Due to demand, it is important that you book a place on these free walks – car parking can be limited on Dartmoor – on 25th Feb. with 28 of us, some were double-parked at Four Winds!
Contact Keith Ryan, tel. 01752 405245, mob. 07957 976758, or preferably email firstname.lastname@example.org with your tel. number for details or to book a place and whether you want to join the Après walk lunch – not free! The pubs like to know how many to prepare for. You will be added to the “blind” email group so that you receive updates about the walks.
The DPA have introduced short guided walks each month, starting on 25th January. The date will normally be the 25th of the month except in December.
The walks will be just two hours in length, walking about three miles. They are free and are designed for members and friends who feel they cannot join the longer walks that the Association has always offered They will start at 10.00 am and following the walk, there will be an optional lunch at a local hostelry. The lunches are not included!
It is hoped that in this way, we can introduce new walkers to the pleasures of the moor in a safe manner, or attract new walkers, older walkers who no longer undertake strenuous walks, or walkers who do not want to venture out on their own. The walks will start from easy-to-reach car parks, not too far from Plymouth and Tavistock, and will be on ground that is not difficult, often following established tracks.
There will be an “added value” aspect to many of the walks in that they will be followed by a web page of photographs, explanatory text and a GPS track of where we walked put onto a Google Satellite View that shows exactly where we walked. You can zoom in on these and see a lot of detail, but not quite see your footprints!
So, if you would like to try the delights of Dartmoor walking, why not come along and give it a ‘go’?
Thu. 25th May – Sharpitor (Leedon Tor & Ingra Tor)
There will be views of DPA-owned Sharpitor, Leather Tor, Black Tor, Hart Tor and Criptor. We will visit hut circles, Leeden Tor, look for a hidden Bronze Age burial cist, visit Ingra Tor and its quarry which has two crane bases, Ingra Tor Halt GWR station, There will also be views to Swelltor Quarry, King’s Tor Quarry, Pew Tor and we finish by passing the ancient enclosures at Routrundle.
Approximately: 3 miles, allow 2 hours
Start time: 10.00 Contact: Keith Ryan
Après walk: Burrator Inn
Sun. 25th June – Roborough Rock – the dry Devonport and Plymouth (Drake’s) leats
We will see RAF Harrowbeer WW2 aerodrome, Roborough Rock, the base of an Allan Williams gun turret, a Jubilee drinking fountain, Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee monument, Devonport Leat, Plymouth Leat – and the connection between the two leats, a view to Sheepstor, kissing gates, Elford Town Farm, Yeoland Consols Mine, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt’s horse-drawn tramway. Milepost 13.
Approximately: 3 miles, allow 2 hours
Start time: 10.00 Contact: Keith Ryan
Après walk: The Skylark Inn, Clearbrook
Tues 25th July – Rees Jeffreys – the Staple Tors
Fri 26th Aug – Norsworthy Bridge – out Cuckoo Rock way
Mon 25th Sep – Grenofen Bridge – River Walkham, West Down Mine, West Down
Weds. 25th January – Crazy Well Pool. The group met at Norsworthy ridge and, after a briefing, set off up the track to Norsworthy Farm (an old medieval longhouse complex). In the track, we saw the “drill stone” looking a bit like a gorgonzola cheese, covered in practice drill holes – presumably by a blacksmith who sharpened the miners’ drills (from Bal Mine). We examined the ruined Norsworthy stamping mill site, Leathertor Bridge and the Keaglesborough mine area with its large gert and wheelpits. From there, we proceeded up Raddick Lane to Crazy Well Pool. Then, back to the abandoned mill stone and the ruins of Roundy Farm. The track was then followed down past the broken double mortar stone and the “feather and tares” stone where someone abandoned a stone cutting enterprise, back to the car park.
Sat. 25th February – Merrivale Antiquities.
Twenty-eight of us started with some hut circles and an abandoned crazing millstone. Then we visited the double stone rows where alignments of stones were pointed out that forecast the midwinter and midsummer solstices as well as the equinoxes – all important to the Bronze Age farmers. The stone circle and menhir were visited and the tinners ‘ scarring of the landscape at Long Ash Pits, where extensive “tin streaming” had been carried out. The days of the old TA (Tavistock to Ashburton) Packhorse Track were recalled, as we listened on the wind to hear ghostly sounds of a pony train passing! That pony whinnied at just the right moment! Finally, the story of Foggintor School (at Four Winds) and it’s predecessor at the Mission Hall were described.
Sat. 25th March – Roborough Down
From a car park among the old road network in the middle of the old WW2 RAF Harrowbeer, we set off to the site of North Roborough Down Tin Mine, descending into the gert and following it down to the Drake’s Trail (Sustrans National Route 27) cycle track. We continued down the gert but not quite far enough to see the iron fence panel embedded in the centre of a 70-year old tree. We4 followed the track to the old railway station at Horrabridge and then climbed gently onto the down. We had an easy long leg across the down, enjoying the vista of tors: Cox Tor, GreatStaple Tor, Pew Tor, Great Mis Tor, Little Mis Tor, King’s Tor, Swelltor Quarry, North Hessary Tor, the trees at Princetown, Ingra Tor, South Hessary Tor, the DPA’s own Sharpitor and Peek Hill. Finally, we saw artefacts of WW2 RAF Harrowbeer: the “duck pond” and base of the small arms ammunition store, the bomb ramps and their trammel rings, and other signs of the WW2 aerodrome. These included pill boxes, a covered rifle defence trench, and the bases of the control tower, the signals square and the compass platform. RAF Harrowbeer both protected Plymouth and later provided cover for wartime operations over the English Channel and across to Brittany.
Tues. 25th April – Burrator and Devonport Leat
This walk started at the Burrator Quarry car park with a look at the SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest rock face, trying to ‘spot’ the pink granite intrusion (270 million years ago) into the 380-million-year-old Devonian “hornfelsed” (changed by great heat) Devonian rocks. We then proceeded along the old Princetown Railway track with views over the dam and reservoir, via Burrator & Sheepstor Halt station, with its “kissing” gates. Passing various memorial benches, we reached the end of the running Devonport Leat, where we had a special “treat” because someone was working inside the building I have always known mistakenly as “the pump house”. This is in fact a water quality monitoring station with various instruments and a leaf-removing device We had a brief lecture about it worked and were allowed a look inside! From there, we followed the leat for some distance, passing Lowery Sluice, until we reached Lowery Tank. There are quite a few locations in the area using the name “Lowery”, derived from Low or Lower Worthig (Saxon for “settlement”. This relates to Norsworthy (north settlement), Essworthy (now under the reservoir, east settlement), Middleworth or Middleworthi (middle settlement) etc. We then visited Lower Lowery to see the restored barn and have a coffee break. Then it was down to the lakeside. Following the lakeside path, we visited the Burrator Discovery Centre for a short talk by Emily Cannon, the South West Lakes Trust Learning and Community Officer, before passing the waterfall (deriving from the leat) and Click Tor before returning to the car park again. It was a smaller group on this occasion due to various commitments and we had a very friendly outing.