Author Topic: Back on Dartmoor!  (Read 2602 times)

thomasdevon

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Back on Dartmoor!
« on: 19:12:38, 04/12/19 »
Hi Walkers.


Long time since I've been 'ere. And long time since I've been on Dartmoor but managed a nice circular route last week and another today. Had to make a slight detour as the Army were making bangs and I had forgotten to check the live firing calendar....... Oh well, nice walk on a beautiful day, just not the walk I thought I'd do.


The shooting was impressive. Lost of bangs, really lengthy heavy MG shooting (didn't think they did that), some smoke pots. Topped off with what I thought was the finale this afternoon with a massive explosion somewhere up there. But no, the real finale was a helicopter (Lynx? in camo) zooming up the Taw over Belstone. The range actually had a look-out guy posted on top of Steeperton today, never seen that before.


Very wet going but good exercise as I had to do some cross-country stuff to avoid the Range boundaries and get to interesting places. First time back up Hound Tor and Cosdon for a good while. Approaching Cosdon from the S is definitely the way to do it.


Anyway, very excited to be hiking again and very glad posting again.


Good walking to all!

Lee R

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #1 on: 20:54:09, 04/12/19 »
Sounds like you had a great day out!! Many miles?

thomasdevon

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #2 on: 22:10:13, 04/12/19 »
Not many miles, about 4.5hrs actual walking.
Note to self: Must get that pedometer calibrated.


Hips tired tonight but OK. Next week a bit further. OR - similar distance but with full kit, not just a day pack.


Onwards and upwards.

ninthace

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #3 on: 22:21:23, 04/12/19 »
Solvitur Ambulando

thomasdevon

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #4 on: 22:29:37, 04/12/19 »
Very possibly. To me it was just noisy and stripey.

thomasdevon

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #5 on: 12:08:41, 08/12/19 »
The Army is now winding down its live firing on Dartmoor ranges until the New Year.


Check for warning flags and warning lights, check gov.uk before you hike, programmes can change - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dartmoor-firing-programme



Okehampton - clear until 12/01


Willsworthy - today (daytime only): tomorrow 09/12 day and night: 07/01 and 08/01 daytime: 11/01 and 12/01 daytime


Merrivale - 10/12 daytime only: 11/12 and 12/12 day and night: then clear until 12/01





For updates on the firing programme ring Freephone 0800 458 4868.


Do not touch any military debris, it may be dangerous.

If you encounter any suspicious objects; mark the area, note the location and inform the Commandant 01837 657210 or police 08452 777444.

thomasdevon

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #6 on: 17:12:58, 17/12/19 »
Planning to make a flying start and get on the north moor again before the weather tomorrow. Full kit. A usual route: Belstone, Taw Marsh, Oke Tor, Knack Mine Ford, Hangingstone Hill. Back the same way.


Or more likely via Okement Hill and the East Okement valley road, an easy and sheltered return route for tired legs.


If weather not closing in too fast and I take the East Okement road may poke about on the old military artillery target tramway between East Mill Tor and the river. Noticed remains of this old feature the other week and wrongly thought it must be just an abandoned artillery road. Unusual. Runs from about 603898 to about 604906.

ninthace

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #7 on: 17:22:34, 17/12/19 »
The railway is still there in fair order.  There is even an engine shed at the west end.
Solvitur Ambulando

Owen

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #8 on: 20:18:08, 17/12/19 »
Your Lynx was probably a Wildcat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AgustaWestland_AW159_Wildcat


Definitely not a Lynx helicopter they went out of service a couple of years ago. I remember when they first came in :-[ .

thomasdevon

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #9 on: 14:30:18, 29/01/20 »
Finally back on Dartmoor - again.


Easy walk this am, full kit, about 3hrs, Belstone to Taw Marsh, across the river up the Small Brook valley, then home. Alright after a lay-off for a month. Moors looked fabulous with light powdering of yesterday's snow still lying.


Route was an alternative as I'd forgotten to check the Army firing calendar - warning flags and some shooting meant unable to ridge along to Oke Tor as planned, but hey ho, a good hike's a good hike. And always better than being stuck in an office.

thomasdevon

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #10 on: 22:26:39, 29/01/20 »
The easy route south from Belstone through Birchy Lake onto Taw Marsh crosses the ruined dry stone wall called Irishman's Wall. This is an obvious feature and runs almost east-west, just south of Belstone Tor.


Crossing says he was reliably informed by a local source that this wall was an attempt to enclose a part of the moor, no doubt for the purposes of securing grazing and possibly mining rights for the landowner from the "commoners". Possibly it was also intended to block and/or control access into the central parts of the moor for such purposes, plus the economically important route for hauling quarried granite out towards Okehampton.


Crossing describes the wall as running west from the Taw as far as the Black-a-ven, where it turns south until it almost reaches the latter's headwaters, where it turns almost east and again strikes the Taw in Steeperton Gorge, just north of Knack Mine Ford.


The Belstone westward section of the wall is obvious, and the Steeperton eastward leg is clearly a ruined wall line. I have not explored up the banks of the Black-a-ven but sections of a wall line alongside the brook are shown on various OS maps.


Apart from forming an enclosure of the rectangular type described, a "newtake" as its called on the moor, its hard to see a reason behind the labour in building this wall. I'm not one to say Crossing was wrong, but what we have now is not one continuous wall but dismembered sections of ruined wall. I like to think its all one structure, but today this is conjecture based on reported hearsay.

thomasdevon

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Re: Back on Dartmoor!
« Reply #11 on: 10:48:43, 30/01/20 »
After crossing Irishman's Wall and still heading south along the Taw valley, a branch of the road loops down to a concreted ford across the river. Wide but shallow at all times of the year. This is called Duckfoot, though its not named on OS maps and I can't locate my source for this. There's a less well defined ford a few yards downstream off the same loop of the river.


The way south-east from the ford skirts the foot of Cosdon. On older OS maps this is marked as Cawsand Hill. This was no doubt a modern cartographer's error, Crossing describes the etymology of Cosdon from at least the 13th century.


At the mouth of the Small Brook valley, the way leads into and through what would have been a reasonable sized settlement, at least up to about 700BC, the end of the Bronze Age. There are remains of several hut circles and three large rounded pounds for livestock. Not easy to see due to vegetation. Hut circles have to be taken cautiously on Dartmoor as amateur archaeologists on previous centuries sometimes go to these and reconstructed them but there's genuinely much more stonework here than would be seen around a tin miners' base camp. Its a shame that the name of the village, if it ever had one, is long lost to us now.


On the opposite side of the brook is Metheral Hill with two striking boundary stones standing near each other. Its a mystery why the lads who put these up thought they needed two boundary stones, these things appear singly everywhere else up there.