Author Topic: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015  (Read 6843 times)

DevonDave

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Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« on: 11:22:33, 17/04/15 »
I had another excellent walk yesterday, a circular walk from Fernworthy to Sittaford Tor, Whitehorse Hill and Watern Tor.  The weather was just right for walking, although it was quite hazy so not so good for taking photos of the distant views.
I started from the parking area at the end of the road that goes around Fernworthy Reservoir and went through the gate and headed up the forest track.

After what always seems an endless 1.25 mile trudge uphill through the forest I eventually emerged on to the open moor.  Hidden in the trees ahead are the ruins of Teignhead Farm.
 
I didn't visit Teignhead Farm on this occasion, but instead turned left through the gate and headed due south to reach the Grey Wethers stone circles.

From Grey Wethers it was an uphill climb to the summit of Sittaford Tor.  This tor is not as spectacular as some of the Dartmoor tors, but it does afford fine panoramic views.  Unfortunately today it was far too hazy to take full advantage of these views.  The following photo shows my direction of travel approximately south-westwards from the tor.

My next point of interest was Statt's House, a one-roomed ruined hut in an isolated location, once used by a peat cutter, presumably called Statt.  There is a fireplace built into one wall.

From Statt's House I headed north to Quintin's Man cairn, a Bronze Age burial mound.

From there I headed into the Okehampton Live Firing Area, one of the less appealing aspects of the moor.  I suppose they have to train somewhere, but does it have to be in a National Park?  I could hear artillery fire coming from the Willsworthy Range, but fortunately the Okehampton Range was clear today.

I soon arrived at one of Phillpott's Peat Passes.  Frank Phillpott enjoyed fox hunting in the late 19th/early 20th century, but his riding was hampered by the boggy ground in this area.  His solution was to find areas where the bed rock was only a few feet below the peat, and cut tracks through the peat down to the granite below.




Close by the peat pass on Whitehorse Hill is a Bronze Age burial cist that was only discovered last year when the peat around it eroded.  The National Park archaeologists excavated it and found numerous grave goods which were still in remarkable condition.




From Whitehorse Hill I headed north to Hangingstone Hill, from where I could see my next destination, Watern Tor, on the horizon.

After crossing the marshy area of the Walla Brook I arrived at Watern Tor.  This is one of my favourite Dartmoor tors, due to its unusual granite rock formations.
















From Watern Tor it was downhill to the River Teign.  I crossed the river by making use of the rails.  These were put here partly to prevent cattle crossing between the newtake walls, but also to assist walkers to cross the river.  They were partially washed away in floods last year but fortunately the National Park did an excellent job in replacing them.

From the river I headed uphill back to Fernworthy Forest and back down the forest track to my starting point.  This was an excellent walk which according to Viewranger was 11.5 miles.


sunnydale

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #1 on: 15:47:16, 17/04/15 »
Very nice photos Dave  O0
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DevonDave

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #2 on: 17:00:22, 17/04/15 »
Thanks sunnydale.  The photos would have been much nicer if it hadn't been so hazy.

Jac

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #3 on: 18:39:49, 17/04/15 »
For anyone interested in the finds from the cist on whitehorse hill here is a useful link http://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/lookingafter/laf-culturalheritage/whitehorse-hill-burial

I was lucky to see them when they were on show at the Plymouth Museum before going for further investigation and the preservation is really astounding. The little 'bracelet' with the tin studs inparticular is so pretty.
So many paths, so little time

DevonDave

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #4 on: 18:59:29, 17/04/15 »
Thanks for posting the link Jac.  I also saw the exhibition in the Plymouth Museum and I agree, the artefacts were incredibly well preserved.  When you actually see them it is difficult to believe that they are some 4,000 years old.

letmeoutofhere

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #5 on: 19:40:09, 17/04/15 »
I wish I'd been out there instead of at work yesterday  :( Thanks for this, I might copy your route for a future occasion, it looks excellent. O0

Jac

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #6 on: 21:46:06, 17/04/15 »
Thanks for posting the link Jac.  I also saw the exhibition in the Plymouth Museum and I agree, the artefacts were incredibly well preserved.  When you actually see them it is difficult to believe that they are some 4,000 years old.

When we visited the cist someone had left sprigs of rosemary (for rememberance) inside - and as I hapened ot have some beech mast in my pocket I felt almost obliged to leave some - old habits die hard and so new shrines become established.
So many paths, so little time

DevonDave

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #7 on: 22:06:45, 17/04/15 »
I wish I'd been out there instead of at work yesterday  :( Thanks for this, I might copy your route for a future occasion, it looks excellent. O0
Yes, if you enjoy walking on Dartmoor I am sure you would love this walk.  I would suggest that you do it after a dry spell as the ground conditions around Whitehorse Hill and Hangingstone Hill can be extremely difficult after wet weather.  Alternatively you could miss out that section of the walk by heading north from Statt's House, following the firing range marker posts directly to Watern Tor.

DevonDave

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #8 on: 22:08:30, 17/04/15 »
When we visited the cist someone had left sprigs of rosemary (for rememberance) inside - and as I hapened ot have some beech mast in my pocket I felt almost obliged to leave some - old habits die hard and so new shrines become established.
Funnily enough when I was there yesterday someone had left a sprig of holly complete with berries.

letmeoutofhere

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #9 on: 07:59:01, 18/04/15 »
Thanks for the tip  :), we have a busy few weeks but hopefully we'll get out on Dartmoor again soon, by which time it might have dried up some more.

thomasdevon

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #10 on: 09:41:37, 19/04/15 »
What a fine trip. Well done Dave.

DevonDave

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #11 on: 10:27:02, 19/04/15 »
What a fine trip. Well done Dave.
Thanks Thomas. 

DartmoorWalker

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #12 on: 12:02:44, 19/04/15 »
Small world.


I was at Watern Tor on the 11th April. I parked at Belstone then walked to Belstone Tor, Higher Tor, Oke Tor, Steeperton Tor, Watern Tor, Rippator then camped at Hound Tor. Next day walked to Little Hound Tor and back to the car.
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DevonDave

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Re: Dartmoor walk 16th April 2015
« Reply #13 on: 13:18:46, 19/04/15 »
Small world.
Yes, it is a small world.  I am sure we shall bump into each other one of these days.  That looks like a good walk you did too.  Unfortunately I don't think I shall be able to go walking for a while as I fell off a ladder this morning whilst cleaning the gutters.  Luckily no serious damage but I am bruised all over so will need to take things easy for a week or two.