Another Dartmoor mood – walking the West Dart area

Looking up the West Dart

This blog relates to a walk from about a month ago as I have been busy getting ready for the forthcoming exhibition.  The forecast was for better weather as the day progressed so we headed into the centre of the moors parking at Two Bridges.  We walked north up the eastern bank of the West Dart past Wistman’s wood, the ancient stunted oak forest, which can be seen it the photograph above.  Equally the level of visibility is fairly obvious and we hoped that would change.  It was also very cold indeed.

Cros Tor in mist

We crossed over the West Dart when we were approaching the source as it gets pretty wet in that region and headed towards.Rough Tor.  As can be seen the visibility hadn’t improved much – the rock to the left of the red and white range poles is Crow Tor and it is almost possible to see the Beardown tors in the distance.  While we were in one of the military firing ranges at this point (& would be for most of the rest of the walk) we had checked before leaving and the range was not in use for the day.  By this point we had realised that the reason the ground didn’t seem that wet was that it was largely frozen.

Beardown Man

Heading almost due west from Rough Tor across what would have been mostly wet ground if it hadn’t been frozen we reached Beardown Man.  This ancient standing stone is around 3.5 metres high and is in quite an isolated position near the head of the Cowsic (river) and a small tor called Devil’s Tor.  We turned south and stopped at Devil’s Tor for a break.

Beardown tors


The image above is taken from there looking towards the Beardown tors which are rather more visible in this shot that previously although the weather had not really changed significantly.  It was too cold to sit around for long so we started towards the tors.  In the past we have tended to walk the east side and head back into the valley of the West Dart however we decided to go more to the west and walk down the valley of the Cowsic.

Valley of the Cowsic
The image above looks back up the valley of the Cowsic with the Beardown tors on the right of the picture.  As can be seen nothing much had changed since we set off and certainly this was not one of the best walks or the best for photography.  However it does show another all too common Dartmoor mood in terms of visibility and we enjoyed the walk.