A January afternoon on the high moor

Just for a change I went up onto Dartmoor this afternoon!

I went in search of the herd of Highland cattle which inhabit the Commons between the Warren House Inn, Headland Warren and Hameldown, spent a lot of time searching but to no avail! Facebook tells me they are still there …. somewhere!

Nevertheless found plenty of other things to look at and photograph – here are a few of my pictures.

A Swaledale near Headland Warren

Scotties near Headland Warren

Down the Challacombe Valley

On the drove up to Great Mis Tor

South Devons at a ring-feeder on the in-bye near Postbridge

A new perspective on the Postbridge clapper bridge

Scotch Blackface sheep under a busy Haytor

Saddle Tor via a Lensball

Take 2

Sunset at Saddle Tor

The sheep i.e. the ewes are now back on the Commons having been tupped (mated) by the rams – the Dartmoor farming year keeps turning.


A walk from Haytor

Whilst I like reading and writing about Dartmoor you can’t beat the experience of getting out into Dartmoor. Yesterday the annual 10 Tors cycle began again. We were out on the moor training the new prospective students how to read maps, navigate and walk on Dartmoor. We had six groups of students walking various routes from Haytor to Hound Tor and back.

This is the route I took – it is about 8km long and is a good introductory walk on Dartmoor – it does go up and down and requires walking boots, a compass, map and a coat but nevertheless is an achievable walk which visits a number of interesting places. It starts at the lower Haytor Car Park.

becca-brookThe Becca Brook below Holwell Tor with the recently installed new clapper bridge

greator-rocksGreator Rocks between Holwell Lawn and Houndtor Down

haytor-and-quarriesLooking back to Haytor with its quarries and Holwell Tor in the foreground

hound-torUp to Hound Tor – the Rowan or Mountain Ash trees were covered in their blood red berries

hound-tor-2The south west corner of Hound Tor

black-hillBack across the Becca Brook and up the slope to Black Hill with Haytor again in the background

black-hill-cairnThe Cairn on the summit of Black Hill with the Bovey Valley in the background.

tramwayPart of the ancient tramway on Haytor Down

haytor-quarryThe famous quarry to the northeast of Haytor itself

home-farm-cafeBack down to the car park for a cup of tea and a piece of flapjack with my old friends from Home Farm Cafe.

A very blustery day up on the moor yesterday but we missed out on the rain! I can recommend this walk if you want to recharge your batteries and burn a few calories. The area is rich in archaeology and moor itself is well managed by the Commoners and is  great for wildlife.


To Widecombe and back

A couple of days ago I went down to Widecombe to photograph the new Gallery – see here.

Here are a few other photos from that day – the first two were taken by my friend Jon Hare who runs Full Fat Photography – Jon is a very good buildings’ photographer and he has kindly let us use his images

Sextons_001This is Sexton’s Cottage (on the left) and the Church House (on the right) with St Pancras Church in the background. This building is actually rather difficult to photograph without getting warped perspectives and leaning towers. Brilliant shot Jon

Sextons_005A simply shot of the sign with Dartmoor creeping in the the left! Photo Jon Hare.

GalleryPam Thomas our Shop Manager is looking for a volunteer to help run our new Gallery – does this appeal to you or someone you know? If so give Pam a ring – details on the poster above.

Widecombe 1On my way back to Parke I stopped and took a few pictures in the February sunshine – looking back into the village – The Church House and Sexton’s Cottage are behind the tower of St Pancras Church

Widecombe 3From the same spot as the last photo – here is the view across to Princetown – the tall mast is on North Hessary Tor beside Princetown. The conifer plantation in the middle ground is Sousson’s Down. Still a bit of snow on the high moor.

Widecombe 4Here is Haytor – with a couple of people approaching the top

Widecombe 2A Scotch blackface sheep – has seen it all before

Snow on Dartmoor?

When I was driving down the A38 this morning I could see snow on top of Haytor and when I got to Cadover Bridge there was more of the white stuff on the high moor at Plym Head. When I came back it was all but gone – replaced by wind driven sleet and rain – a Dartmoor day in January you may say!


Haytor 1Here is the view of Haytor from my car …

Haytor pony1The ponies were pretty wet too

Haytor pony 2But the driving rain didn’t stop them feeding

Haytor 3No snow anymore on Haytor ….

SnowBut here is the interesting bit! Here is the severe weather warming (yellow – be prepared) for Sunday and Monday

Navigating around Haytor and Hound Tor – a good intro walk

As we move into autumn it suddenly becomes time again to start the 10 Tors training cycle all over again! We started the process yesterday with a group of year 9 students teaching them the basics of map reading and navigation. We based ourselves around Haytor and Hound Tor – so not big distances but lots of opportunity to learn how to take a bearing and go in the right direction!

Hound-Heytor1Here is a group at Hound Tor looking back to Haytor

Hound-Heytor3It may have been an overcast day but the moor was pretty busy  – here is a group of novice climbers at Hound Tor

Hound-Heytor2This is the Becka Brook between Haytor and Hound Tor – very low river levels so an easy river crossing!

Hound-Heytor7One of the quarries around Holwell Tor

Hound-Heytor6The remains of the old quarry tram way tracks

Hound-Heytor4Back to the car  park via Haytor

Hound-Heytor5Four of this year’s foals at the Haytor visitor centre car park.

A successful day with a group of enthusiastic students – bodes well for the coming months!

If you want a good introductory walk to Dartmoor I can recommend a gentle walk from Haytor to Holwell Tor, over the Becka Brook to Greator Rocks and then up to Hound Tor – its around 2.5 miles (each way) and as long as the visibility is good you can see exactly where you are aiming for and where you have come from. A great walk to practice map reading and gaining your moorland confidence.