A spot of Dartmoor netwalking
A couple of weeks ago I indulged in a very pleasant day of what can only be described as ‘netwalking’. Some may look on it as a day off (surely not!) but actually it was a day walk with three friends, all of whom work in the outdoors on Dartmoor, nearly always with groups, and who felt like spending a day walking from Scorriton to Powdermills without that added responsibility. And for me it was the chance to go for a good walk across the South Moor without having to think about where to turn right, or left, or how to get the route directions down on paper!
We parked near the Tradesmans Arms and set off from Scorriton at about 10.15am, then dropped downhill to the pretty little hamlet of Michelcombe.
From there we passed one of the lovely old signposts giving directions to the moor – there are so few of these left these days (hopefully someone will think about restoring them before they fall apart completely).
We ascended towards the moor via the pretty little combe that lies between Great Combe and Michel Combe, emerging into the open and crossing Wheal Emma Leat, with stunning views to the southeast.
We sheltered in some old tin workings on Holne Moor and grabbed a bite to eat before picking up the Sandy Way and heading east. Simon found a piece of brilliant yellow ‘brain fungus’…
We trudged on into the middle of nowhere. Michael wanted to find a small building marked on the OS OL28 map, which turned out to be the ruins of a tinner’s hut near Aune Head… and where we found a lump of the curious substance known as star jelly!
From there we headed north across Ter Hill, then descended steadily towards the River Swincombe with far-reaching views towards Great Mis Tor and Longaford Tor (more familiar ground for me).
We crossed the Swincombe via the Fairy Bridge (complete with fairy – if you know where to look!).
On we went to cross the West Dart below Moorlands Farm. The time was getting on now, and the late afternoon light getting stronger, giving us some fabulous views of Bellever Tor and of the stone-walled fields near Prince Hall.
The final leg saw us crossing the rough ground of Muddilake in the dimpsey (I always lose the path when going from south to north) for our finish at Powdermills.
A lovely route – a little over 11 miles – and a great day ‘off’ (for me at least – there – I said it!) in the company of three valued colleagues: John Diplock from Spirit of Adventure, Simon Dell of Moorland Guides, and DoE instructor Michael Owen. Thank you for letting me tag along!