A building in distress

The manor of Poltimore was bequeathed to the Bampfylde family by a Canon of Exeter Cathedral, at the end of the 13th century. It’s likely that a house was built on the estate, but no trace has been found near the present site. The current house was completed in the middle of the 16th century and was lived in by the family until 1920.

Since then it’s been a school, a WW2 evacuation centre and a hospital.

The house fell into a dilapidated state after an arson attack in 1987. This is how it looks now.

In 2000, a trust was set up to try to preserve the house. Half a million pounds was donated by English heritage, in 2009 to begin the restoration process. Sadly it will take an awful lot more to return it to o its full glory.

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Walking to the mill

One of my favourite  short walks takes me along the mill leat in the Riverside Valley Park. There are three bodies of water in the Valley Park, the canal, the river itself and the mill leat running roughly parallel, for about a kilometre. My walk begins less than a kilometre from the quay, at Salmon Pool Lane, where I pause on the bridge over the leat, hoping to spot a kingfisher.

No such luck.

There’s some major flood prevention work taking place on the river, so I head over to check it out.

This is the view up river.

And this is down. I can’t make any sense of it, but the work’s been going on for  several years already. Retracing my steps I pause to admire what I call the photo posts ( they make a great setting for family photos).

Then it’s back to the path.

Where I find this Hairy Dragonfly lady, quite happy to pose for me.

The flora and fauna get together, and give each other a helping hand.

Now, I hope that someone can tell me what this wildflower is, Jude perhaps? I only saw one.

Flora and George are keen to get going now, it’s such a hot day, they’re tempted by the water.

As it’s shallow they give it a try.

But not for long.

Someone’s been busy.

Next we cross the wooden footbridge.
This is the point where the North Brook joins the leat, just before it re-joins the river.
So we walk across the wooden footbridge.

The dogs know there’s rabbits around, but they have no hope of catching them.

The bright green plant intrigued me, it’s further away than it looks, could it be a Gunnera escaped from a garden?

We’re getting close to Mill Road now, the Mill was an overgrown ruin when I was a child. A grade 2 listed building, it belongs to the city council, and quite a lot of restoration has taken place. The first mill was built in 1284 by  Countess Isabela. It was powered by the leat and was used to grind corn, but from the 1630’s paper making using rags began. Through the 18th and early 19th century, the quality of paper produced changed to good writing paper, notes for private banks and news print for the Times of India. In 1816 a fire destroyed the old mil and this replacement was built.

At it’s height, 200 people were employed, the Industrial revolution was here and it was one of the first to install machines.

Once rag paper was replaced with wood pulp, the mill went into decline, such a shame. I’ve always been interested in the building, it’s so striking.


I think it would make a fabulous hostel, for walkers on the long distance South West Coast Path, just a hop, skip and a jump down the road. With a café and interpretation centre wouldn’t it be nice? If only the council thought so too!

I’m sharing with Jo, for her Monday Walk, the  first time for ages, Jo save me until another time, you’re probably all set for tomorrow already.  🙂

Traces of the past

Next to mine own Shippe
I do love most
that old Shippe
in Exon a tavern
in St Martins lane

These are the words of Sir Francis Drake, a sea captain and slave trader, he carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in 1577 – 1580. In 1588 he helped defeat the Spanish Armada, but only after he’d finished his game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe. His home in Devon, Buckland Abbey is owned by the National Trust.

The Ship Inn pub is now sadly part of a chain but it still retains it’s character, who knows maybe Sir Francis still visits. This post is for Paula’s Thursday Special, Traces of the past, she has a beautiful photo of lake Bled this week.

A miracle cure-all

Do you have something that hurts? A chronic or acute condition?Then time travel back 100 years to the first world war, just the right machine will be waiting for you.
Click the photos for a slightly better view of the treatment possibilities.

And here it is, Violet Ray High Frequency Apparatus.

Should you wish to try one out, a certain online auction shop has similar models for as little as $25!

Black and White Sunday, Structure

Paula continues her Black and White Sunday this week with the theme of ‘Structure’. I took this photo a few weeks ago, when I was showing my friend some of the historic sites in Exeter. This building dating from the early 15th century, was once the Merchant’s House, but is now commonly known as the House that Moved.

There’s an excellent article here, written by the very knowledgeable local historian, David Cornforth, that explains the name. On the right hand side of the page is another link, to a short film from the BBC archives, a great piece of history that would throw today’s health and safety officers into a real panic.

Traces of the past

Over to the west of Dartmoor a thatched cottage is growing out of the earth, or perhaps it’s sliding into the earth. Built in the 17th century this curved house has a passage through the middle, which might have been a division between house and livestock originally. It was the old post office for a period, and although it looks abandoned, there are also signs of work being done and the thatch seems to be in good condition. I hope it’s restored to it’s former glory, that would cost an awful lot of money.

Paula’s Thursday Special this week is traces of the past.