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Dartmoor Walks. Fingle Bridge to Castle Drogo. The Drogo Estate offers some of the most dramatic walks in Devon with breathtaking views over the Teign as the River tumbles through a boulder strewn wooded valley on it's way to the sea at Teignmouth. One such, a circular walk of just over 3 miles, is from Fingle Bridge following the River upstream to just beyond Drewe's Weir- you may be very lucky and catch the silver flash of a leaping salmon in autumn- hence alongside the high wall of the deer park and across the footbridge.
Lustleigh Cleave 3 miles. A nice walk taking in some of the better known Dartmoor Tors. Park in the lane above Lustleigh (SX 774 815). Take the footpath up the hill into woodland. Where the path splits take the Upper Path, which after a steep climb emerges high above the River Bovey. Continue along the ridge, taking in the views over Lustleigh Cleave, the River and woodland below you. At the end of the ridge is Hunters Tor and the Ancient Hill Fort, follow the path down to the right and then take the dog leg left to Peck Farm, and return to you car along the path on the Lower Slopes of the Wood.
Burrator Reservoir, from a walk, more a hike onto Sheepstor with good views across the Lake to low level walks some on road around the Dam. A delight at any time of year. The roar of water crashing down the dam crest after heavy rain. Rustle of leaves under foot maybe crisp winter sunshine overhead. Did you know that Burrator Reservoir was constructed 1893-98 and enlarged 1923-28 to its present capacity of 1026 million gallons?
There is then a choice of route, either a high level climb to the Castle or a lower level walk downstream along the north bank of the River and return back to Fingle. During one walk on a blustery January afternoon we heard green and greater spotted woodpeckers, the loud croak of a raven high overhead and the shrill pip pip of a dipper, we even watched in awe a small herd of deer as they sheltered in a hollow from the rain showers. Taking a detour we admired the mesmerizing swirls of one of five so distinctive sculptures of Peter Randall-Page that are dotted around the valley. Some paths are steep, often muddy rocky and slippery particularly in winter- so take care. Along at least 3 hours.
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Dartmoor Walks: Brat Tor 2 and half miles. Happily not mentioned by many of the Guide Books- a nonetheless delightful walk across the Western Edge of the Moor, crossing the upper reaches River Lyd tumbling through granite boulders, before climbing to Brat Tor topped by Widgery Cross with all round views. The Car Park is some 200 yards up a rough unmarked track by the Dartmoor Inn on the A386 8 miles north of Tavistock. From the Car Park, follow a track NE for half a mile until the River Lyd is reached. A nice spot for a picnic with only sheep and skylarks for company. Cross the Lyd at the Bridge. Brat Tor is in front of you.
You may glimpse, high in the woods behind you, Magpie Viaduct built of Staffordshire blue brick in 1909- the viaduct offers far reaching views north across the Moor. A shorter delightful walk is from Bedford Bridge Car Park, up onto the Viaduct, west along the former track bed down the long zig zag path, (not suitable for cyclists or horses) to the River Walkham and hence return to the Car Park. With the NCN route 27 being assembled more and more of off road stretches of the Devon Coast to Coast are being opened to the walker. In February 2008 a stunning steel bridge was lowered into place to cross the Tavy, a few miles away on the eastern outskirts of Tavistock. (The stretch between Tavistock and Clearbrook will be promoted as Drake’s Trail once it is fully open.)
Walking on Dartmoor
Treat the Moor as the unspoilt wilderness it is. Wear proper clothing and footwear, take waterproofs, a map and a compass. Tell someone you can trust your route and expected return time before you set out. Check the weather forecast. Close gates behind you. Don't leave litter. Keeps dogs on a lead.
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Walking on Dartmoor