Bovey Tracey

Granite Elements is the name of Bovey Tracey’s innovative two-year Parishscapes project, being led by local resident and artist Bridget Arnold. The project aims to shine a light on how the past history of granite quarrying has shaped the heritage of the parish of Bovey Tracey and how this connects local people to their surrounding landscape.

Bovey Tracey- Granite Elements

Granite Tramway Walk 2

Walking along the Granite Tramway that runs through Yarner Woods

Granite Elements Celebrating the granite heritage of Bovey Tracey

The story of Dartmoor granite began about 300 million years ago, but what does it mean to us today? How has granite shaped the lives of the people in our parish?

Granite Elements is the name of Bovey Tracey’s innovative two-year Parishscapes project, being led by local resident and artist Bridget Arnold.  The project shines a light on how the past history of granite quarrying has shaped the heritage of the parish of Bovey Tracey and how this connects local people to their surrounding landscape.

This engaging and dynamic project encourages the local community to draw inspiration from the timeless landscape in a number of ways:

  • Guided walks introduce people to the various natural, cultural and built elements of heritage within their parish
  • Volunteers  help maintain the Granite Tramway for the benefit of everyone
  • A Granite Trail around Bovey Tracey is in progress
  • Artists days provide opportunities for professional artists to be inspired by the granite surroundings and history
  • Creative writing workshops bring writers together to experience the unique landscape and craft their poetry and prose
  • Workshops help members of the community learn new skills and explore the heritage of the area in a unique and meaningful way
  • Artwork produced and showcased to help tell the story of the granite tramway through an exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen
  • Underpinning the whole project is on-going research led by Viv Styles and the Bovey Tracey Heritage Centre

    Creative Writing Workshop

Granite Lines - creative writing workshop in the Woodland Centre, Yarner Woods

This project is a partnership between local artists and the Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust with support from the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Natural England, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust and the Bovey Tracey Society of Artists.


Community Walk October 1st 2016

First Community Walk of the Granite Elements Project. Haytor to Pottery Pond.

Led by Amanda Pellatt. An autumnal walk, 13 walkers booked, including a good quota of creatives and an additional family joined us at Haytor. The weather was better than forecast. As we made our way up to the Quarry and onto the beginning of the Tramway, we shared our stories about the history of Mr Templar’s tramway and had a close look at how the granite had been split feather and tare, good examples were by the quarry. As we made our way down from the top of moor we enjoyed talking about the moorland environment and how the landscape changed into the woods and field systems. We stopped under the beech trees at Yarner, where the granite track winds its way to the right, the leaves on the trees were turning, a great photo opportunity. As the passed through the orchard, we noticed how abundant the apples were this year. The group of walkers made a leisurely pace downhill, lots of chat and connections were made.....we finished the walk with tea and cakes at Bridget’s house. A particularly creative community walk .......roll on the next.

Community Walk March 25th 2017

Second community walk on the Granite Elements Project.

The weather was set fair. We had so many people booked on that we had to put a limit and make a reserve list. The final count was 30 people plus dogs, the dogs outnumbered the artists on this one! The Walkers talking part had come from across the south west, including a couple who had travelled from the north coast of Devon. We car shared to Haytor. Amanda was Walk Leader and Bridget was Back Marker, Halina and John did a good job as middle markers too. The walking route had been changed, as a permission had been rescinded through the Orchard and field. After two reccies, the Leader changed the route again, and our route came through Lower Down instead. Our morning began by making our way up to the Quarry, and the start of the Granite Tramway. The granite rails were looking fresh, as the volunteers with the National Park and Natural England had been clearing the earth around the sets and further down at Yarner the gorse had been cut back. We had an easy pace, with the large group, stopping for photo opportunities and to share our knowledge of the history of the granite, listening to the birds, exploring the flora & fauna of the moor, and just catching our breath. The view from the Moor to the coast at Teignmouth was clear, and we could visualise the journey of the granite from Haytor Quarry from the moor, ending up in many buildings around the world. We stopped for a picnic lunch at what turned out to be the favourite meeting place of the project, under the beach trees at Yarner. Amanda gave a small reading from Derek Beavis’ book on the Tramway. Mr. Beavis had recently passed away and his son has noticed the project and sent his only copy to the Project. The flora changed again as woods turned to pathways. We found evidence of the granite in walls and gateways along the route. Arriving at our destination Ashburton Road junction at 2.00pm.

