Dartmoor walks this way | News

Walk Across Dartmoor on July 1 & 2

2017-03-22 12:03:22



There’s nothing like walking right across Dartmoor, from east to west or north to south, to really get a sense of the diversity of landscape and richness of history embedded in it.  I’ve previously taken groups from Ashburton to Tavistock along the old packhorse track and from Burrator reservoir in the southwest to South Zeal in the northeast.   We stay overnight in the middle so that each day is a comfortable length to enable stopping to soak up the scenery.

This year’s walk is a route of my own making which includes part of the Abbots Way on day one and all of the Lych Way on day two.  We’ll stay at Bellever Youth Hostel which provides bedding, evening meal and breakfast so no-one will need to carry a heavy pack.  It's also possible to walk just one of the days (cost £20), but you will need to make your own travel arrangements.  Here’s a brief summary of what you can expect to see on this expedition:

Day One: 12 miles   Shipley Bridge to Bellever

We start at Shipley Bridge and follow a popular trail up the Avon valley to the reservoir, where we’ll big goodbye to the crowds.  We skirt the side of the reservoir and meet up with the Abbots Way as it follows the beautiful valley upstream.  At Huntingdon Cross we leave the Avon and follow the Walla Brook, passing the Keble Martin Chapel, extensive remains of the Huntington Tin Mine and Huntingdon Warren Farm with the Heap of Sinners above.  This is an area with a lot of good stories!  Continuing up this remote valley, we head for Ryders Hill, the highest point on south Dartmoor with magnificent views (weather permitting of course).  The area around here is one that proves Dartmoor’s unique ability to make water move uphill – the higher you get, the boggier it gets!  There will be a few hundred yards of sogginess if it’s been a wet June…

Beyond Ryders Hill we head for more disused tin mines at Hooten Wheals and pick up an old miners’ track which leads us alongside the O Brook to Hexworthy – another beautiful valley.   A short stretch of lane walking follows, crossing the West Dart at Huccaby and heading over to Brimpts Farm where we walk above the East Dart river to the Laughter Hole enclosures and on to Bellever.

Day Two:  12 miles   Bellever to Lydford

Having walked mainly northward the day before, we now head westwards along the Lych Way – before 1280 residents of the Dart Valley had to carry their dead along this path to Lydford which was their parish church.    We climb up onto Lakehead Hill and pass below Bellever Tor, through an area that is full of Bronze Age remains – hut circles, stone rows and burial cists.  After crossing the main road, we walk behind Powder Mills, the ruined gunpowder factory which still has a chimney standing, and walk over to Longaford Tor, another spectacular viewpoint.  The Lych Way skirts the top of Wistmans Wood and crosses the West Dart at the weir where the famous Devonport Leat begins its long journey.  Soon after we enter the military firing area (don’t worry, none happening that day) and some of the remotest areas of Dartmoor.   We pass Lydford Tor, Conies Down and Whitaburrow, before leaving the open moor at Baggator Gate.  We pass above Coffin Wood and through Willsworthy, then pick up a footpath through fields to the delightful village of Lydford, where the Castle Inn will serve as a welcome refreshment point while we wait for taxis back to Shipley Bridge.

The cost for this walk is £85 which includes accommodation, food (except lunches), and transport back to the start point.  A deposit of £20 is required to book.  To find out more or book a place, email [email protected] 

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