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HER Number:MDV3066
Name:Blackwood Path from Wrangaton Moor Gate to Hook Lake and Erme Pound, Ugborough Moor


Blackwood Path (SX674581 - 645638), an old track which enters the open moor at Wrangaton Moor Gate (SX 674581) and crosses the moor in a northerly direction as far as Stony Bottom in Hook Lake with a possible extension to Erme Pound. Believed to have been used by the peat-cutters, moormen, tinners and others whose work took them to the upper reaches of the Erme.


Grid Reference:SX 655 618
Map Sheet:SX66SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishUgborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishUGBOROUGH

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of the early 20th century China Clay works at Redlake Mine and the associated railway, as well as prehistoric remains on Ugborough Moor

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NE/150
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRACKWAY (Post Medieval to XIX - 1540 AD to 1899 AD)

Full description

Rowe, S., 1896, A Perambulation of the Royal Forest of Dartmoor and the venville precincts, 62, 170 (Monograph). SDV249697.

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 72, 379 (Monograph). SDV320981.

Worth, R. H., 1941, Dartmoor: 1788 - 1808 (Article in Serial). SDV160667.

Worth, R. H., 1967, Worth's Dartmoor, 393 (Monograph). SDV337618.

Gaskell Brown, C. + Hankin, C. (eds), 1975, Archaeological Checklist of Ugborough Parish, page 186/215 (IDOX) checklist (Un-published). SDV340715.

Blackwood Path (SX674581 - 645638), an old track which enters the open moor at Wrangaton Moor Gate (SX 674581) and crosses the moor in a northerly direction as far as Stony Bottom in Hook Lake with a possible extension to Erme Pound. Believed to have been used by the peat-cutters, moormen, tinners and others whose work took them to the upper reaches of the Erme.
At Wrangaton the track is obscured by the golf course, but beyond the limits of the enclosed land on the w slope of Ugborough Beacon, near the right bank of Lud Brook, it exists as a gully 600 - 900 millimetres deep and about the same in width, running north along the course of the stream. When the ground levels out near the head springs of the Lud Brook at Beacon Plain, north of Ugborough Beacon, the track also levels out and is not so restricted in width although quite visible. Towards Spurrell's Cross the path again becomes sunken, near a cairn on its east bank, and here the path changes direction towards the north-west. At Spurrell's Cross the track is crossed by the track which runs east-west from Owley to Harford and north of here is lost by the disturbance caused by the building of the Red Lake Railway in 1911.
Having crossed the red lake railway, the path is not clear again until it meets that of another track coming around the western side of Piles Hill from Harford. For a few hundred metres both paths follow closely the line of stones marking the Harford-Ugborough boundary, but when this line approaches the west side of Three Barrows Hill, the Blackwood Path again crosses the railway (approximately SX 652622) and climbs to higher ground on the west slope of the hill, passing over a clitter of stones which was excavated in 1911 for the building of the railroad, and the ruins of the stone crusher can still be seen just below the level of the path. This is probably the site of the much disputed 'pavement' which is said to exist along this part of the path.
The track keeps to the same contour around the hill, and on reaching the northern side turns slightly westerly and drops down through a well-defined cutting to the disused Left Lake clay workings. The path here is wide enough to take a cart and it is possible that the clay removed by 19th century workers was carted along the path and taken off the moor at Wrangaton.
At Left Lake the path crossed the stream at a ford (Crossing's 'Guide', page 379), but this is now lost among the clay workings, and the path does not appear again until the rail track is crossed and the line of boundary stones resumed to the north. A slightly sunken track follows this line for a further 360 metres until it reaches a shallow gully at the head of Dry Lake. Here there is a boundary stone incised with the letters H and U, referred to by Crossing as the 'U-stone' (Crossing's 'Guide', page 379). The path does not show beyond this point although Crossing maintains it continued to Stony Bottom on Hook Lake (the path would leave Ugborough parish at the 'U-stone' in Dry Lake. The Ordnance Survey map of circa 1910, before the Redlake railway was built, shows the full length of the track from Wrangaton Gate to Stony Bottom and extends it to Erme Pound. It does not name the track however.

Hankin, C. F., 1978, Blackwood Path (Worksheet). SDV160664.

