Thursday, 16 July 2009

A Day On Dartmoor

It seemed strange to be on the Moor without a dog bounding around which is why I suppose it has been so long since we last went. For many years it was our favourite place to take the dogs who loved the freedom to roam and dive in and out of the river Dart.
This time we went with two good friends and I chose a relatively easy walk for this first time.

We parked at Dartmeet and started off up the cart track into the wood. On our right was a pond covered in white flowers.

imageI have never seen them before and assume they are wild water lilies but I could not get close enough to really see them clearly. They had very pointed petals and probably only 3 – not sure. Here is a photo which looks like white butterflies sitting on the water.

image On leaving the pond we crossed over a common and into a small woodland. I was delighted to find some late bluebells still flowering and the smell was simply lovely.The path led us on to the river which was flowing very fast over the boulders and crashing onto the pebble beaches.


The trees were coming into bud, little bright green shoots promising full cover in a few weeks time. From here the path became very uneven and I had difficulty walking despite having resurrected my Timberland walking boots from the bottom of my cupboard. Problem solved quite easily by finding a stout stick which gave me confidence to carry on. For some reason I have this idiotic fear of falling and, at times, find it very difficult to take that next step. Stupid! However, when the path disappeared up an almost vertical bank I suggested we make our way back to civilisation.
This is a circular route and we followed the river bank back to the common.


We passed some ponies grazing leisurely completely oblivious of our presence and they didn’t mind sharing their paddock with loads of moles by the look of it!
We passed a man with two dogs – one a pointer, who loved the water and a red setter – who didn’t. That brought back so many memories of our dogs as we also had one who loved the water and another who was very wary. Sophie would bound off as soon as we opened the car boot, heading for the nearest stretch of water whereas Sam was happy to walk beside us.

P1000640 Sam on the moor in August 2006. His last visit.

I remember one day when Sophie took off; we weren’t worried until we got to the river bank and saw how fast the water was flowing. Fabulous if you had a canoe and a crash helmet but extremely dangerous otherwise. She was nowhere to be seen and we did fear the worse. We ran down the river calling her and looking anxiously in every nook & cranny & then we spotted her – letting the current take her into the bank where the water flowed more slowly and she scrambled out to safety. One of many times that she gave us cause for concern.

We made it back to the car, took our lunch out of the boot and picnicked by the river. Nothing special but very enjoyable out in the fresh air and the sun warming our bodies.

After lunch a short drive on to Widdecombe and we stopped at The Rugglestone Inn.

image What a fabulous pub made all the better (according to Mike & Barry) because they sell Real Ale. I loved the setting, a gentle stream runs through the property and the walls were covered with wisteria.

imageMany years ago there was not really a bar, just an open window where you asked for your drinks. It isn’t much bigger now inside but the landlord has made the best of the outside with ample seating for those wanting to eat and there were cockerels, ducks and geese walking around enjoying the scraps.
A home cooked menu of locally sourced produce is extensive and offers a broad range for all tastes. Examples include filled jacket potatoes from £3.25 and fresh fish and meat dishes from £7.95.
The bar is well stocked with real ales, farm cider and a comprehensive wine list. The real ales are served straight from the barrel and include a different guest beer every weekend.
After a lovely day on the moor we set off for home vowing to return as soon as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Wish I could have been on this walk Jean - it sounded heavenly. Dartmeet was where I almost drowned at age 3 - fell head first into the Dart off those big boulders along the bank!

    The pub looks lovely, not familiar with that one. Have to get there next trip!

    Thanks so much for finding the moth - isn't it a beauty?


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