Mooramblers/ Long Walkers
Our walks range from 6 miles up to 9 miles, depending on the ability and wishes of the group. We meet on the 3rd Friday of each month in Crediton Station car park at 9.15am and Whiddon Down at 9.50 to share cars to the start of the walk.
We have a drink and snack stop and also a lunch stop. Generally the walks will be in the vicinity of Dartmoor National Park but coastal walks are also an option.
We set off having tried to estimate walking time for a 7.5 mile walk to
determine how much to pay for parking. Most of us paid for all day with
coins which are difficult to come by during these strange times but we
did get back in just under 5 hours which would have been a bit cheaper.
We decided on peace of mind.
The weather was pretty much perfect for walking. We set off through the churchyard and up through beech and oak woods with mossy stone banks either side of the path to Butterdon Down where we had our drink stop with lovely views of Haytor, Easdon Tor etc. On to Cranbrook Castle,an iron age hill fort with spectacular 360 degree views of the Teign valley and the high moors as well as Castle Drogo which looks more subtle now with its white coverings removed. It was too early for lunch so we walked on to Willingstone rock where we sat on the hillside above it for lunch. In the woods opposite is an interesting independent forest school called "Running Deer" (Ofsted inspected) which caters for kids with special needs. There are 6 small attractive wooden pods (recently built)serving as class rooms and offices. We were interested that this is actually a school sitting unobtrusively in the woods on Dartmoor looking more like a small Outward Bound centre. From there we went on to Mardon Down - stopping at the Cairn Circle for a drink - and through the giant's graveyard and down the wonderful footpath with its lovely views back to Moretonhampstead. It was a lovely day out with good company.
Meanwhile, the other group - after taking in the dramatic ruins of Okehampton Castle - crossed the sparkling East Okement River & set off through the riverside woodland to join the Two Castles Way (Okehampton to Launceston). We crossed the deserted golf course - obviously too early for golfers. We took a coffee break in the lovely sunshine at the Meldon Quarry lake before pressing on through the village of Meldon. We enjoyed the glorious views before lunch, and then we skirted round Sourton Tors, down to cross the West Okement River at Vellake Corner. We followed the path around the reservoir to Meldon Viaduct where we joined the Granite Way back towards Okehampton, briefly joining the Two Castles Way again, and back down to the castle car park.
Checking on Jo & Annie's fitbits we found we had walked a massive 10 miles!!! Do hope there aren't too many aching muscles.
PS.The car park is free.
Again the group had to split in two in accordance with current Covid regulations. Six of us had a lovely 7 mile walk in fine weather starting from below Cosdon Hill. Up and across Throwleigh Common we trekked with views back to Shilley Pool which is at the bottom of a wonderful natural water slide. Anyone who hasn't should try it sometime, or perhaps their grandchildren! Shilstone Tor was our coffee break with lovely views of the moors. The tor is like a miniature amphitheatre with plenty of comfortable seating.
Refreshed, off we went through the picturesque hamlet of Shilstone. The farmhouse is picture postcard perfection. Ducks and geese paddled in the pond and the stream running through the property and hens with every variety of beautiful feathering foraged about. From there we walked on to Gidleigh, inspected that lovely church and rectory and then along the ancient Deave Lane to Throwleigh where the churchyard was our lunch spot, with us resting in the sunshine against the tombstones. The church itself was open for the village postal service! A few footpaths later and we were back, much to the relief of a few I feel!
The second group of six set off in glorious sunshine and strong wind on the Belstone walk that we had planned to do the month before. We headed up towards the Steeperton Gorge and back along the top to Oke Tor where we huddled among the rocks out of the wind to eat our lunch. Then we followed the track across the top and back down towards Belstone Common where lots of cattle had just had calves. The mothers had their beady eyes on us so we kept our distance! Another highlight was seeing a baby grass snake cross the path in front of us. Further on we stopped at the Nine Maidens stone circle and practised our dowsing skills, using Tom’s walking poles, with extraordinary success! Hazel twigs are so outdated!! The afternoon was then completed with another delicious tea and cake stop on the sunny village green in Belstone. We had walked 6.2 miles and refreshments were required!
The walkers had split into two groups of 6, but alas the Shilstone Tor walk had to be abandoned in the face of gale warnings. The other group - led by Heather - did walk from Belstone.
