Tom & Meg's Dartmoor Adventure

Posted by Tom Heathcote on

During our time away from the workshops my partner Meg and I enjoy getting outside, walking long distances and camping, as far away from civilisation as possible. To this end we decided to take on Dartmoor national park in September and see how far we could get from the south coast of Devon in 4 days.

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We started in the seaside fishing town of Brixham before the sparrows were up in an attempt to cross off as many miles as possible during the first day. The first obstacle (other than the weather!) was crossing the river Dart. Thankfully there’s a ferry which operates between Dittisham and Greeenway House which will take you across for £2 a head - http://greenwayferry.co.uk/2012/dittisham-to-greenway-ferry/

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After crossing the river we followed the western banks all the way to Totnes (some signs were more useful than others) before deciding we were in need of a large meal. We fueled up at the local curry house before bedding down at Beara Camping site just outside the village of Buckfastleigh.  

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With the weather far better than the previous day we set out in high spirits and after passing through Buckfastleigh we officially entered the national park. We soon joined the two moors way long distance path - http://www.twomoorsway.org which took us through the village of Holne (thank god for fish and chip vans!) before dropping down to Horseshoe falls. We passed by the quite old “newbridge” and got our first glimpse of Dartmoor ponies before making camp on Spitchwick Common for the night as it started to rain. As a side note we saw a vast amount of  damage done by campfires in this area, disappointing that people who are willing to enjoy areas like this seem quite happy to damage them without thought...

Waking up early again we got packed up and continued along the two moors way. The path took us across a number of windswept tors before dropping us back down towards Widecombe in the moor (conveniently on the day of the annual fair!). We greedily devoured a much-needed hog roast roll and visited the local smithy before getting back on the trail again with the sound of pipe organs ringing in our ears. After a few miles, we turned off the two moors way, passing Jay’s Grave (a weird and local monument) and arrived at a pub in Manaton. We had a pint while waiting for our phones to charge and set out amidst the failing light towards our campsite for the night in the Lustleigh Cleave. As we descended to the bottom of the valley we came across one final obstacle in the form of the Horsham Steps. These moss covered granite boulders blanket the entire width of the river and the water is forced to run underneath and between them, Humans in the meantime are forced to slip and slide across the tops in order to reach the other side.

Once we had made it to the other side we made camp on the banks of the river Bovey and got some well earned rest. Once morning came we packed up the tent for the last time after a lazy breakfast while taking in some of the most stunning and expansive woodland I have ever had the pleasure of spending time in. We reluctantly climbed out of the valley and into the tiny village of Lustleigh where we met our ride home at the local (thatched) pub. A cracking pint ended a cracking trip and we set homewards with heads full of ideas for the next trip, bring it on!


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