I was just taking a different route into Dartmouth and stumbled across this and thought it was quite picturesque. As you drive up the hill toward Dartmouth on the left there is a small car park where you can walk through Sandquay woods and down to the fort. This was once a private garden, now it’s a Community Woodland.
Old Mill Creek takes its name from the building at its head, which made use of the stream coming down the valley to power a water mill.The picturesque bridge crossing it is thought to date from the eighteenth or early nineteenth century, as does the limekiln beside it, once used to burn limestone to make fertiliser. Further down the creek, on the Dartmouth side, is a circular tower known as Hermitage Castle. From stonework bearing a fragment of a date this folly is thought to date from either 1790 or 1890, although the lower levels may have been from an earlier building on the site.
- The creek marks the parish boundary between Dartmouth and Dittisham.
- There are abandoned hulks, timber skeletons of a ketch, a trawler and a barg all lie in the mud in the creek.
- Sandquay Woods hide the Hermitage Castle, the remains of an artificial lake and waterfall. Further into the woods the remains of the Hermitage are just visible. Around 1800 a hermit lived here with his daughter serving tea and cake for a penny a cup. Not far from here there is a well.
- Deep in the woods, in the area now owned by the Ministry of Defence, the grotto still exists cut into the hillside with a domed roof walls decorated with fossils and the Seal Coat of Arms.
A map made in 1790 shows Plantations and Pleasure Gardens, situated North of Sandquay Docks including a fort, hermitage and a grotto. The fort or Castle is the most conspicuous remaining feature.
- in the 17th century the woodland may have been used commercially to provide charcoal and timber, there was a small quay near Newfoundland Point for taking away products.
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