Dartmoor: The Tors around Gidleigh
|Artillery gun at the Northmore Arms|
|The Northmore Arms|
|Ancient droving lanes|
Up ahead, we could see a couple working; no harm in asking if it was ok to be here, we thought, but as we approached we were warmly greeted without question, and we continued into the enclosure where the tor is located. I've since found out that, back in 2013, access was restored to the tor and Gidleigh can be visited without the need to trespass.
Now, with only a rough idea of our intended route, we consulted the map and came up with a more concrete plan. Back through the forest to the road, we returned to Gidleigh and took the road east in the direction of Murchington. Hopes were raised when Phil spotted a footpath through Gidleigh Park that could potentially save us at least half an hour, only to be disappointed when we saw it was only accessible to patrons of the Gidleigh Park Hotel. Neither of us were prepared to fork out over a hundred pounds for lunch, so we kept to the road.
We dropped down to Highbury Bridge, where we noticed an unnamed tor hidden in the trees by the roadside, and it proved difficult to photograph. If it were to be named, I figure Highbury Tor would suit.
|Ancient lane down to the North Teign at Leigh|
|Stepping stones across the North Teign, near Leigh|
|Leigh Bridge: where the North and South Teign meet|
|Closest we can get to the Puggiestone|
My attention turned to a tractor labouring high in a field about a kilometre away. The field lay next to private woodland that housed a hidden Coombe Tor. I considered the walk up to ask the landowner if we could enter, but it would have involved trespassing through at least three fields to get to him. A lot of effort for no guarantee of a warm welcome, Coombe Tor would have to wait.
Instead, we returned to Leigh Bridge, with a poor photo of the Puggiestone, through the autumn foliage.
|Puggiestone looking over the fence|
|Unnamed tor near Leigh Bridge|
|Upwards to the moor|
|View from Little Kes Tor|
|Teign-e-ver Clapper Bridge|
|Phil goes for treatment|
|A sit down on Scorhill Tor|
This walk was a real delight; Dartmoor is not just about expansive open moorland, and this route had shown us some beautiful ancient droving lanes, leafy woodland and tempting rivers. In our tor bagging efforts, I was wondering if the objectives off the open moor were going to be a chore with little reward, but I am won over by the more rural areas of the national park. Sure, some of the tors and rocks will not be within our reach because of private land, but I was certainly enjoying travelling through the region. There is always the hope to find them accessible, through a change of heart, like Gidleigh Tor. There is also the hope to come across a friendly landowner to grant permission but more often than not we leave with a semblance of a scheme to either try and gain access in the future, or admit defeat.