A contrast to a previous walk – East Dart in Summer

Enjoyable as this walk is it was in part intended as a contrast to a walk I blogged in March 2013 when we walked almost exactly the same way. That in itself is fairly rare these days as we tend not to stick to particular walks or paths. In practice the March 2013 walk was in some snow which continued to fall for quite a while during the walk – conditions this time (June 2014) could not have been more different with full sun for the majority of the walk as well as quite high temperatures.

We left the car at Postbridge and headed up the east bank of the East Dart river. Part way up we headed up a side valley heading slightly north East towards Sittaford Tor and Grey Wethers. Grey Wethers is a pair on ancient stone circles.  as with so many of these sort of features there is a rich folk law surrounding them and there is some more information here on Wikipedia.  The contrast to the weather last time can easily be seen at the top of the blog here.  If I were being totally honest the stones look more interesting (and photogenic) in the snow than the do in the verdant green of Summer however the contrast is worthwhile.  The photograph with the helicopter in in the earlier blog was taken close to the photograph in the centre image above.

In a sense I planned this walk to be a contrast to the previous one however the “plan” was a little loose so I wasn’t quite sure what photographs I’d actually bogged last time and the above shows that quite well.  I’d certainly not remembered that I hadn’t included a picture of Statts house in the previous one so I took one or two this time as it is an interesting remains.  As such the left hand image is one from March 2013 while the other two are from this June.  Statts house is probably the remains of a peat workers hut, in this case in a rather elevated position on Winney’s Down which has considerable peat deposits around it to this day.  It is also quite close to one of the “black lanes” on Dartmoor which are passes through the peat deposits. It seems likely that its relative remoteness has meant that there is more left of the building than is often the case.  There are suggestions that the building was as late as the 19th century however I’ve come across no definitive answers to that.


It was interesting following roughly the same route as in the snow – in practice the ground was easier to negotiate in the snowy conditions mostly as some of the very wet areas were frozen and we had a number of problems crossing the same areas this time (including quite wet feet).  On the 2013 walk we had reached the East Dart fairly close to Kit Rock although we were not absolutely certain we had found it as the snow tended to make everywhere look quite similar.  We got to Kit Rock with far more accuracy this time.  It is one of those strange quirks of Dartmoor naming in that there are large rocks in many parts of Dartmoor that have no name however this one does.  The left hand image is from 2013 so I can now happily say that we were at Kit Rock then – the other images from that time simply show a white mound.

East Dart

We headed south from here following the East Dart back towards Postbridge and I’m simply offering the above image as a contrast to the one in the 2013 post.  This one is taken at almost exactly the same spot as the mostly monochrome image of the East Dart covered in ice in 2013 – what a contrast!

Heading down the river we went through Sandy Hole Pass.  By comparison with the stretch up river this is a relatively narrow defile which has been managed by tinners a long time ago.  The edges of the river are man made to direct the water and on either side there are indications of tinners work.  On the eastern bank there is quite an outcrop of rock which can been seen in the left hand image as well as in the central one which is taken looking back up the river.  The right hand image is of the East Dart at waterfall.  In wet weather this can be quite dramatic (by West Country standards at least) and it certainly was in the snow (that blog is here and shows the waterfall frozen).  From here we headed directly back to Postbridge and the car.  It had been a warm walk but worthwhile and we enjoyed reflecting on the previous walk too.