Editor's Blog

A glorious 15-mile walk across the North Moor

I see that in my last blog (December) I suggested that I might be able to post a little more regularly this year – I also see that hasn’t happened! Apologies… The good news is that the summer issue (number 150) went to print today, and will be arriving through subscribers’ letterboxes at the start of June. Those long-term supporters who missed out on purchasing issue number 1 back in 1985 will be pleased to know that, in celebration of DM150, we’ve produced facsimile print and PDF editions of the first issue (available for purchase: details in the Editor’s Letter of DM150).

I had a real treat on Saturday, on the most glorious warm and sunny day. I joined a small group of friends on a walk across the North Moor, from Belstone to Two Bridges, in celebration of one couple’s 40th wedding anniversary. As you will see from the photos we had perfect weather: bright sunshine and a gentle breeze. We met on Belstone’s Great Green at 8.30am and from there headed up the track through Taw Marsh, with Steeperton Tor looming ever closer.

We headed out of the Taw valley and up to Oke Tor, then followed the track down to Knack Mine ford, once site of a clapper bridge; Knack Mine, just upstream, was worked for tin in the mid 1800s for a couple of decades.

From here we followed the track on to Hangingstone Hill, then picked up the peat pass to Whitehorse Hill. The wording on the stone at the far end of the pass (not the original stone – which was lost, and replaced in 1988) reads: ‘This stone marks a crossing through the peat which may be of use to hunting and cattle men. This crossing was made by Frank Phillpotts who died October 1909…’.

Next port of call was Whitehorse Hill, site of the internationally significant Early Bronze Age burial, discovered in the 1990s and excavated in 2011. I visited three years ago (first photo below 2020; second photo 2023); we were all amazed at how much peat has disappeared in a matter of a few years, and how exposed the cist has become.

Next we visited Quintin’s Man, then stopped for lunch in Little Varracombe, a short way downstream from the source of the North Teign River. Next we passed Statt’s House, said by some to have been a peat-cutter’s shelter. From there we made our way to the wonderful East Dart waterfall: a perfect spot for a swim on a hot day!

We were on home ground now: having crested Broad Down we dropped into pretty Hollowcombe, then ascended up to Higher White Tor. From there it was along the ridge to Longaford and the Littaford Tors, on the ridge above the West Dart River.

Finally we took a look back towards Wistman’s Wood – a wonderful splash of vivid green – before dropping down to the Two Bridges Hotel for a welcome pint.

A fabulous day out – and a lovely way for me to mark the completion of the 150th issue, too!

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