Walking - Day 2May 10, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 10 °C
Today's Route - Chagford to Widecombe in the Moor
Distance - 21.8km
Beers Earned - 6.7 (each !!!)
Weather - sun, wind, clouds, 5 minutes of hail, 3 minutes of rain
A lot of variety on today's stretch ... villages, meadows, woods, farms, national park, ancient settlements and monuments, bronze age burial barrows and, of course, miles and miles of moors.
The first part of our walk was on the Mariners' Way, reputed to have been the long distance route between Dartmouth (on the south coast) and Bideford (110km away on the north coast). Centuries ago, sailors would travel between the two ports when transferring from one ship to sail on another or when looking for work at either of the ports. It was a very pretty walk with nice views, fields full of fluffy lambs and bluebells in flower but we're pretty sure the ancient sailors weren't ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the scenery like we were.
We crossed the cattle grid into the Dartmoor National Park and followed the instructions in the trail guide ... "leave the road any time after the cattle grid, make your way southwards, avoid the wet ground by the streams". With the moors stretching as far as the eye can see it's a little daunting to just "make your way" but that's what we're here for. There was a trail, of sorts, to follow ... or maybe it was a livestock track ... or just some flat grass ... but the GPS buzzed when it thought we weren't going in the right direction. In some areas deeper into the park there was a definite path so they were the easy bits but others areas were more reliant on the buzzy GPS.
Unfortunately our buzzy friend didn't help identify the marshy, boggy, slippery, muddy bits that look like terra firma but really aren't. Lots of fun to be had slipping around in those sections.
According to the literature, prehistoric remains on Dartmoor date back to the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, including Grimspound which is one of the best preserved Bronze Age enclosures on the moor. The trail guide suggests using ancient remains as way-markers but let's be honest, some of them just look like every other pile of rocks.
One chap we met on the trail told us to look out for the posts across the top of the next high section of the moor. Barbed wire was strung between the posts in WWII to stop the Germans from landing on the flat expanse.
Knowing that more rain falls on the moor than in the surrounding low lands, we expected to get a proper drenching as we crossed the top. Instead we watched as the rain clouds skirted around us and dumped hail on the low lands. Our B&B hosts had lit the fire expecting the arrival of 2 wet and bedraggled guests but we arrived dry and chirpy after a great day of walking.Read more