Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Lych Way Walk: Dartmoor. Postbridge to Lydford via a bog!

Our most recent Dartmoor Walk took us on the Lych Way, starting just outside of Postbridge and finishing in Lydford (we actually met there and took a hired minibus to the start). The Lych Way, or Way of the Dead, was the route followed by those taking their dead to be buried in the parish church of this part of Dartmoor, Lydford. It cuts across the north-west quadrant of the moor and passes through some pretty wild open moorland.

As might be expected from the recent rains, water was our constant companion, whether in the form of swollen rivers and streams, bogs (more of a particular one later) and just general mud and puddles underfoot. But very little in the way of rain! In fact, for most of the way the conditions were very clear and we were treated to some fantastic views of the surrounding terrain. Our route was almost 'as the crow flies' and included such evocative places as Powdermills, Longaford Tor, Conies Down, Prison Leat, White Barrow and Coffin Wood. It was a good 13 miles but a hard 13 miles due to the conditions (have I mentioned the strong wind?). Despite these, it was a contented group that trooped into the Castle Inn at Lydford at the end and sat down for an excellent post-perambulation repast.

And the reference to a bog at the beginning? One second I was there and the next one I was up to my armpits in water. A sobering experience and a reminder that the moor is not a place to be underestimated. Many thanks to Richard for hauling me out - intact but with dignity slightly dented! No photographs of this mishap are available (which shows our vintage: a younger group would have whipped their mobiles out and posted something on Facebook/YouTube within seconds) but the one shown of a certain Mayor of London will give you the idea of the scene.

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