A walk on Dartmoor
Thank you so much for everyones congratulations to my son and daughter in my last post. It was much appreciated. Whenever we visit Devon we always try to have a walk on Dartmoor (one of our National Parks). Depending on the weather it can be either extremely beautiful and peaceful , or very bleak and desolate. The thickest fog we have ever encountered has been here, high up on the moors and was quite frightening to encounter.
It is a landscape of sweeping moorland and craggy granite tors, where you can walk for miles without seeing a road or a tree. In the valleys you will find meandering rivers and streams, some of which are crossed by clapper bridges (an ancient term for a simple bridge consisting of one or more flat slabs over stone piers). The most famous one is at Postbridge pictured above.
There are many legends and stories about Dartmoor with the devil features in many of them. The book "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conran Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes) is based here, as is the book and recent film "War Horse". We walked to Wistman's Wood on our recent visit. It is a fascinating place, one of the last remnants of a primeval forest. The oak trees are extremely old but none is more than 15ft (4.5 metres) tall, some growing out of the rocks and boulders that litter the hillside.
Dartmoor ponies, cattle and sheep roam the moors.
Vixen Tor is one part of the moor that public access is denied. It was fenced off by the current owner in 2003 and many attempts have been made to allow public access. One of the legends is that it was the home of a woman called Vixana who would lure travellers to death in the surrounding boggy ground. Maybe it is just as well you can't get close!
This cross called Windy Post is an ancient waymark ( possibly about 500 years old) on the track from Tavistock to Chagford and Ashburton. For several hundred years pack horses with bales of wool would have come this way.
Unfortunately we missed the Tour of Britain cycle race by a couple of hours as the route passed over the moor. There is lots more I could say about Dartmoor but it will have to wait for another time. If you are interested this short video will give you the spirit of the place far better than me.