hill Falls
Coordinates50°34′49″N 3°57′43″W / 50.5802°N 3.9620°W / 50.5802; -3.9620Coordinates: 50°34′49″N 3°57′43″W / 50.5802°N 3.9620°W / 50.5802; -3.9620

The Devonport Leat is a leat in Devon constructed in the 1790s to carry fresh drinking water from the high ground of Dartmoor to the expanding dockyards at Plymouth Dock (which was renamed as Devonport, Devon on 1 January 1824).[1]


It is fed by five Dartmoor rivers: the West Dart, the Cowsic, the Hart Tor Brook, the River Meavy and the Blackabrook (this last apparently was the first portion to supply Plymouth Dock).

Aqueduct on the leat near Burrator Reservoir over the River Meavy


Dartmoor granite was used to construct the water channel, as well as a small aqueduct and a tunnel.

Historic changes[edit]

It was originally designed to carry water all the way to Plymouth Dock, a total distance of 27 miles (43 km), but has since been shortened[2] and the operational part of the leat now stops near the Burrator Reservoir dam. Some of the water goes through underground pipes to the water treatment works at Dousland; the rest goes into the Burrator Reservoir which provides most of the water supply of Plymouth. For part of the route to Dousland the pipes follow the routes of the old Plymouth Leat (or 'Drake's Leat') and of the disused Yelverton to Princetown Railway. Before the piped supply to Dousland was installed, the water was used for a hydroelectric turbine near Yelverton Reservoir and fed by a 12-inch-diameter (300 mm) pipe.


Route of Devonport Leat (blue); dashed red line shows edge of Dartmoor National Park

The Devonport Leat begins a short distance to the north of Wistman's Wood[3] at an altitude of over 410 metres (1,350 ft) and twice passes close to Two Bridges[4] (following the contours up the Cowsic valley in between) before heading towards Princetown.[5] Its water supply now ends up in Burrator Reservoir.[6] It follows a meandering path across the moor, carefully selected by engineers to follow the natural contours of the land.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keith Ryan. "Devonport Leat, 1801 (Two short extracts from the 37 pages of the Act (for supplying... water), and extensive details of The head-waters of Devonport Leat... It is not unusual for newcomers to the subject to be confused, poring over maps, trying to discern the origins of Devonport Leat.)". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Devonport Leat conservation project". Dartmoor Preservation Association, Friends of Dartmoor. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  3. ^ 50°34′49″N 3°57′43″W / 50.5802°N 3.9620°W / 50.5802; -3.9620 Start of Devonport Leat near Wistman's Wood
  4. ^ 50°33′29″N 3°57′56″W / 50.558011°N 3.965667°W / 50.558011; -3.965667 Two Bridges- the leat passes immediately to the north of Beardown Farm and then returns to pass again to the west of Moor Lodge
  5. ^ Richard Knights. "Dartmoor Walks: Devonport Leat (A pictoral record of a walk)". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ 50°29′49″N 4°02′24″W / 50.497°N 4.040°W / 50.497; -4.040 Burrator Reservoir
  7. ^ Tim Sandles (21 March 2016). "The Leats of Dartmoor". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  • Hawkings, David J. (1987). Water from the Moor. Devon Books. pp. 50–71. ISBN 0-86114-788-X.

External links[edit]