The question “what is your favourite…?” is usually both difficult and thought provoking. The idea of a favourite place on Dartmoor is a little odd for me as Dartmoor is a favourite place. However – if pushed – I might well come up with this area of the moors. It is not the easiest to get to so maybe that is part of the reason as I rarely get there but when I do I am immediately reminded of just how attractive this moorland basin of the North Teign river is.
Leaving the car at Scorhill – the roads are to there not for the faint hearted – you walk onto the moors via an old “drift lane” and the rowan trees were laden with berries (I wonder what the winter will be like). The track leads to Scorhill stone circle, an ancient stone circle, but we were not planning to visit that today.
We headed north west (roughly) towards Little Hound Tor. While the start of the morning had been sunny the weather changed quite quickly and became cloudy. Having started walking in T shirts we needed an extra layer on as the weather changed. The photograph above is taken looking south (and a little west) on the track to Little Hound Tor and looks over the basin. Watern Tor – see below – can be seen on the right.
Stopping at Little Hound Tor for a drink I took the photograph above. It looks roughly west and the high point in the distance is Yes Tor the second highest point on Dartmoor (& in southern England). The play of light and the clouds on the hills was striking. We headed south west along the ridge past Wild Tor towards Hangingstone Hill.
At the base of Hangingstone Hill we turned east and headed towards Watern Tor. The structure of the granite is particularly pronounced here and, overlooking the Teign basin, it is a well defined tor.
Watern Tor is quite special in that it has an “opening” through the tor. The left hand image above shows that gap in the tor clearly while the right hand image is simply some detail of the granite structure of the tor. The views to the east over the river basin are stunning however the scale is just too great to capture in a conventional image. I do have some stitched panoramas however even they are too big to show effectively here sadly.
We walked back down the valley of the Walla Brook which has it source close to Watern Tor. It really is quite a small stream however it was only a few years ago that a young person was killed crossing the stream during a Ten Tors event when it was in flood after exceptionally heavy rains, a contrast to the image of the stream above. The combination of the gorse, the heather and the light on the blue water meant we sat for a while with a drink simply watching the scene.
The ground by the confluence of the North Teign and the Walla Brook is basically wet and boggy. However I’ve not had any real difficulties in the past getting from the Walla Brook to the track that is at the confluence. This day was rather different and we found it hard to strike the track without getting our boots rather wet. The image on the left is of the clapper bridge over the Teign and looks east. The right hand image is over the single span clapper bridge over the Walla Brook. To say that it is a very large slab of rock would be an under estimate! The work put in to such constructions when the only power available was “man power” is a testament to the importance of some of the ancient Dartmoor tracks.