One of the joys of wandering the moors these days is the fact that we rarely plan where will will go and, after starting a walk, we often have little idea of the actual route we will take. Having got to know the moors over many years and in many conditions it is great to just wander these days. We had walked up the Redlake tramway (long disused) when we reached this spot. It is Leftlake and is the remains of a pit where china clay was extracted many years ago. It is a pleasant spot for a break and I’ve seen otters there in the past. Today there were some duck on the water and some fish below it. The plan had we had one would have been to head in the direction this photo shows, over Three Barrows and back down the ridge. We decided to head west down to the Erme instead.
There is a stream down to the Erme from Leftlake which we both had followed before. However around half way down the rather steep slope we realised we had not taken that exact line in the past and came across this lovely (& somewhat hidden) waterfall. It was probably about 3 metres high and running well given recent rain.
We dropped steeply down to the River Erme already quite wide here. The above photo has at least one rain spot on and from here on we were in showers as often as sunshine (& at times both at the same time!). Again the river is running well after heavy rains overnight and the previous day.
The east bank of the Erme is not the easiest to walk along, the ground being steep and quite rough. We were quite pleased to see Piles Copse come into view as we knew there was a reasonable track from there heading part of the way back.
Piles Copse is one of three fairly remote copses of stunted oaks which are on Dartmoor. They are the remains of ancient forests which covered much of the area. Piles Copse is also one of the SSSIs in Devon. There is something quite “other worldly” about these places – stunted oaks among moss covered boulders with many lichens around. From here we rose steeply out of the valley of the Erme heading loosely for Harford Moor gate.
As I said at the start one of the joys is random wandering these days – you never quite know what you might find no matter how familiar you think you are with the moors. Having already “found” a waterfall, coming across the kistvaen above was an unexpected bonus. These were ancient burial sites with the body usually placed in a contracted position in the box like opening seen in foreground and slightly right of centre. There are quite a number of these on the moors and, while I’ve seen better, this is a well preserved one which I don’t recall seeing in the past.
This final shot was actually taken earlier in the day from the Redlake tramway and looks down on the valley of the Erme. We had not intended to head that way when I took the shot but it had been a good walk with some interesting features seen. Piles Copse is in the centre of the picture.