22 November 2010

Clay pit

Granite weathers. And if you're lucky, it becomes high quality china clay in the process. On the southwestern end of Dartmoor there's very large quarries where the stuff is mined. And I rode past these when I was enjoying the fruits of my seatpost labour. It was a great ride anyway; the scenery was beautiful, and the occasional showers kept the roads empty, the skies dramatic and the rainbows plentiful, but having a look at the clay pits was the icing on the cake.

When it started hammering down I found myself near a sheltering tree with a moss-covered, sub-horizontal trunk! Perfect.

Only one of the many rainbows that festooned the landscape on the way

I figured I had time for a stroll, so when I saw a sign "public footpath" at a nice spot I just parked the bike and had a look. From there you could walk onto the man-made flat hilltop, and climb the ramps of the clay pit! It's a strange landscape, but beautiful in its strangeness, and completed with an amazing view of the sea underneath the menacing clouds. I came across a bloke who was walking his two 18 year old dogs, but beside that I seemed to have the world to myself. And what a world!

This flat area looks quite natural on the picture, but it's all man-made, and many meters above the natural topography of this place

Self-portrait with man-made pond in the background

The active clay pit, with decorative blue pond.

Where clay is mined the water may be white!

This artificial landscape can acquire amazing erosional shapes

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