After being postponed from the 19th Dec due to heavy rain being forecast and the already water-logged conditions underfoot of one grassy slope in particular, turning it into a bit of a ski slope, the walk finally took place with 13 remainers of the original group on place on Thursday 9th January – with yet another forecast with foreboding in it! We met at the Burrator Arboretum.
The walk started sloshing along paths through the Arboretum to a stile at the far side, towards Yellowmead Down.
Once we were out of the trees of the Arboretum, we followed a track up through Yellowmead Gate and onto the Down. This climbed gently alongside Roughtor Plantation. Along the way we saw a blocked-up gateway and then, at a certain point, we turned out to the open Down on a track that climbed up towards Sheepstor. A long time ago I was told the small “tor” on the skyline to the right was Narrator – this was wrong. Narrator is seen later and is over the back of this small outcrop and further to the right.
This open track gave good views of far tors. The photograph above shows Sharpitor (owned by the DPA) and Leather Tor.
Out in the open, there is a PCWW 1919 pillar, a marker stone that was erected by Plymouth Corporation Water Works, in 1919, to mark the edge of the water catchment area for Burrator Reservoir. There is a good map of all the various markers on the Dartefacts web site.
There is a small settlement of five hut circles near the PCWW pillar, we visited Huts 2 and 4.
Not long after this photograph, during a coffee stop on the top of Sheeps Tor, the rain started.
During this long, gentle scent up to Sheepstor, there is a far view of the multiple, fourfold Bronze Age stone circle on Yellowmead Down.
To the north, at about 354°, is Great Mis Tor (pictured above), with a view also of Little Mis Tor – in the shadow of a small cloud.
This view can be seen from the north end of the tor, towards Leather Tor.
This grassy area is probably the “Feather Bed” marked on ther original Ordnance Survey map, judging by the feature and the position of the label compared to the original Pixies Cave feature and the positioning of its label. There is open grass on top of the tor but it is well-populated with rocks and no great expanse of flat grass. The term is alo applied to quaking bog but that seems absent here.
The cave is marked by the arrowheads.
Pixies Cave is not for the faint-hearted, it is difficult to enter and leave from, and once inside there is little room. I had to swivel my shoulders to enter and exit – you can judge the width of the entrance by comparing it with my head.
This lane leads down to a small car park. The far side of the road was the site of Park Cottage, marked on the old OS map as B.H. (Boarding House). This would have served the tinners.
A corn ditch wall is designed to keep the king’s deer out of medieval farmland by virtue of its high revetted wall and to allow them easy egress by virtue of its sloping inner face.
First view of the elusive Narrator, above Narrator farm after which the farm was named.
The “WIFF” marking is on the lowerleft face of the stone, with a tiny cross below it – just above the dead branch going in under the stone.