The Granite Way, 1. Industrial Archaeology and a Train Cemetery

Meldon quarry sits high on a hill between Okehampton and Lydford on the northern edge of Dartmoor. After nearly 100 years it closed in 2011 and has now become an industrial graveyard and a train cemetery. A footpath, The Granite way, also national cycle route 27 runs past it and on to Meldon viaduct from where the Meldon dam can be seen on a clear day and High Willhayes, the highest point on the moor is in the distance. The dam forms a stunning reservoir 900 feet above sea level. Today we walked the first section of the granite way to the viaduct and then scrambled down to the valley and along the banks of the River Okement. Climbing down was hard on the knees, but I was quite pleased to be able to climb back up without needing my inhaler!

The quarry was served by a trainline constructed for its workers and their families but fell into disuse when Mr Beeching made his cuts in the 1960’s. In the summer season the Dartmoor Railway company now provide a service as well as a café and visitor centre.

The train carriages appear to be relics of a more recent past. As any abandoned wreckage they have been grafitteed and their windows smashed. They look very sad, neglected and are rusting away.

For some of its route, the noise from the dual carriageway below intrudes on the bird song, but the walk has lovely views of the Devon countryside which I will post separately, and is well worthwhile.

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