Friday, 27 May 2011

Dartmoor: Down Tor

Little Down Tor, from Down
Little Down from Down Tor

Good to be back on the moor and pleasantly surprised to see the sun out once again! Getting up at 5am for the long drive down to the South-West had paid off, and I had an extra day's walking. Fully kitted out for a night out should it take my fancy, I was off on to the South Moor before midday.

Although it was bright, it was noticeably colder than London, and I was immediately regretting my decision to only bring my one season sleeping bag.

Crazywell Cross
Crazywell Cross

Made my way over familiar waypoints such as Hart and Cramber Tors, south over the Devonport Leat and passed Crazywell Cross, before crossing to Down Tor.

This had potential for a wildcamp spot, water was available before the climb at Newlycombe Lake, although not very close and there seemed to be some lawned patches that might take a tent peg. I would check out the legality of the area when I got home (note: this is not in the permitted wild camping area).

Burrator Reservoir from Down Tor
Burrator Reservoir from Down Tor
Snappers Tor
Snappers Tor
I descended west through low ferns, passed Little Down Tor and Snappers Tor, down to the car park near Burrator Reservoir. Just before the car park, I took a sharp left on a byway that ran south-east along the edge of the Middleworth Plantation to Deancombe. Then south across Narrator Brook, passed a scattering of bluebells, up and out onto the moor once again.

Lane down to Burrator Reservoir car park
Green lane

Leather Tor
Leather Tor
Bluebells
Bluebells

I continued until I met the cycle track and bridleway that ran all the way back to Princetown, via Eylesbarrow Tin Mine, which I took back.

Eylesbarrow Tin Mine
Eylesbarrow Tin Mine
On my way, I thought to revisit the scene of my night navigation cock up way back on my WGL assessment. I found the small cist (Ref: SX 59234 67484) that had proved elusive without a problem, but significantly, my new map of Dartmoor had a path marked that my older one did not. Had the path been marked, I would have followed it to an obvious crossing of the river, instead of trying to over complicate things by taking a bearing from the dubious corner of a disappearing enclosure wall.

Time was marching on. I stopped at the Devonport Leat near Nun's Cross Farm, where it reappears from a tunnel, and replenished my water supply. I then cooked up some couscous with chopped sausage, and finished it with a brew whilst enjoying the last rays of sunshine.

Siwards (Nuns) Cross and Nuns Cross Farm
Siwards (Nuns) Cross and Nuns Cross Farm

I had decided, by now, that I wouldn't be wild camping. Instead, I would check into the campsite at the Plume of Feathers pub. The thought of a couple of pints of Jail Ale was too good to resist!
  • Date: 27/05/11
  • Description: Princetown – Hart Tor – Cramber Tor - Crazywell Cross – Down Tor – Deancombe – Eylesbarrow – Nun’s Cross – Princetown – Sunny, 18km, 7hrs