A really sociable walk, new friends were made and the Parishscapes Community Project achieved wider networks. The walk was made special as local community members made visitors so welcome. "Many thanks for today's walk. We enjoyed it thoroughly, and made it to Sandy Park in time to watch the Chiefs. And what fabulous weather!" .......................................... "What a wonderful day walking the Haytor railway trail. Thank you so much for leading it....and for getting the weather SO right! We found a good s/h copy of the book 'The Templer Way' on Amazon, so ordered it. Thanks for drawing our attention to this." "We look forward to meeting you and the group again in the future."

Elemental Art Land Art Workshops Yarner Woods September 16th 2017

Devon Open Studios were in full swing, the Artists were exhibiting at the Woodland Centre in Natural England Yarner Woods and the Exhibition at the Devon Guild had already opened. Two outdoor workshops had been planned, an opportunity for people to create with natural found objects around the Granite Tramway. The weather had been looking ominous, heavy rain was forecast. A number of people had booked on, lots of families, but we expected last minute changes! We met at the Woodland Centre, the morning workshop was attend by 15 people. After a briefing on health & safety, and the plan for the morning, we headed slowly up the hill following the track to the tramway. We were all excited, some people didn’t know what to expect but were willing to join in the fun. We collected, created followed by an exhibition and a group critic of our work. We worked with leaves, colours, wood, acorns, moss, lichens and soils. What a fabulous time we had, two young brothers were just inspirational, building their own stories around patterns and faces. The group encouraged each other and a gentleman found a wood ants nest, we all watched this piece of moving art but kept well away from their nips. We even had an impromtu audience as Sidmouth Walking Club passed by on route. On return to the Woodland Centre, we had cups of tea and homemade cakes made by the Artists.

In the afternoon, the rain had held off, more budding eco artists arrived. Lots of lovely families, again bringing Nannie & Grandad, with Mum & Dad and the grandchildren. 13 participants in total. This time we started collecting from the bottom of the hill, so ideas were already beginning to grow. By the time we arrived at the Tramway, one of the young children had announced, my grandad is an artist, poor grandad was put on the spot, no going back now... some of the families worked together making grand pieces of land art, everybody shared their ideas. We even had a reindeer and a wolf. Grandad No. 2 made an abstract piece of upstanding art from twisted woods and exclaimed it was new life from old life. Again we had a fun time, we talked about the quality, textures and colour of what we found and learnt a little about identification. Everybody enjoyed playing. I do believe that a walk in the woods will never be the same again for all the families! More yummy cake was consumed with large mugs of tea.....then the rain arrived. Thanks to all, a very memorable day indeed.

Amanda Pellatt

Next steps...

To keep up to date with the project please click on the link to the Granite Elements blog below

For more information, please contact the Community Heritage Officer, Emma Stockley

01822 890 904

Inspired by the Granite Element Soils Walk- (part of the programme of walks taking place as part of Granite Elements) Clare Benson created her own "Soil Cakes" to share along the way. Read her blog and recipes below.

Clare's Soil Blog

Inspired by the Granite Elements Creative Writing Workshop volunteers penned poetry and prose.

The Trek by N Kitto

Haytor's Heart by N Kitto

Granite Lines by A Holmes

The Bovey Tracey Society of Artists held a Workshop at Yarner Wood in March 2017. Read all about it here.

Discover the story of Granite in Bovey Tracey with this leaflet produced by volunteers from the Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust

Granite Trail Leaflet

Flora on the Granite Tramway

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Last update: 02 Jul 2018 10:20am