Wandering the valley of the Erme

Time seems to have been passing rather rapidly of late and I’ve not had a longer walk on Dartmoor for some time now.  With summer heading to an end we decided we had to get out for a longer walk.  With the days still longer we decided to start out after lunch and walk on into the evening.  While not the most remote part of the South Moor, the valley of the Erme doesn’t get too many visitors even in summer and that was the case on this walk.  Once away from the car and Piles Copse we saw just two lots of people on the whole walk and one of those was when we were almost back at the car again.  We parked at Harford moor gate and headed north and down into the valley to reach Piles Copse.  This is one of Dartmoor’s ancient oak forests.  We didn’t head into it today but crossed the Erme to head up the west bank.  Hopefully the images above give a flavour of the walk.  It was clear that summer was effectively over on the moors with the grass starting to yellow and the berries on Rowan trees showing up clearly.  The valley holds quite a number of antiquities.  One of the images above shows part of the Stall Moor row and from there we headed up to Erme pound, another antiquity.  The upper part of the Erme really does feel quite remote.  Looking at the time we were surprised – the afternoon had gone already and evening was approaching.  We decided to head east and up to the Redlake tramway and use that as a route back to the car.

The Redlake tramway was used to access the Redlake china clay workings.  These workings closed around 100 years ago however the track itself makes quite a useful walkway into the centre of the south moor.  While hard on the feet compared to moorland, the moorland around it is actually both wet usually and fairly rough.  As the pictures above show the sun was getting lower in the sky and the shadows much longer.  We walking down to the old Left Lake works – again a china clay working with the old pit now a rather attractive pond.  From there the views open up and we enjoyed walking along in the evening light although it was fairly windy.  All in all a very good walk and probably the last longer one for a while due to life etc.  Looking back through these blogs I see I blogged a similar walk in 2013 here which might make for an interesting comparison.