Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hallowe'en on Dartmoor

A late gig followed by a 5am wake up call and I found myself heading to Devon without my lovely anti-arthritis pillow and, more alarmingly, my extensive library of Dartmoor walking books.  'Never mind,' said my companion, 'you can buy one in the Tourist Information Centre in Postbridge'.  Except that when we got there, I discovered that I already owned all of them and baulked at paying £8 for a duplicate.  So we'd be making it up as we went along.  

First, though, a coffee in the East Dart Hotel and a visit to the bridges over a rather full looking river ... 


... and the pleasure of a chance encounter with copies of my novel, Dart, on sale in the post office, right in the middle of the moor and a few miles from where the story is set, in Hexworthy. (Apparently it's been a bit of a best seller in Postbridge this year.)


Then on up the road for a couple of miles where we parked near the pub and set out over Water Hill, which soon turned out to be very well named.  


Sloshiness notwithstanding, there were some grand views in all directions, back the way we'd come (such colours!) ... 


... and looking ahead to Meldon Hill near Chagford. 


 And given that the walk was of an ad hoc nature, it was great to come across the standing stone and very well preserved double stone row on Hurston Ridge.  





The top end of the stone row.


The end stone.


We headed for the drift lane past Metherall on the edge of Fernworthy Forest, the general murkiness of the day proving to be quite photogenic.  


After stopping for a time to watch a kestrel hovering against a background of darkly dripping conifers, we headed down the lane off the moor, Meldon Hill now less than a mile away.  


Then we mountaineered over a stile and negotiated the signposting around Lower and Higher Shapley, before heading back up onto the moor at Hurston.  


At times it was quite hair-raising with fields of cows to cross with Ted (Ted does not like cows) and paths that were more like rivers, complete with waterfalls.  It would appear to have rained a lot on Dartmoor lately.  


Back on the moor we leapt Hurston Water in a feat of derring-do, only to discover that the swollen stream was flowing right alongside the wall below the aptly named Lakeland and we had to cross back over again.  





Eventually we managed to cross it for a third time and gain some higher, drier ground.  


It was a bit rainy from time to time but still very beautiful in a wuthering sort of way.  



We hit the road at  Bennett's Cross, which dates from the 13th century and is one of my favourites.


 View of Cosdon Hill and Kestor Rock.   



And then up ahead loomed the welcome sight of the pub, the third highest - and reputedly the loneliest - in England.  


It being Hallowe'en, we were relieved to see that despite having a spiffy new pub sign, it still goes by its old familiar name of the Warren House Inn, rather than the Slaughtered Lamb.   
Let's take a closer look ... ah yes, the Three Hares. Welcome to Dartmoor!







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