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A Visit to Dartmoor and an Ancient Clapper Bridge

Updated on January 9, 2013
Dartmoor showing the yellow Gorse bushes in abundance here
Dartmoor showing the yellow Gorse bushes in abundance here | Source

Dartmoor

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.

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Source

Dartmoor granite

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.

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Dartmoor

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

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!

Clapper Bridge at Postbridge
Clapper Bridge at Postbridge | Source

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.

Clapper Bridge at Postbridge
Clapper Bridge at Postbridge | Source
Me standing on the old Clapper Bridge
Me standing on the old Clapper Bridge | Source

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.

Road bridge at Postbridge
Road bridge at Postbridge | Source
Road bridge at Postbridge
Road bridge at Postbridge | Source
Road bridge at Postbridge
Road bridge at Postbridge | Source

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!

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    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello moonlake, thank you so much for reading, your comments and votes mean a lot to me me.

      Have a wonderful day, best wishes Lesley

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Your pictures are just beautiful. Enjoyed your hub don't know how I missed it. Voted up.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello oliversmum, thank you for stopping by - I so appreciate your visits and comments.

      The granite slabs are so huge, I agree it must have been some back breaking work!

      I hope all is well with you, take care and best wishes Lesley

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 5 years ago from australia

      Movie Master Hi. What beautiful countryside Dartmoor has.

      It would be incredible to be able to walk through and over these magnificent bridge's as you did.

      What back breaking work for the men and horses,It must have been so very hard on them all.

      Your photographs are all awesome.

      Thank you for sharing with us. I loved it. Voted up and beautiful. :):)

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Derdriu, Dartmoor and the small village of Postbridge are so scenic, It was a shame the weather was so cold and windy, I would have enjoyed spending more time there and taking more photos!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes, they are always much appreciated.

      Best wishes Lesley

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      Derdriu 5 years ago

      Lesley, What a lively, lovely, lush hub regarding the granite and yellow gorse landscape of Dartmoor! In particular, I like the upward shot of the tor and you on the bridge. The water looks most inviting, what with the photogenic riffles under the Postbridge and the healthy flow patterns under the Clapper.

      Voted up + all (as to be expected).

      Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing your keen photographer's and writer's eyes, Derdriu

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Stessily, I must admit I didn't stand on the bridge for long! it was such a lovely spot and the bridge so fascinating if it had been a warm sunny day I would have stayed much longer and taken more photos!

      Many thanks for your comments, votes and sharing it's much appreciated, take care and best wishes Lesley

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      Lesley, Even overcast days are photogenic, at least through your camera. The clapper bridge seems so megalithic to me, as though it should date back to Stonehenge, instead of only back 7 or 8 centuries to the 13th ~ still a long time ago, though. That photo of you standing on the clapper bridge is great. Did you feel buffeted by the winds? I agree about the 3-arch bridge; it has its own allure. Up + UABI + sharing.

      Kind regards, Stessily

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Ruchira, thank you for visiting and your great comments and votes, they are always much appreciated!

      Enjoy your day and best wishes Lesley

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      wow...i had seen such clapper bridges only in stories but, good to see them in real life thanks to you. they are beautiful yet sturdy and nature sure is bountiful yet strong.

      beautiful captures, lesley.

      voted up and beautiful

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Mary, It's quite intriguing how they moved those huge pieces of granite - I think they will still be there in many years to come!

      Thank you for visiting and your votes, it's always good to see you, take care and best wishes Lesley

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      This is a very interesting Hub. That huge piece of granite is amazing that was used for the bridge. Makes you wonder..... Beautiful photos, too. I voted this UP, etc.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi tobusiness, we are visiting Windermere in a couple of weeks, I hope the weather has improved by then!

      We certainly do have some wonderful places to visit in the UK!

      Many thanks for stopping by and your lovely comments, take care and best wishes Lesley

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      We recently visited Windermere for a short break, we so often forget just how awesome the British country side can be, I love the undulating landscape with its miles of dry stone walls defying weather and gravity. Your beautiful images reminds me that there's so much more to see. voting up and beautiful

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi girltalksshop, thank you for visiting - I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading, many thanks for your votes.

      Have a fabulous day and take care, Lesley

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      girltalksshop 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your part of the world with us. : ) Very interesting to me, as I love anything to do with England! Voted up, of course.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Eddy, I hope you get to visit Dartmoor one day, I advise you go in Summer, the wind is a bit cold when it blows across the moors in March!!

      Many thank for your comments, have a great weekend, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Gail, it's not until you get up close to the granite slabs that you can really appreciate how big they are, I don't think they are going anywhere soon!

      But I do wonder how on earth they got them there in the first place!

      Thank you for your wonderful comments and votes, it's always good to see you, best wishes Lesley

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes another truly beautiful and interesting hub.

      'Up up and away' and I am saving this one as we may well visit ourselves one day.

