Back on Dartmoor after a winter of very bad weather

Misty morning

The weather this winter has really not been good for walking as it’s been the wettest for many years. The walking I have done has been nothing like as interesting as I would have hoped for.  A spell of reasonable weather was forecast so we decided to get out and make the most of it. In practice it was very misty when we set off so our hopes were not high. However it was dry which was a great improvement on the past couple of months. As we got to the spot we planned to park it got noticeably brighter so we had our fingers crossed.

Almost as soon as we set off the sun started to break through although the mistiness stayed with us for most of the walk.  We parked close to Grimspound but headed west to walk south down Challacombe.  We passed evidence of tin mining and the old farm buildings at the base of Challacombe have a number of old features.

Heading back up the western side of Challacombe you get a good view of the forestry at Soussons. Quite a large area has been recently cleared as can be seen above. Equally the work was still under way to some degree. Odd trees are left for the benefit of the bird population. Fairly quickly you get back into evidence of tin workings with leats and remains of old buildings clear to see.

Walking on up the valley into open moorland there are a lot more old tinners buildings and workings. The whole Birch Tor area has been intensively worked over centuries.   I’ve blogged this area a time or two before (just use the search box to see others) however this time it was the effects of the gales that caught my attention. Both the trees photographed above show the signs of damage. The monochrome one (made a change! ) had been severely cut back to remove damaged branches and left an intriguing shape. The other tree shows a simple break but the sunlight on it was good.

South west from Birch Tor

We wandered on up the stream through deep workings and were surprised how dry it was. I’ve walked the area many times and at various times of the year and,  given the weather there has been,  I thought it would have been far wetter under foot. Realising just how unfit we were we got to the top of Birch Tor and were happy to sit there enjoying the sunshine and the view while eating some lunch. The walk made me realise just how much I’d missed the moors – fingers crossed for the opportunity to get out again soon.

PS – 1st blog done on a tablet so excuse any errors 🙂