A Dartmoor walk with a difference… on the Delicious Drake's Trail
I’ve been doing a lot of walking this month. A three-day then a two-day stint (Lynmouth to Widecombe completed so far) on the Two Moors Way/Devon Coast to Coast route; and last Sunday 12 miles on the South Moor from Powdermills to Duck’s Pool to our finish near Nun’s Cross. It’s a bit addictive – but what better way to explore this beautiful area during this stunning autumn?
And at the start of the month I took part in the Delicious Drake’s Trail event, when more than 250 people ran (a few, including me, walked!) from Tavistock to the Moorland Garden Hotel, enjoying samples of delicious local food and drink en route – and raising more than £3000 for the CHICKS charity, based at Brentor. We published a feature about this wonderfully organised initiative in our autumn (current) issue, and I wanted to experience it for myself. The day surpassed all my expectations.
Pre-race treats were enjoyed at Tavistock Sports Centre, courtesy of Riverford Home Delivery, Midfields Granola, Trewithen Dairy and Plymouth Tea. A lovely run/walk along the canal took us to the Bedford Hotel and Buck’s Fizz and lemon drizzle cake: not bad for 9.45am!
From there we trotted along to Whitchurch Down for more refreshment courtesy of the Royal Oak Meavy’s mobile ‘Moor Bars’. Next came the Whitchurch Inn, after which we picked up the Drake’s Trail multi-use route, from which we diverted for a mini cream tea at Drake’s Cafe at Grenofen. I should add (for those who are wondering) that the dressing-up theme for this year’s event was ‘Your favourite Olympic sporting hero’… (hence Scottish caber tossers below).
On along the Drake’s Trail and over Gem Bridge, then up onto Roborough Down (beautiful in the autumn sunshine) for a pop-up cafe provided by Moor T @ Long Ash Garden Centre.
From there we took a lovely route to the Garden House where we enjoyed both lavender biscuits and the wonderful herbaceous borders… then on to the Drake Manor Inn at Buckland Monachorum. The penultimate stop was for apple cake at Buckland Abbey, before we dropped down into Milton Coombe to find The Who’d Have Thought It (where several participants ‘cracked’ and downed a swift pint or two – see header photo!).
The final pull was the toughest: uphill via fields and some pretty muddy ground to the Moorland Garden Hotel, where a food festival was in full swing.
Kate Treleaven is the inspiration behind DDT ‘where trail running and food festivals collide’. It’s a fantastic way for people to get out into a beautiful part of Devon, explore new paths, enjoy samples of excellent local food and drink and have fun – and raise money for a very worthy cause. Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on this year’s event, and to all venues and producers who took part. I walked 11 miles in the company of a very nice couple from West Somerset (he dressed as a member of the England women’s hockey team, naturally) and found some new linking paths which will help in future route planning.
I’m already looking forward to next year and planning what to wear… and in terms of Dartmoor Magazine blog posts about walking, normal service will be resumed next time!