Report from Heather Kennefick:
We had planned to go to Belstone and up round the Tors but on the day there were extreme gales and some rain forecast. There were 4 of us who braved the predictions but we agreed to avoid the weather as much as possible. From the village we dropped down the Great Green, then over the Taw and skirted round the lower slopes of Cosdon Hill above Skaigh Warren and down the track to Ford Farm opposite the road in to South Zeal. We then walked along the pavements of Sticklepath and into the covid-closed Finch Foundry for a coffee stop at their tables. It then started to rain so we took our selves into the lovely thatched Tom Pearse hut and coffee turned into our lunch break! Once the shower had cleared we joined the steep, rocky path along the Taw up to Belstone Cleeve and back up to the Green of Belstone. As we came out of the woods another shower began but for the lucky four the Methodist Tea Rooms were open for the afternoon! It was full so for social distancing reasons the lovely Marion opened up the church and we had our tea in there with a pew each! The lemon drizzle cake was a grand finale to a really great walk in surprisingly nice weather. Blessed are the brave!
Stepping out again at last!
It was with much excitement that the Mooramblers group started up again on Friday, 17th July. In order to keep the driving to a minimum and maintain the "6" person guideline we split into two groups of 6, one group led by me from Steps Bridge and one by Heather from Nymet Roland.
The weather was nearly perfect, dare I say even a bit hot. I told the group we had one steep climb, not too long, and then a gentle climb through Bridford Wood to Lowton Farm where it would level off. It was pointed out to me that my assessment was not quite correct! Lovely views from Lower Lowton where we sat on a bank for coffee and also walking down Birch Down. Then west along the track to Heltor Rock for lunch and more splendid views. Finally down from Lower Heltor-more views!!-and back through Bridford Wood which is lovely with oaks and beech.
The other 6 members of the Mooramblers walking group went on a more local walk to cut down on numbers and ease car parking. We met at Nymet Rowland and went over to Coldridge and then through the lovely river valley down towards Brushford. We took a short detour along the Tarka Trail to see if we could cross the river Taw but couldn't find a suitable crossing so we turned around and joined the path up to Wood Farm. The 'mammary' tree wasn't looking as interesting as it does in winter but luckily the wheat had just been cut and the fields were filled with different works of art otherwise known as stooks! We had a very hot lunch break in a beautiful spot surrounded by stooks and many photographs were taken. After our
stop we took the path along the edge of Great Wood in welcome shade around to Hackmans Hays and Park Bridge. We then took the path through Lower Park skirting the edge of Coldridge and back up to Nymet Rowland. It was a lovely walk of around 6 and a half miles although Annie's Fitbit said it was over 7 so who knows!!
Surprisingly, 10 hearty souls turned out for the walk today is spite of a rather dire forecast for rain and strong winds- 40mph! I changed my mind 3 times about where to walk because of the worsening forecast and finally decided on Moretonhampstead. We walked up to Butterdon Down where we tried to shelter rather unsuccessfully for a drink stop, then on to Cranbrook Castle where we walked the ramparts admiring the lovely 360 degree views and where we found shelter for lunch in the sun. After lunch we headed for illingstone Rock. We had been very lucky with the weather thus far but when we reached Mardon Down there was an onslaught of vicious hail and wind so we opted for walking down the road back to Moretonhampstead rather than across the top of the Down and along footpaths. The walk was 7.5 miles. We made it back to the car park with 18 minutes to spare.
We were delighted to welcome two new walkers, Margaret Gibson and Mike, and hope to see them again. Also, it was great to see Margaret Deem back who had been away for some time with a bad knee.
Hope to see lots of you out next month.
On 20th September nine of us led by Heather had a second attempt at the Scorhill walk. This time the weather was lovely, despite a strong headwind, warm in parts and mostly dry underfoot. We started from the car park near Scorhill Circle and crossed the 2 clapper bridges before heading up towards Shovel Down where we had coffee in the remains of a hut circle. Then we followed an overgrown track past and around the edge of Stonetor Hill on the edges of the Fernworthy plantation. The much more obvious track here took us up to Kestor Rock and through a herd of very pretty calves with their mothers down to Middle Tor. Here, we found a sheltered spot for lunch with grand views. We then dropped down to join the Two Moors Way into the forestry plantation at Gidleigh Tor. Since the last time we were there, many larch trees have been removed due to a disease on both sides of the River Teign and this has opened up the woods to the light beautifully. It was then a trudge up the lanes back towards the cars. We had covered around 7 and a half miles.
