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A Dartmoor, Devon exploration.

On Monday 17 September a group of 22 members travelled to Devon for a walking holiday on Dartmoor.

The stay was for four nights at a hotel in Bovey Tracy, with walks on all the days including the travelling days, allowing a program of five walks to be completed.

Eugene led the shorter walks, covering more than 40 miles, while Mike led the long walks for more than 55 miles and 7,000ft of ascent.

In general the weather was kind and the visibility good so fine views were had from the high moors. Walks started from Fingle's Bridge, Shipley Bridge, Dunnabridge, Hound Tor and Bullaton Cross and included wooded river valleys, many tors, dismantled tramways, ruined settlements and even an old gunpowder works. For some the highlight was the long, stepping stone crossing of the West Dart River while for others it was the excellent hotel at Bovey Tracey.

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To begin the Dartmoor adventure, the first day's walk started from Fingles Bridgefingles bridge

near Drewsteignton, where we all met after the drive from Malvern.

We set off just before 11 am and completed a 10 mile circular walk in good weather conditions, returning to the start of the walk before driving to the hotel. One of the features of interest on the walk was Castle Drogo

castle drogo

which was passed fairly close by, but due to time limitations was not visited.

The second day's walk, from Shipley Bridge led us to the West Dart river and the stepping stones -

stepping stones

- which provided some fun, as the stones were awkwardly shaped and some were quite far apart; this caused problems for some walkers who ended up wading across. The water was shallow and not too cold so was no real problem, and all eventually arrived safely on the other side. The walk also led us through an area of derelict buildings which were once a gunpowder factory -

gunpowder factory?

- Fortunately there was no trace of any explosives or much else except ponies for that matter.

The third day saw us at Dunnabridge for the start of a walk which later took us across an old clapper bridge -

clapper bridge at buckland ford

called Buckland Ford.

On Thursday the walk began just below Hound Tor to follow a route taking us near to Natsworthy Manor where an energetic carpenter had built a huge chair -

giant's chair

- perhaps hoping to attract a giant? The next item of interest we saw (from a distance) was a huge rock called Bowermans Nose -

bowermans nose

- on the large picture you can see why!! Later on we came to a huge circle of stones -

grimspound

- a famous landmark in the area called Grimspound, which centuries ago was a small settlement, the wall being used to keep the occupants and livestock safe.

The last day's walk was from Bullaton Cross and took us through the famous, picturesque village of Lustleigh -

Lustleigh

- where we stopped for a delightful cuppa and cakes at a little teashop which can be highly recommended. The walk was a lovely ending to a super trip to Dartmoor.

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