      Since we cannot bookmark anymore I have my own little library with favourite hubs on various subjects from my favourite hubbers(friends).

      Take care and have a wonderful day.

      Eddy.

      .

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      This was beautiful and I learned so many things I never knew before. It's amazing how solid these bridges are and how long they last. Also, the weight and size of the stones must have made building them quite a feat.

      Loved the photos. It's cool that you were the only ones there during your visit. I always enjoy going to parks just before or after the busy season begins or ends.

      Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Susan, the bridge certainly looks as though it will be standing for a few more years yet!

      Many thanks for your comments, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Thelma, I'm so pleased you have enjoyed reading, many thanks for your comments, take care Lesley

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      They sure knew how to build bridges to last back in the day. Enjoyed reading the history and always enjoy your beautiful pictures.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Hi! I have never heard of Clapper Bridge before, now I know. I love the photos you have taken. Thanks for sharing this. Have a lovely day!

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Sue, I think the clapper bridge will still be standing there in another century!

      We saw the ponies and I desperately wanted photos, but as the weather wasn't special, I was disappointed I didn't - I shall have to visit again!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes, take care Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Jackie, many thanks for visiting and your comments, glad you enjoyed it!

      Take care and have a wonderful day, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Nell, glad you enjoyed your virtual visit to Dartmoor!

      And many thanks for your votes, take care Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Martie, the scenery is beautiful in Dartmoor, shame it was a windy, cloudy day when we visited, that wind felt cold across the moors!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes, have a fantastic day and see you soon, Lesley

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      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Lesley,

      Thank you for taking us to Dartmoor. Bridges built to stand the test of time.

      I think it would be cool to see the famous Dartmoor ponies.

      Voted up and away!

      Best wishes :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Some beautiful shots, ones with water I absolutely love.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, this is lovely, I have never been to Dartmoor, shame on me! lol! but your photos brought it all to life, wondeful, voted up! nell

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      What a beautiful scenery. And the quality of your pictures is absolutely superb!

      Voted up to the stars!

    • Movie Master profile image
      Author

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello prasetio, yes I have a passion for bridges myself and can't resist photographing them, this was the first time I had seen a clapper bridge.

      Many thanks for your wonderful comments and votes, take care and see you soon, Lesley

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Beautiful bridge as my passion in writing about bridge on my several hubs. I really enjoy all the pictures of this bridge. Thanks for share with us. Good job, Lesley. Rated up and pressing all buttons, except funny. Take care!

      Blessing,

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Peggy, I had never seen a clapper bridge before and was amazed to find out there are 30 in Dartmoor, they certainly built them to last!

      The Moors are beautiful - it was quite a cold day when we visited, the wind was biting as it blew across the moors, it will be nice to go back in the summer!

      Thank you for your comments and votes, take care and best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Dim, yes I love stone walling too - I think it's a work of art! and the old clapper bridge a 'thing of beauty' glad you're with me on this!!

      Many thanks for your comments, take care and see you soon, best wishes Lesley

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I had never heard that term...clapper bridge...before. Now I know what it is, thanks to you. Can't imagine how that many tons of granite were moved and put into place that many years ago without the use of equipment such as is available today. Thanks for showing us this unique and beautiful spot on earth known as Dartmoor. Yes...it also makes me think of Wuthering Heights. Up, useful, interesting and beautiful votes.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

      I LOVE stone walling., but I must admit I got carried away by the old clapper bridge too.

      You do write some awesome hubs.

      Thank you.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Kamalesh, Devon and Cornwall are a beautiful area to visit, I'm so pleased this has bought back some lovely memories for you!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes, take care and enjoy your day.

      Best wishes my friend, Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi radhikasree, yes it was a great visit - I wish we could have stayed longer, thank you for your comments, votes and sharing, it's much appreciated.

      Have a wonderful day and take care, Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi teaches1245, I was a bit nervous about walking on the clapper bridge, but when you see the slabs of granite up close it seems solid enough!

      I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi anginwu, many thanks for visiting and your comments, glad you enjoyed the photos, the clapper bridge was amazing - I had never seen anything quite like it before!

      Take care and best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi b.Malin, it was a great visit, the moors and granite are totally different, to our green countryside here!

      Many thanks for visiting and your comments, have a great day, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi molometer, it's intriguing isn't it?! those slabs are 4 meters long - I reckon they will be there for a few more centuries too!

      Many thanks for your comments and votes, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Ruby, many thanks for stopping by and your comments, glad you enjoyed reading, have a wonderful day, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Joyce, yes the prison is still there, we drove past it on the way to Postbridge.

      It's the first time I've seen it and I was amazed at the size of it, it's enormous!

      Thank you for your comments and votes, enjoy your day best wishes Lesley

    • Kamalesh050 profile image

      Kamalesh050 5 years ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

      Brilliant photos Lesley! You have brought back my sweet memories! I had seen all those during my wonderful stay in Devon and Cornwall many years ago. We visited those places travelling from beautiful city, Plymouth. Oh I would love to visit there again!

