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Fernwothy - old bridge revealed in drought

Fernworthy - an old bridge revealed during the drought of 2003

The tree line shows the normal depth of the water

From The Western Morning News


We get gallons of rain here in Devon. Gallons and gallons. So there are many reservoirs, most of the modern ones being adapted to leisure activities like sailing and bird watching. But the rain doesn't fall evenly here, either in time or in geography. 2003 was a case in point.


If you came down the M5 to visit Devon in that year, you will have passed posters by the road exhorting you to share your bath water with someone or not to run the cold tap while you cleaned your teeth and might have been forgiven for thinking this was not exactly a warm  welcome to Devon or Cornwall.


The photograph above was taken in November at Fernworthy, near Chagford. It hadn't rained for weeks and naturally, everyone had expected it to pour down once Autumn began but it didn't and as the water level dropped and dropped, features began to appear which hadn't been seen since the reservoir had been constructed. At the time the photograph was taken, the reservoir was only at 23.4% of capacity.


As the water level has fallen from some 25 feet above the present water level, this ancient bridge had gradually shown itself. Once, it carried traffic to a remote farm called Teignhead whose buildings also lie beneath the normal water level - now walkers could,  once more, walk across this old Dartmoor bridge which looks in  surprisingly good condition  after being under water for 61 years from Fernworthy's completion date in 1942.


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