Walking down the River Avon

This continues the blog here of a walk from Shipley Bridge up the Zeal Tor tramway to Western Whitaburrow and back down the Avon to the car.  The view above is from Petre’s Cross at Western Whitaburrow looking towards the barrow at Eastern Whitaburrow (both can have White Barrow in place of Whitaburrow).  The cross marks one of the old tracks across the moors.

Looking east from almost the same spot the view is over the valley of the River Avon.  In the distance is Pupers with the hill on the left being the wonderfully named “Heap of Sinners”!  There is an ancient barrow there too which may explain the name to some degree.  This is another valley with neolithic remains in and the large circles that stand out in the sunlight on the side of the hill were settlements with hut circles from that era in.  To the left of those are some evidence of tinners workings and the faint line running almost horizontally above the circles is an old leat used to carry water from the Avon to a mine in the next valley.

Walking down the hill to the Avon there is a good example of an old clapper bridge which is on the ancient track that the cross further up the hill marks.  This is a fairly isolated part of the moors and we had not seen anyone since we left the car at this point.

There is plenty of wildlife on the moors but it is not often you get very close to it.  The left hand image is of a common frog which we just avoided stepping on as he/she was very still and the right hand image is frog spawn which we saw quite a lot of during the walk.

Further down the valley we reached the reservoir at the Avon dam.  Again the weather was very variable with something looking like rain not far away.  Water levels seemed high after quite a lot of rain since Christmas.

The contrast in the weather from the previous picture is marked and there was only around 5 minutes difference in the time of them.  Behind the dam the sky had been quite grey but a patch of sunlight hit the overflow on the dam wall just as we got to it.  The sound of the water running over was really quite loud.

While we were approaching the northern end of the Avon dam we had company of a sort!  They were around for a while but whether it was a training run or something more important was not clear.

Finally – on the walk back down the private road to the dam there is the remains of an old house close to the road.  There is not much left of the house now but this tree which was on the remains of one of the walls had an “other world” quality to it – I may well head back to try and catch it in better light sometime.  A good walk and hopefully some more excursions on Dartmoor to come.