About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Out in the Wilds

It was hot so I decided to get hotter by going for a 9½-mile walk on Dartmoor, from Shipley Bridge to Red Lake spoil heap and back via the long disused Zeal Tramway, built in 1847 to take peat down off the moor.  It was all right for Ted - as soon as we got going, we passed a deep pool on the River Avon (Aune) which was perfect for a dip.  Not that he was too keen, it has to be said.  Next time I'm passing I'll make sure I have a swimming costume and towel with me.
 After a very early picnic we tramped past the Avon Dam Reservoir, looking startlingly blue, and on up the river to Huntingdon Cross, with our ultimate destination, Red Lake spoil heap, on the skyline.

At this point my walk book said to ford the River Avon, which, although it's summer, was pretty full. I nearly made it too, until I stepped on a particularly rocky rock and fell off into the water. Luckily I only got my feet wet.
I was miffed when I reached the opposite bank to see a clapper bridge about 300 yards upstream!  
We climbed alongside an old mining gert up onto the ridge.  It really felt as if we were in the wilds now, with North Hessary Tor and Great Mis Tor on the horizon.  
Our route became easier as it joined the larger Red Lake Tramway, also long disused. This led us all the way to the spoil heap, where Ted and I had a rest and a drink and I ate an orange.
This is Red Lake China Clay Quarry Pit - a nice place to sit and ruminate.

Then it was time to retrace our steps to Zeal Tramway, and the return journey to the car park.

We made a minor detour to Petre's Cross on Western White Barrow, an ancient burial cairn.

From here there was a good view over to its twin, Eastern White Barrow ...

... and from this nearby marker stone I glimpsed Plymouth Sound.

I didn't expect to run into the Devil at the end of the walk - or old Dewer as he's known in these parts - but he was definitely visible in this dead tree.

Still, we arrived back at the caravan unscathed, if dog tired...


  1. Ooh, I remember that spoil heap! Long ago... saw a newt in the pond, too.

  2. gorgeous pictures! That dead tree did indeed look very devilish! Love the pic of Teddy sleeping off his walk- one of the best things in life is worn out sleeping dog!