Plym Bridge Quarries

About this route

Plym Bridge is easily accessed via the Drakes Trail. This is quite a gentle route for both cyclists and walkers, heading out from Plymouth towards Dartmoor.  The Trail goes through Plym Bridge Woods which are managed by the National Trust, and it offers great views and the opportunity to get close to features of geological interest found particularly at Cann and Bickleigh Vale Quarries

The trail is managed by private landowners and the National Trust.




Getting Around

On foot: walk along the canal path or the old railway cycle route from the National Trust car park approx. 1km to the south. Both quarries lie either side of the River Plym, Cann to the east and Bickleigh Vale to the west.

By bike: Drakes Trail  (part of Devon Coast to Coast National Cycle Network route 27).

By road: From Marsh Mills junction of A38 go to Plympton. Turn left onto Plymbridge Road (Plymbridge is in the middle of Plymbridge Road and is closed to through traffic).

By bus: A regular service runs between the centre of Plymouth and Colwill road (1 change and 800m walk to Plymbridge Road).

All facilities in Plymouth, car parking at Plymbridge to the south.

Interesting information

The disused sites of Cann and Bickleigh Vale quarries are worth a look. Both quarries were used to mine slate, with Cann Quarry being worked as far back as 1683.  The slate was used in roofing and flooring, though it was markedly inferior to the Welsh product.

The slate was originally a marine mud which, having been buried and turned into mudstone, was heated and compressed as a result of the tremendous forces at work during a collision of tectonic plates. This process altered the orientation of the minerals within the mudstone, allowing it to split easily. That is, it had become slate.

Both quarries are cut by a fine-grained granite dyke (molten rock which intrudes into the local rocks). This feature is actually known as an elvan dyke, elvan being an old south-west mining term for granite dykes.

During the breeding season Cann Quarry is home to a pair of peregrine falcons and there is usually a viewing station with telescopes available for use.

Photo of trees surrounding an old quarry at Cann
Cann Quarry Copyright Ron Strutt

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