Mike Smallcombe’s photographs in the Teign Valley

As part of Castle Drogo’s restoration project a new set of installations have been put up in the Teign Valley called Teign Spirits. The modern photographs give a sense of the history of the Valley along with an insight into the Drewe family. In total there are 10 photographs created by Mike Smallcombe a Devon artist who works in London. Here are four of the works.

Teign Valley 2
Just up the River Teign from Fingle Bridge is the charcoal maker hung high along the riverside path

Teign Valley 3
Detail illustrating the life and times of the charcoal maker – this used to be a major industry in the valley

Teign Valley 1
To the right of the path near Fingle Bridge is a photo depicting the aftermath of the fire at the nearby Fingle Mill – the miller’s wife and children have just escaped the fire. The ruins of the Mill can still be seen near to Fingle Bridge on the way to Fingle Woods

Teign Valley 5
By the salmon pool by the weir is a photograph of the Venetian chandelier purchased by the Drewes whilst on their honeymoon – it has been photographed in the formal gardens so as to ‘blend the inside and outside’.

Teign Valley 7
On an island near the weir is a photograph depicting Blackenstone Quarry where much of the stone for Drogo was quarried. The photo shows the daughter of a quarryman bringing him his lunch.

Teign Valley 6
Another installation near the turbine house shows Julius Drewe salmon fishing. This is not one of Mike’s pieces but has been produced as part of the restoration project. On a good clear day you can see this piece from the Castle

Teign Valley 4
The Iron Bridge over the salmon pool – a classic turning point on a Teign Valley walk.

There are 6 other Smallcombe photos on the Drogo Estate – for full details and a map visit the Drogo Visitor Centre. Well worth a visit – great photos and a great walk.

Chagford Show 2015

It was the Chagford Show yesterday – in my view the best country show in Devon! Here are some pictures I took.

Drewe's Pool
I walked in from Whiddon Farm and crossed the Teign at Mr. Drewe’s Pool.

Chagford 1
There are lots of walks in the area

Chagford 2
The National Trust and the Woodland Trust sponsored the main area to highlight our work at Fingle Woods

Chagford 4
This is Dylan one of our Rangers in the Teign Valley on a shaving horse

Chagford 3Tom, Teign Valley Ranger and Paula, Community Engagement Officer in costume on the Castle Drogo stand

Chagford 5
A charcoal kiln – part of the NT’s ‘stall’

Chagford 6
Demonstrating old country woodland crafts

Chagford 7
The Woodland Trust were at the show too

Chagford 8
Matthew Cole one of our Commoners from the Plym Valley exhibiting his Dartmoor white faced sheep

Chagford 9
A lovely Dartmoor white faced ram

Chagford 10
Judging the Dartmoor grey faced sheep

Chagford 11
The show ground sits under the looming  presence of Castle Drogo – under going its restoration – remember it is still open – so you can visit and see the restoration work

A great day out – Dartmoor at its best

Dartmoor during the First World War

A new exhibition has started at the DNPA’s Princetown Visitor Centre entitled ‘Dartmoor life in the the First World War’. The exhibition has been put together by the Dartmoor Trust – rather than talking about the battles in France and Belgium the exhibition describes what impact the war had on Dartmoor – how farming changed, where hospitals were set up, conscientious objectors etc.

Princetown 1Princetown’s Visitor Centre

Princetown 5Kitchener calling you in

Princetown 2A number of panels make up the exhibition

Princetown 4 There is a panel on the impact of the War on the building of Castle Drogo

Princetown 3A bit  also on the role people in Widecombe played collecting moss to treat wounds – the shell is outside the NT’s Church House


The exhibition also makes a plea for more information or photographs to help fill some of the gaps in our knowledge about Dartmoor in WW1. We are still trying to find out more about Major Hole of Parke  in World War 1 – see here for further details – can you help?

You might also be interested to know that there are a couple of WW1 exhibition rooms at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter – one of recruiting posters and the other on facial reconstructive surgery.

Drogo video installation

This is my third blog about the new installations at Castle Drogo. This one focuses on a great video which is on show in what was the old nursery.

It is  clever video which uses 2 projectors shooting onto a zig zag shaped screen which allows two different films to be shown simultaneously and then interwoven.

Here is a short clip which gives you the idea

IMG_3217The video shows the building repairs alongside the flowing river Teign

IMG_3216Comparing the repairs with the men and the works when it was originally built

Hard to describe – much better to go and see it for yourself

The new Drogo installations – must see

As promised in yesterday’s blog here is a quick introduction to Castle Drogo’s new installations. We only had 30 minutes to whizz around yesterday before we ‘shot up’ onto the roof. I will definitely return and have a more detailed look. Before then here is a little insight and some photos. The full photo set can be seen here.

Drogo 4The Castle entrance – the works office 1911 and 2015

Drogo 12An installation in the ‘library’ – the history of the Drewes and Drogo illustrated on a model of the Scullery lantern – Julius Drewe himself

Drogo 20The recently refurbished chandelier in the main living room

Drogo 21The restored huge window on the main staircase – with  the scaffolding in the background

Drogo 23The amazing restored Louis 4th tapestry – only one of five in the world – look at those colours

Drogo 26The back of the tapestry showing the repairs and the ‘reversed’ face

Drogo 36A woodlouse – a potential inhabiter, if the Castle were not to be repaired

Drogo 38The ‘outside in’  – Dartmoor striving to enter Drogo

Drogo’s roof and scaffolding

Castle Drogo opened to the public yesterday to preview the new interpretation inside the Castle “Nothing is normal – everything will be different” – I will post a blog about that tomorrow but I haven’t processed all my pictures yet! So today I will show you some pictures of the building works and views as seen from the Viewing Tower. Only a few weeks to go for the viewing tower in its current format  – it will be changed as the project progresses over the coming months.

Roof 3From the Tower looking down to the Teign Gorge towards Fingle Woods

Roof 2Up the drive – all those creamy coloured ‘blobs’ are bits of the Castle still to be reinstalled

Drogo pan small 1A panorama of the Castle inside its huge tent – double click on the photo to view the detail

Roof 5Much progress is being made – compare these photos to the ones in my November 2013 blog here

Roof 4So much scaffolding …

Roof 6‘When the day is done
Down to earth then sinks the sun’
Nick Drake

Drogo – epic works continues

I was up a Castle Drogo last week for a meeting and whenever I am there I can’t resist the temptation to walk down the drive to see how the building project is getting on.

Drogo106The top 20% of the Castle has been removed to allow the repairs to be done – all the individual stone blocks are labelled and laid out – waiting to be put back where they belong

Drogo107Amazing scaffolding

Drogo108Apparently the largest scaffolding structure in the country

Drogo109The sun setting in the Teign Valley over Chagford