In very mixed weather, with some lovely atmospheric views, but also more rain than would have been ideal, thirteen stalwarts of the 2016 summer of DPA walks ‘perambulating’ the boundary of Dartmoor Forest, completed the circuit on Sunday 29th August. Starting at the car park near Lydford High Down, crossing the Lyd and climbing along the bridleway between Brat Tor and Arms Tor, past Dick’s Well and the massive Doetor Brook tin workings, we returned to the actual Forest boundary which runs up the Rattlebrook past Bleak House and the Rattlebrook tin workings as well as the Rattlebrook peat railway. Turning briefly west of the river to avoid boggy and tussocky ground, we passed close by Hunt Tor before returning to the boundary at the head of the Rattlebrook.
Half a mile more tussocky ground, following a fairly straight line, in the mist, brought us to Stenga Tor, a known point on the 1240 Perambulation record. From there Fordsland Ledge and High Willhays were visible, but lunch was taken in the rain. The easy way down from Stenga Tor to Sandy Ford eluded Val (who was leading) and we found ourselves negotiating molinia tussocks and many deep holes before eventually reaching the ford, thankfully without any injuries. Recent rain meant the West Okement was a little deeper than ideal, and Janet may have been the only person still with dry feet afterwards.
After a brief and welcome pause at Fordsland Ledge, where Bill found the cairn and possible cist remains, we reached the highest point on Dartmoor, High Willhays, where we had a tea break and some sunshine. By the time we set off again for Yes Tor the mist was down, but after a short stop to make sure we were on track, we passed east of Yes Tor, over the Red-a-Ven to West Mill Tor, from where we had an overview of the layout of the military target railway. Finally we crossed the Moor Brook and skirted Rowtor. The return to the cars at the top of the track leading down to Cullever Steps, marked the end of eight longish walks, totalling about 65 miles, over the summer.
Four people were on every walk – Janet, Bill, Peter and Mary, in the photo above. Hilary L also completed every leg. Very well done to them, and also to Katya, Sylvia, Julia, Hilary M, Max, Mally, Bob, John and Rachel W and John H and everyone who did some or most of the series – holidays and other commitments permitting. Thanks particularly to Hilary and Peter, Sylvia, John and Rachel, Bill, Bob, and John H for agreeing to lead, and for making such a good job of their sections. Many thanks also to Derek who, with the new APY wagon, made getting walkers to and from meeting places much simpler.
I think we all enjoyed it!
Val Barns – August 2016.