At the 18th Annual General Meeting of The Dartmoor Society, held at Belstone on 23 April 2016, Dr Tom Greeves, Chairman of The Dartmoor Society presented Widecombe farmers Miles and Gail Fursdon with The Dartmoor Society Award 2016.
It is in the form of a finely hand-crafted ceramic plate made by potter Penny Simpson of Moretonhampstead and calligrapher Susanne Haines of Bovey Tracey. The plate is inscribed ‘for a superlative hydro system’.
Dr Tom Greeves, Chairman of the Dartmoor Society, said:
‘The microhydro system at Old Walls, Ponsworthy, near Widecombe, is probably the finest example we have of making wise use of Dartmoor’s core renewable resource of water, in a traditional way but with a modern purpose.
‘We have watched its creation and use since 1995 with fascination, and have visited it twice – in 2004 and 2015. It is a visionary scheme, developed with considerable practical skill and imagination, just as many of the ‘old men’ of Dartmoor would have tackled the problem of getting water to corn and tin mills.
‘The leat that was newly created from the Webburn river is a masterpiece of construction and an ecological wonder. The turbine house is small-scale and a regular home to a family of dippers.
‘The electricity generated is fed into the national grid but is the equivalent of providing the energy needs of about 90 homes.
‘It is an inspirational project which Miles and Gail have shared as widely as possible with the local community, by organising walks, etc. Dartmoor is immensely proud of what they have achieved and this Society is delighted to recognise this outstanding enterprise’.