Last Friday, 23rd August Tom led 6 of us on a splendid 8.5 mile walk around Lustleigh Cleave starting from the village where we saw the attractive commemorative granite stone carved with the names of Lustleigh May Queens going back many years. We then climbed steeply up to Sharpitor where we had a coffee stop sitting on wonderful mossy stones in a nice shady spot and debating whether the large granite stone above us was actually the Logan stone marked on the map. From there to Foxsworthy bridge for lunch, past the house situated between Horsham and Water which is built into the hillside and covered with a turf roof. If you struggle uphill you need to go down so we did, very steeply back to the river Bovey. We walked along the west side of the River Bovey (very lovely)but got a tad confused when Heather noticed the river had changed direction! (Well spotted, Heather!) (Tom at this stage had gone on ahead for a bit of peace...) I suddenly remembered Tom saying we would walk by the spot where Becka Brook joined the River Bovey so we were actually walking upstream beside Becka brook at that stage. We then found (and disturbed) Tom at the footbridge. Eventually we crossed a beautiful little hump back bridge called Bisley Bridge to make our way back via a wonderful footpath which came into Lustleigh behind the Pub. No time for tea which was a shame but ice creams were very welcome as it had been quite a hot day. It was a wonderful walk so thank you, Tom!
On 19th July twelve of us ignored forecasts of poor weather and headed up to Northam Burrows for our annual seaside walk. After a brief stop at Torrington Common where the building of the Mayflower replica was in progress, we went on to park at the Skern on the Appledore side of the estuary and had coffee on the pebble beach - see photo. Heading around the tip of the Burrows we enjoyed the variety of coastal plants such as Sea Holly and the sound of curlews and skylarks. Because of the forecast there were few golfers out so we didn't have to run the gauntlet of golf balls and shouts of "Fore!". The Burrows Centre, with it's fascinating displays of wildlife and history, was also a welcome break out of the warm wind. At Westward Ho! there is a new pasty van selling pasties and good coffee with tables to sit at overlooking the wide sands and Pebbleridge, so we had our lunch there.
After lunch we headed away from the coast path and climbed onto Kipling Tor with the spectacular views and as we were coming down again it finally started to drizzle with rain. We split into 2 groups and some of us continued along the old railway line/coast path above the Cornborough cliffs so that we could see the view of Peppercombe Beach down below and a misty glimpse of Bucks Mills and Clovelly through the rain, before turning back. By the time we got to Braddick's Hotel and joined the others we were damp and in need of pots of tea! It was then back through Westward Ho! to the Hocking's ice cream van and across the top of the Burrows to our shared cars. The weather had been mostly dry after all and our lovely long and leisurely walk was just over 9 miles.
On Friday 21st June, an amazingly beautiful day, eight of us were led by
Tom on a 7 mile walk starting from Postbridge where there were plenty of
sightseers none of whom did we see again once we left the car park. They
were all left standing on the wonderful clapper bridge in smart summer
outfits preparing for photos to be taken. We headed for Bellever Tor
passing a number of cairns and stone circles en route. Stopped there
for coffee so we could admire the stunning 360 degree view. After that
on to Laughter Tor for lunch, another great view and then returning
through the forest tracks and Bellever hamlet in order to avoid the
dreaded Laughter Hole stepping stones. Tom claims he once came across a
gentleman spread eagle across the stones so that his "girlfriend" could
walk across on his back! I say "girlfriend" rather than wife as I am
not certain a "husband" would go to quite such lengths for a wife!
Anyway, do we believe Tom? Altogether it was another wonderful walk so
On 17th May 10 of us set off from the small car park opposite The Two Bridges Hotel. We stopped at the edge of Wistman’s Wood for a closer look at the wood and a coffee break. Then we made our way to the end of the wood and walked uphill to Longaford Tor where there were good views over the moor. We stayed there for our lunch break and then retraced our steps back to the river, walking upstream to find the crossing point. We then joined the Devonport leat which we walked alongside until we reached Beardown Hill Wood. We all enjoyed the views of Wistman’s Wood from the other side of the river - and the bonus was the continuous sound of the cuckoo! After coming out of Beardown wood we walked a delightful stretch of the Cowsic River before it joins the West Dart river at Two Bridges. A very enjoyable walk with good weather and excellent company!
