Editor's Blog

A review of 2019 on Dartmoor – Part One

It’s dark and a bit damp and dismal, and it’s Christmas Day tomorrow – so a good opportunity to combine my ‘Happy Christmas and all the best for 2020 and thank you so much for supporting Dartmoor Magazine!’ message with a look back at sunnier and brighter times! It’s encouraging – having had unusually wet weather over the last few weeks – to look back over my photographs and remind myself what fantastic weather we had earlier in the year (and no doubt will again). The header photo was taken in February on a pretty perfect winter’s day. Part One of this blog overs January to June 2019; I’ll go through the rest of 2019 in a week or two.

JANUARY and a wonderful walk from Georgeham in North Devon and out to Baggy Point on a commission for Exmoor Magazine.

FEBRUARY Exmoor Magazine again – and a circular route from Barnstaple which explored the historic village of Pilton. I remember the wind was absolutely freezing! The Haytor image was taken on a walk with Dr Phil Newman to look at granite features in the quarry and along the Granite Tramway. The third photo (it’s February – and people are wearing T-shirts! – was on the Plymouth Search & Rescue Group‘s fundraising Postbridge Challenge walk, heading for Longaford Tor.

MARCH I started my involvement with the Dartmoor Way walking route, which has now been signed and will be launched at the end of May 2020 (I’ll be writing the guidebook in 2020 too). The first photo shows Blackaton Cross (Shaugh Bridge to Ivybridge section) and the next the route heading towards Sourton church (Okehampton to Lydford). It’s going to be a fabulous walk (108 miles around the edge of the moor, with a High Moor link). The third photo is St Pancras church, Widecombe – I’d gone to take photos of Anthony (Tony) Beard’s grave for the book about his life we published in September (written by his wife Wendy, with help from me).

APRIL At the end of April some of my Scottish hillwalking friends descended on Dartmoor! We did a couple of long walks – I try to defeat them with mileage, since I can’t compete in terms of ascent – the first of which (from home) took us up to Hunter’s Tor and above Lustleigh Cleave. Fabulous bluebells, as usual. The third photo was taken on the Dartmoor Way High Moor link, looking back to Sharp Tor above the Dart valley.

MAY So much happened this month! Firstly there was Lustleigh May Day – Cogs & Wheels Ladies’ Morris in full flow. Next is a photo of the River Dart at Hembury Woods – you’ll find the circular walk in the spring 2020 issue of Dartmoor Magazine. Then there was the Ten Tors Challenge, which enjoyed great weather (we’ll be marking 6o years of the event in the spring issue). We also went out on the final day to watch the teams coming in – the fourth photo was taken by Black-a-ven Brook, looking back to the Belstone Tors. We ended that walk at the lovely Old School Tearoom in Belstone (final photo). And the other photo was taken at Cranmere Pool, and shows two descendants of James Perrott signing and stamping and creating memories (for the full story see the winter issue of DM).

JUNE On the first weekend in June we took the Dartmoor Magazine gazebo to the lovely Coombe Trenchard English Country Garden Festival – the first of our shows in 2019. The next photo was taken during the Dartmoor Access Forum (I’m a member) trip to Corringdon Farm. We went out on the moor to look at increasing vegetation coverage, and the effect on access – I can’t remember what the DNPA’s Kevin Bishop was saying at the time this photo was taken, but it would make a good caption competition! The final photo is here just because it’s lovely – looking towards Meldon Hill – and reminds me that warm, light and sunny weather will soon be back again.

So to finish let me repeat my opening comments – Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, and many, many thanks for your continued support.