A cold day walking Birch Tor and Hameldon area

This blog relates to a recent walk around the Birch Tor/Hameldon area of Dartmoor.  Again there have been numerous hits on the blog regarding snow on the moors, this one shows that there has been some snow fall but not much is now left.

Cold morning near Grimspound

We started off from just below Grimspound and headed out past Headland Warren house going west.  The one above was the view from where we left the car.  It was early and the temperature was around -2/-3 however there were indications that we would get some sun as the day went on.

Overlooking Headland Warren house

Looking back from just above Headland Warren farm house the mistiness of the valley in the early morning appealed.  If it were not so misty Grimspound itself would be seen on the far hillside and the area has many remains of tin mining both on the sides of this valley and in the area more generally.

West from Birch Tor

We walked on over the ridge and down through the Vitifer/Golden Dagger mine workings and then headed into the forestry there for a while.  I’ve walked the area a while ago as can be seen in this blog and this one.  When we emerged from the trees we headed back through the mine workings and headed for Birch Tor.  The image above is the view to the west.

The expanse of winter on Dartmoor

My photography has developed over the years and regular readers of this blog (thanks!) will know I am a fan of the work of Ansell Adams.  I feel that the one above captures something of his work illustrating the expanse of a wilder place on a great day in winter.  Taken again from Birch Tor looking roughly south west.

From Birch Tor we headed east to the ridge of Hameldon.  En route we passed evidence of the recent weather.  The frozen pond – one of many we saw – shows just how cold it has been and still was up there.  The ground in many places was rock hard.  The snow was in the lea of the wall on Hameldon and both on the ridge and looking north on the north moor there was evidence of quite a bit of snow in small patches.  From this walk it does seem likely that the higher parts of the moor may have had a few centimetres of snow recently but the lower areas seem to have none at all left.


We walked all the length of Hameldon before returning to the car via Grimspound.  The icicles above were on the stream that runs near the ancient settlement and its presence was one of the reason for the location of the settlement.  We were amazed that in some places there was a film of ice over the running water.

It had been a great walk on a lovely (if very cold) day.  The day before I had been to the funeral of a friend who died too young so I’ll dedicate this walk and the images to your memory Cindy.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face

Not my words but an Irish blessing as one was read at her funeral