Report from Jenny Lee who led the walk and photos from Tom.
In spite of the forecast wind and rain, 13 walkers turned out to walk 8 miles, which I thought was remarkable - What a hearty bunch! In fact we had only a bit of drizzle and then one heavy shower while slogging up to White Tor. Luckily it stopped for our lunch there and we found good shelter under the Tor with a stunning view.
We started the walk from a quarry above Peter Tavy at Smeardon Down, then headed down to Horndon Bridge where we stopped for coffee as it had started drizzling and there was some shelter amongst the trees. From there we went along Tavy Leat, up to White Tor, down to Stephen's grave, across Colly Brook to Great Coombe Tor (a slight misnomer as rather it's insignificant!), down to Colly Brook again which is so lovely and then back up through the woods where we were rewarded with the spring leaves on the trees, bluebells and wild flowers.
Apart from the lovely views we were also rewarded on the walk with masses of new-born lambs, snow white with black faces and feet, gambolling about and looking so adorable. The only downside were a few dead lambs, one beside its mother who appeared to be tied (?) to the fence or tangled in the binder twine which was attached to the fence. She was distressed and intent on damaging herself so one of our walkers set her free with a bit of help from me. She frolicked away with no thought to her dead lamb. She appeared to be thinking "Freedom, hurrah." We hope the farmer will not be very cross but surely he did not want a dead lamb and an injured ewe.
We came across another sheep stuck fast in a drainage ditch which went from the field, under the hedge and onto the road. I left a note at the farm hoping she might be rescued. In spite of this it was a lovely walk.
Some would call us MAD for going on our Dartmoor walk at the tail end of Storm Gareth! Scorhill is usually a safe bet and this is where we started in high winds and some drizzle but we agreed to keep it short and head for a cream tea somewhere afterwards! Our plucky seven, all in appropriate wet-weather gear, headed down the Berrydown Lane to Gidleigh Tor Woods crossing over the spectacular River Teign, where we had coffee, and up to Teigncombe where we joined the Two Moors Way.
The track was very muddy and slippery in places but sheltered from the wind so we were cheerful walkers at this point! However, as we turned west up the lane to Frenchbeer Rock, things took a turn for the worst and we should have taken heed of all the miserable ponies hiding in the gorse bushes! But we were looking forward to our moorland lunch-stop and the remaining section of the walk back to our cars so on we pressed...….!! (cue dramatic music!)
The wind was now gale-force, coming from every direction out here on the open moorland and we could hardly keep upright! Driving rain got inside every gap in our clothes and we couldn't hear each other speak or shout. We were faced with turning back the very much longer route back the way we had come or enduring the exhausting struggle against the elements. So we turned round, had a very cold and soggy lunch and walked all the way back. By the time we got back to the cars we had walked 7.5 (although it felt like 20!) miles and we were soaked through to the skin. We didn't go for a cream tea either!
Probably our worst walk ever but we are a hardy and jolly group who will be turning out again next month - yes we are MAD!!! Thanks to Heather for the report and photos
Eight of us were lead by Tom on a 7.4 mile glorious sunny walk across the moor south of Princetown. We headed for Eylesbarrow Tin Mine where we enjoyed our first break surrounded by interesting ancient industrial workings overlooking Higher Hartor Tor. From there we dropped down to Drizzlecombe with an array of megaliths - standing stones, barrows and the longest stone row on the moor.
Parallel to the River Plym, with strip fields above, we followed the track round to Ditsworthy Warren where part of Warhorse was filmed and enjoyed another break. We double-backed by pretty much the same route but, as most of us had never been down to that area before, there were still fabulous moorland views to enjoy. And the weather was perfect as the pics show! Thanks Tom!
To see reports of our previous walks just click the link opposite
If there is anyone who would like to offer to lead a walk of about 6 miles, please let Kathy know. It need not be on the Moors.
Do get in touch if you would like to join us.
Phone Kathy at the number below or click on the "carrier pigeon" to send an email.
|Group organiser||Kathy Richardson||01363 84097|
Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.