Blackwood Path, Erme Plains. 18/10/1978
Traces of the ancient peat cutters path between Wrangaton (Ugborough) and Erme Pound on Brown Heath can be seen on Erme Plains, Harford Moor, north of Drylake (SX644 639).
The ground is covered with long, coarse grass on a wet subsoil, and the track appears in places as a shallow, sunken way approximately 2 metres wide, leading north-west towards the stream at Stony Bottom, Hook Lake. The ford at SX641650 still exists, from which the pathway apparently ran north on the east side of the enclosure at SX641651; but here it is lost.
The track is perhaps most clearly seen at all seasons just west of a spoil heap left by the Redlake railway; this heap shows up clearly on this part of Erme Plains.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Has been identified incorrectly as a leat along several sections of it's length. Clearly visible on the aerial photographs used in the project.

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Most of the southern section clearly visible on the aerial photography. Northern section near Erme Pound very ephemeral.

Riley, H., 2021, Archaeological Survey: Ugborough Premier Archaeological Landscape, Harford and Ugborough, 16, 7.3.1 (Report - Survey). SDV364697.

The remains of tracks, paths and hollow ways across and along Ugborough and Harford Moors probably have their origins in the practice of moving livestock from the lowland farms up onto the Commons and to the Forest for summer pasture. Good examples can be seen at the head of Butter Brook and between Owley Moor Gate and Glaze Meet.

Riley, H., 2021, UG21 heritage asset database and gazetteer of sites (Report - Survey). SDV364699.

Visited and surveyed on 29th January. Blackwood Path: part of the track from Wrangaton Moor Gate to Hook Lake and Erme Pound crosses the project area; mapped on Ordnance Survey drawing of Ashburton in 1802.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV160664Worksheet: Hankin, C. F.. 1978. Blackwood Path. Worksheet. Unknown.
SDV160667Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1941. Dartmoor: 1788 - 1808. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 73. Unknown.
SDV249697Monograph: Rowe, S.. 1896. A Perambulation of the Royal Forest of Dartmoor and the venville precincts. Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor. Unknown. 62, 170.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 72, 379.
SDV337618Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1967. Worth's Dartmoor. Worth's Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 393.
SDV340715Un-published: Gaskell Brown, C. + Hankin, C. (eds). 1975. Archaeological Checklist of Ugborough Parish. Parish Checklist. A4 Stapled. page 186/215 (IDOX) checklist.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital. [Mapped feature: #86949 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV132349Related to: Area of streamworks on the Lud Brook, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV132363Related to: Area of tracks and hollow ways to the west of Glasscombe Ball, Harford (Monument)
MDV5678Related to: Boundary stone on Piles Hill Stone row, Harford and Ugborough parishes (Monument)
MDV2988Related to: Butterdon Hill Stone Row, Harford (Monument)
MDV2901Related to: Cairn south of Spurrell's Cross, Ugborough Moor (Monument)
MDV126601Related to: Enclosure 'A', Erme Pound (Monument)
MDV5109Related to: Erme Pound enclosed hut circle settlement, Harford (Monument)
MDV3069Related to: Leat on Ugborough Moor, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV132372Related to: Mound close to Harford Moor rifle butts, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV5135Related to: Northern enclosure in settlement south of Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV53255Related to: PAVILION in the Parish of Ugborough (Monument)
MDV25679Related to: Possible vermin trap or part of clay pipeline, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV5167Related to: Redlake Clay works pipeline, Harford and Ugborough parishes (Monument)
MDV132359Related to: Small building at the head of Lud Brook, Ugborough (Building)
MDV2922Related to: Spurrell's Cross, Ugborough Moor (Monument)
MDV5662Related to: Stone alignment on Piles Hill, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV5763Related to: Summit cairn on Piles Hill, Harford (Monument)
MDV3138Related to: The Redlake China Clay Railway, Harford & Dratmoor Forest Parishes (Monument)
MDV25673Related to: Tinworking trial pits north-east of Piles Hill, Ugborough (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley
  • EDV8770 - Archaeological Survey: Ugborough Premier Archaeological Lanscape, Harford and Ugborough

Date Last Edited:Feb 27 2022 10:54AM