WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Gawton is really a hamlet about a mile and a half from our car park. Our tracks are actually in a wood called Maddacleave Woods. At the far southern end of these woods, past the lower push-up track, is Gawton Mine and further down, Gawton and Little Gawton Farm. The nearest settlement to our tracks is called Newquay, not the place with all the surfers, but a derelict village at the bottom of the hill. It was a small port in mining days that was in competition with Morwellham. It could not berth the larger barges used later on and became uneconomic and closed down, then many of the families moved to America for the Gold Rush! Our tracks became known as Gawton, because at the top of the lane where the car park now stands there was a sign (it's still there leaning up against the fence!) that said 'Gawton Lane'. It stuck with the club and with the magazines when they started doing features. All our leases actually refer to Maddacleave Woods, again as that is what is on the OS map and you might have noticed it in our postal address on the facebook page and the council and landlord call it that, so again it all gets very confusing!!! Luckily we didn't call it Newquay, otherwise most people would end up 60 miles away with a view of some cracking waves, but not a downhill track in sight!!!
Sometimes referred to as Chip Shop which is the name of the nearest hamlet (up on the 'main' road). The pub there once used to be the shop where miners would go to swap the 'chips' (coins minted by the mine owners) that they earned for food and other essentials. It meant the miner owner could pay his workers and get away with not paying all sorts of taxes (not much has changed there!). We are trying to stick to one name for the downhill tracks, "Tavi Woodlands", because it gets very confusing, especially for people new to the area. It is also called, Tavi-Woods, Devon Great Consols, Wheal Josiah, Blanchdown Woods, Tavistock Woodland Estate, Scrub Tor, as well as Chip Shop, you can see why we want to stick to one name!!!! The correct name if you are looking for it in an OS map is Blanchdown Woods! And the pub is now called the 'Copper Penny', as the 'chips' were made of a cheap copper alloy.
We're not always massive fans of the archaeology in the area because it can be a real pain in the ass when building tracks (that's why 'Job Lot' is currently closed at Tavi Woodlands, it crosses a 'Scheduled Ancient Monument', which if we ride on it could mean big fines for the individual damaging it or the club leasing it!), but there's no denying there is loads of history around and some of it is quite interesting!! For more information try Devon Great Consols Virtual Tour from the University of Plymouth
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