      Voted Up. Take care. God Bless, Kamalesh

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      The clapper bridge looks amazing!! You would have had a wonderful time during the visit, I hope.

      Up and beautiful.

      Sharing with my friends here.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      The clapper bridge you stood on does not seem that sturdy, but I take your word for it that it did support cart traffic. I enjoyed your topic and your description of this adventure.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 5 years ago

      What an excursion. Again, I'm envious, you've so much to explore and see over there. WOuld love to walk over the clapper bridge. Thanks for the fabulous pictures and rated up.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Hi Leslie, how Enjoyable and Wonderful to read and learn about this Beautiful Countryside along with the Stone Bridges. And who knew about all that Granite, well I do now!

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I often wonder, how on earth they managed back in those days, without all the gear we have today.

      To build the Bridge was one thing, but where is the nearest town. Where did they all sleep?

      Great hub voted up and 4/5 buttons.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great hub Lesley and very interesting. rugged area and your camera captured it beautifully. Thank you for sharing again...

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Great and interesting photo's and info. Lesley. It's been years since I was there and it's nice to see nothing has changed.

      There was a prison on Dartmore, do you know if it's still there? Voted up and awesome, Joyce.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Will, amazing that the bridge has stood so long, but it does look indestructible - they sure knew how to build them in that day!

      Many thanks for your comments, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Mike, apparently the clapper bridge is very popular with tourists and lots of coaches stop every day, without the tourists it is a very peaceful spot!

      Many thanks for stopping by, enjoy your day, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Molly, I could almost hear Cathy calling Heathcliffe's name over the moors....

      Wuthering Heights is my favourite novel!

      Thank you for visiting and your comments, I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading, best wishes Lesley.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Ivona, thank you for visiting and your comments, they are much appreciated.

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Pamela, we drove past dartmoor prison, it's not far from Postbridge, it's a huge imposing place!

      Thank you for visiting and your comments, take care and best wishes Lesley

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I'm amazed that the Clapper Bridge survived all the floods that must have occurred through the years!

      This is is fun Hub.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello sgbrown, thank you for visiting and your lovely comments and votes, I'm so pleased you enjoyed your visit, best wishes Lesley

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Lesley, you have done it again. You have taken us all on a tour of beautiful country side and captured it with that keen photogentic eye of yours. The place looks peaceful and serene, which is a nice way to spend an afternoon.

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Annie, those slabs of granite are massive - it was a beautiful little bridge, goodness knows how they managed to build it, but it certainly looks as those it will be there for a few years yet!!

      Many thanks for your comments, votes and sharing, see you soon, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Hyphenbird, we were just visiting this area for the weekend, I wish we had longer there, the moors are beautiful, yes it reminded me of Wuthering Heights too!

      Thank you for your comments, take care and see you soon best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello UnnamedHarald, in the winter Dartmoor is very open to the elements!! but yes it still has a fierce beauty about it.

      Thank you for visiting, your comments and votes they are much appreciated, best wishes Lesley

    • Movie Master profile image
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      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Sunnie, We nearly missed this beautiful spot as we were driving through, I had never seen a clapper bridge before, those slabs of granite are huge.

      Many thanks for your comments, best wishes Lesley

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      It reminded me of Wuthering Heights, too, and many other novels as well -- beautiful. Thank you, MM!

    • Ivona Poyntz profile image

      Ivona Poyntz 5 years ago from UK

      Amazing photos, thanks for sharing.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I think your pictures are beautiful. I am so glad to see the surrounding are of Dartmoor. I wrote a hub quite some time ago about the prison that keep Americans following the War of 1812, but I have never seen pictures of how things look now. Voted up and awesome!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Beautiful and interesting hub! It is hard to imagine how they built these clapper bridges without the equipment of today. Places like this need to be appreciated. You have done a great job with your hub and wonderful pictures. Voted up and beautiful! Have a great day! :)

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      The countryside is beautiful and the bridge impressive. It makes me think of Wuthering Heights. You obviously love the area and that is how it should be. Perhaps one day I shall get to visit. Meanwhile I sure loved this virtual tour.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      Amazing bridges, I cannot even imagine the manpower that would have gone into building these structures. No cranes or cement trucks, etc, etc, and yet still used. Thank you, Lesley, for sharing this very interesting hub, and for the recent, very welcome update :)

      My votes and best wishes, and sharing of course, from Annie.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      You are very lucky to live near such beauty. I've never been there in the winter but I imagine even then Dartmoor would have a fierce beauty. Beautiful photos. Thank you for posting this. Voted up and beautiful.

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      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      This is a very interesting place. I cant imagine how heavy those granite stones were, even for pack horses. I loved the pictures. Thank you so much for sharing.