A Visit to Dartmoor and an Ancient Clapper Bridge
Dartmoor is in the county of Devon, situated in the south west of England and attracts thousands of visitors a year.
It is moorland with National Park status and covers an area of 954 square kilometers (368 square miles)
Dartmoor is known for it’s many granite hilltops known as ‘Tors’ and for the famous Dartmoor ponies, approximately 3,000 in number, that roam freely here.
Dartmoor has the largest area of granite in Britain, there are many miles of stone walls and stone buildings here. The granite is hard, strong, durable and long lasting.
Use of the Dartmoor granite dates back 4000 years to the Bronze age.
The stone walls are a feature here in themselves, some of these stones are at least a metre long.
Dartmoor’s highest point is High Willays 2,037 feet above sea level.
In winter it can be a bleak, remote and desolate place, in summer on a clear day the views are breathtaking, it’s a very popular place for walkers.
Unfortunately the day I visited, it was cloudy and although the sun broke through occasionally it was a very hazy outlook, not the best weather for taking photos!
Postbridge is a small hamlet between Princetown and Mortonhampstead in the heart of Dartmoor in the county of Devon, situated in the south west of England.
It’s a favourite spot with tourists for a photo-stop! and many coaches stop here every day.
It’s attraction is the ancient Clapper bridge believed to have been built in the 13th Century. Fortunately we just spotted it as we were driving through and were able to stop, it’s early March and we had the place to ourselves!
The Clapper Bridge
A Clapper bridge is formed using large flat slabs of granite supported on stone piers to make a bridge suitable to support a small cart. Initially it was built by tin workers and farmers for the transportation of Dartmoor tin by pack horses.
Each slab is over 4 meters long, 2 meters wide and weigh over 8 tons each. There are 30 Clapper bridges in total in Dartmoor.
The Dartmoor term for the slabs are ‘posts’ which is how Postbridge acquired it’s name.
The Clapper bridge straddles the East Dart river, just a few meters away from the main humped back single track road bridge, which was thought to have been built in the early 1800’s.
Although most people focus on the Clapper bridge I thought the road bridge with it’s simple three arch structure was pretty in it’s own right. Even though it was built 200 years ago, it amazingly takes all of today’s traffic!