Dartmoor walks this way | News

Skillshare Walk

2012-10-22 14:53:54

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We crossed the Becka on a small granite clapper bridge and climbed to the top of Smallacombe Rocks, where there is a marvelous view out over to Hay Tor and down into the Becka valley, particularly beautiful in the autumn as it is dotted with trees flaunting their autumn colors and branches covered with rowanberries.  A few hut circles mark the site of a Bronze Age settlement right on the top of the hill, and we tried to work out why they would have chosen such an exposed place to live – maybe they felt the excellent view made up for the constant gusts of Dartmoor wind?  We progressed through time, contouring along the ridge to join up with the granite tramway which in the 19th century took massive blocks of stone from Holwell Quarry down to the canal at Teigngrace and thence to Teignmouth and round the coast to London.  Following our discussion of the technical challenge of this operation (16 horses needed to pull the wagons uphill and no brakes going downhill), I’m now on a mission to try and find some old photographs or illustrations showing the tramway in action.

From Holwell Quarry, it was back down the hill, over the Becka again on my favorite natural bridge (a fallen tree with branches growing upward which make walking across easy), and picnic time in the sunny meadow by the rope swing.  We had no children with us, but several of the group were young enough at heart to give the swing a go.  It was a delightful walk and great company – I hope to offer another one through Skillshare in the spring.

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