Sydenham Damerel is a small parish on the western border of Devon, lying approximately midway between the north and south coasts and bounded to the south-west by Cornwall and the river Tamar. It is mainly a community of hamlets, farms and small rural businesses and is home to about 200 inhabitants.
The village of Sydenham Damerel lies near the centre of the parish. It is an ancient settlement, close to one of the few bridges over the Tamar.
The fifteenth century stone Horsebridge provides a through route for traffic, connecting Devon to East Cornwall. The bridge is a narrow single track with refuges for walkers, crossing from a spur of high ground on the Devon side to the Cornish flood meadows. In times of severe wet weather, the river spreads across the flood meadow, and will sever the road link at peak flood.
South of the parish lies Kit Hill, a granite mass rising 334 metres above the Tamar, which is tidal to nearby Gunnislake. From the summit there are extensive views over the Tamar Valley, West Devon and South-east Cornwall. In clear weather the Eddystone Lighthouse in the English Channel and the china clay workings at St. Austell can be seen.
At Horsebridge is the Royal Inn, formerly a nunnery, but now a country pub serving excellent food and drink in a relaxing "old world" atmosphere. The Tamar Trail long distance walk crosses the Tamar here, and then heads north towards the village.
Sydenham Damerel village is typical of many west country villages that have lost their school, shop and post office to the economics of the 20th century. Now the only facilities on offer are a public telephone, a post box, a noticeboard, and the church of St. Mary's.
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