Up the Cowsic and down the West Dart

I had a day to myself on Dartmoor, so I decided to return to an area that I have not visited for a few years. I like the remote areas of Dartmoor for, as I have said earlier in my blog, moorland gives me space to think and breathe. People and problems are soon left behind and the Moor fills your life. The strange thing is, it seems those things are more quickly left behind if you set off from a popular area of Dartmoor.

The walk I had planned involved setting off from the quarry carpark at Two Bridges, walking up the Cowsic River onto Beardown Tor, on to Lydford Tor, Devils Tor and Beardown Man, Rough Tor, Browne's House, and then above the upper West Dart river to Higher White Tor, Longaford Tor, Crockern Tor, Wistman's Wood and then back to to Two Bridges. Not a huge walk by any means, probably less than 10 miles, but plenty of archaeological interest with the tall menhir of Beardown Man and the remains of Browne's House. It was a beautiful spring morning at 8.30 am, warm enough to forego a mid layer. Although threatening clouds did dominate the day from about 10.45, it didn't rain.

Looking from Beardown Tor towards Lydford Tor, Devil's Tor and Rough Tor

Beardown Man.
Beardown Man is a tall menhir, the storm clouds began to threaten but the rain never came. I liked the way the split in the clouds adds an appropriate atmosphere to this scene.

Browne's House.
The story is that Browne, a farmer, had an attractive young wife. He was a jealous man who built his house in this remote part of the Moor in order to keep her away from the unwelcome attentions of other men! Just this ancient gatepost and a pile of rocks is all that remains of Browne's House.

A fellow traveller.
A wild Dartmoor pony grazing on Lower White Tor. It seems shameful that these hardy creatures have little apparent value and are are often destined for the Belgian meat trade or end up as dog food.

Higher White Tor from Langaford Tor.
Looking back at my route onto the ridge above the West Dart.

Longaford Tor.
The top of Longaford Tor makes a great viewpoint on a clear day like this. You can even pick up a short scramble to the top. This rock caught my eye. It reminded me of my sea kayak riding a swell.

Crockern Tor.
The ancient site of the Devon Stannary Parliament where the price of tin was fixed. Tin was extracted for many centuries on Dartmoor and around the South West of England.

Wistman's Wood.
Wistman's Wood is a jewel in the crown of Dartmoor. It is a remnant of the ancient oak forest that once covered the Moor. It is atmospheric at any time. Sit quietly for a few moments and it doesn't take much imagination to be transported into a Tolkienesque world. The stunted, twisted oaks and rocks are covered in lichens, ferns and mosses. There are rare and delicate plants all around. If you visit Wistman's Wood, please treat it with the respect and consideration it deserves.

All images were taken on a Nikon D3 and 14-24mm lens.