Sunday 24th February The Walkhampton Plaques

A bitterly cold day with the temperature only just above freezing.  One of the benefits of this is that the mud which seems to have been around for months has been freeze dried.  This make for a pleasant change - it is firm underfoot again!  I started in Walkhampton to visit the mysterious plaques around the village.

Past the Walkhampton Inn and up the footpath that takes you to the church.

As you approach the church a plaque can be seen on on the wall...

...and this is what it says....

I went past the church and followed the footpath through several fields...

...before joining the green lane which leads to....

...the open moor.

I turned right at the gate, went up the hill to the railway line where there is a wooden bridge going over a little stream....

...under the bridge is...

...the next one.

I then followed the railway line back to the Yelverton/Princetown road.  After a while on the left at the bottom of the wall is the next - near bottom left in this photo....

...and this is the view from that spot.

From here I followed the railway track to Peek Hill and then took the road down to Black Brook and returned along the footpath to Walkhampton.

I went through the village and along the road towards Yelverton. Just after the village sign for 'Walkhampton' is this plaque through the gate. 

So that is where four of the plaques are - they have been here for a while and no one seems to know who put them up. All of them have a number on them. The last has the number '5' on it and this suggests that there is another one somewhere - the one numbered '3'.... if you are reading this and you know where it is please leave a comment with the location.  Of course, it is more than possible that number '3' does not exist and this is just some sort of ruse on the part of the person putting them up to keep you looking!

With thanks to my friend Bud who originally showed me where these were.

Wednesday 20th February Great Links Tor

A seriously windy walk where the wind could actually throw you off balance.  In fact the general consensus was that it was one of the windiest walks ever!

From the Fox and Hounds to Nodden  Gate, along the track almost to the points and then up behind and across to Great Links Tor.  Down over Arms Tor to the footbridge and back through the fields to the Fox and Hounds. Exhilarating and good company.

With Mike, John, Jon, Charles and David

Monday 18th February Ducks Pool

A glorious sunny day with a cool wind and perfect walking conditions and an opportunity to visit a place I haven't been to before.  Starting from the car park below Gutter Tor.

Looking across to Sheeps Tor...

...and the track ahead out past the scout hut to Eylesbarrow.

At the site of the Eylesbarrow Tin Min I took the right hand track down towards Plym Ford.  In the distance on the right is Great Gnats' Head which was where I was going.

Looking down across Evil Coombe.

Then past some old mine workings...

...and finally through Plym Ford.

From here a short walk up to the Carin on the top of Great Gnats' Head....

Then across the boggy top towards Ducks' Pool

Just a featureless area of bleak and beautiful remoteness - there are no tors on this part of the southern moor.  This would a difficult area to navigate with a map and compass because there are few features to aim for!

Eventually I came to Ducks' Pool - a boggy depression.

At the north end of this is the memorial stone to William Crossing...

...with the plaque on the stone and the letter box below and Ducks' Pool clearly visible behind

The plaque reads


I got the letterbox out from under the stone

Inside was the current visitors' book with stamp, pens and even a pair of reading glasses! I duly signed the book and put it all back.  The book is full and a replacement is needed.  Now who will do that? 

I couldn't help but wonder what Crossing would make of life on the moor today.  Many aspects of the moor will not have changed at all  since his time a hundred years ago. I think the main difference he would notice is that the many mineworkings he would have been familar with are now all derelict.   And what would he make of the moor walkers today all arriving at the start of their walks in motor cars with modern waterproofs and GPS navigation?

Much more about Crossing here 
I started my return heading South West around the edge of Ducks' Pool... the south east I could see the top of the spoil heap at Red Lake.

I headed over to the tor at Little Gnats's Head (with Lower Hartor Tor and Higher Hartor Tor behind)

Looking across to Evil Coombe again but from the other side.

The view down the Plym valley as the sun was getting lower in the sky.

I crossed the River Plym again just below Lower Hartor Tor... rejoin the track I started out on - Sheeps Tor in the distance....

...and Combeshead Tor and Down Tor to the North

Wednesday 13th February Yes Tor

Very different conditions today, a little milder but with a very, very strong wind.  We set off going down from the car park at Meldon to the old quarry area  where Anne caught us up and...

...into the disused quarry which had apparently been a source of rare minerals...

...nearby is a disused weighbridge with the old scales clearly visible.

Meldon viaduct.

From here we went up the steep bit to Black Down and then headed towards the track running west of  West Mill Tor. 

Yes tor hidden in the clouds.

We followed the track around and behind Yes Tor which took us up to the top. 

On the way up were joined by a couple of other walkers one of whom was Norman - and old Dartmoor Rescue Group  member who I hadn't seen since 1988.  He was on a day trip to Dartmoor with his colleague Matt a chess Grand Master.  

We took a break in a range hut to get out of the strong winds and rain.

Then along the ridge to High Willhays before going down and out of the cloud.  Black Tor came in and out of view.

The plan had been to go over Longstone Hill but Jon wanted to check out an alternative route down the valley between Homerton and Longstone Hill where we found a well worn track past this...

...little waterfall.

Finally we arrived back at the dam which was overflowing nicely.

On to the Fox and Hounds for lunch where we were joined by Norman and Matt.

With Jon and Anne - and on the top Norman and Matt