Thursday, 30 May 2013

Through Heaven's Gate

My walking companion wanted to go to Becky Falls. He'd seen it in his brand new Dartmoor guide book and was quite insistent.  

I, however, am the inheritor of a long-established prejudice against Becky Falls, born of the fact that you have to pay to go there. 'Plenty of other waterfalls on Dartmoor you can see for free,' my father would say whenever my sister and I asked to go. 'Anyway, it's nothing special.' And his ruling stuck, so much so that as an adult I'd never been either - I'd just caught an illicit glimpse through the trees of the rushing Beckabrook from the public footpath.  

'Ah, you have to pay to see it,' I told my companion. 'Shouldn't be in private ownership. I'm not encouraging them.'

'Says in my book that access is free these days in return for the National Park maintaining the paths,' said my companion smugly.  So off we went.

I decided to wreak a small revenge by starting our walk in Lustleigh Cleave, an area which is always included in the short and easy section of walk books but which is actually steep and arduous.  And he was well and truly lulled into a false sense of security as we passed through Heaven's Gate.


This section of the walk is well-named ...  


... even the cowshit is starred with beetles ...



... though Death is there also.  (Poor Mr Mole, his big spade-like hands forever stilled.)




The hard climb began once we'd crossed the River Bovey via the spanking new footbridge which is probably very very safe but nowhere near as exciting as the old and slippery clam bridge, now blocked off.  



After the scramble up the opposite side of the Cleave, we walked round to Becky Falls.  This is the picture in the guide book, looking down over the bottom half.


And here's the top part.  It probably looks more spectacular when the Beckabrook's higher, but it was still quite impressive, and I was glad to see it at last.  





In the cafe we shared our cream tea with a chaffinch with a bad leg. 








Back in Houndtor Wood the mayflies were making the most of their one day in the sun ... 




We crossed the roughly cobbled and ridiculously picturesque Hisley Bridge and climbed back up through the woods towards Lustleigh.


The views over to Trendlebere Down were coloured a thousand shades of green, and to Ted's great excitement, a huge red doe sprang out of the bushes in front of us and up the track.  Luckily he was on the lead because of it being lambing and nesting season, otherwise I doubt I should have seen him again. 

 Then it was back to the biscuit tin by the sea, tired but ready for another walk the following day.



















1 comment:

  1. These are incredible pictures. Your accompanying words make me feel as though I was on the walk, too. I especially love Heaven's Gate. :)

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