Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Saturday walk around Burrator

Where on Dartmoor can you find three Rajahs, evidence of bull fighting, a holy well, the setting for some scenes from War Horse, two ancient granite crosses and a Pua Kumbu? Sheepstor, that's where and we passed through it on our 8 mile walk on Saturday just gone. And guess what? We had blue skies, sunshine and fantastic visibility all the way around.  Here's the route:

*  We started at the Quarry Car Park just before Burrator Reservoir and from there we headed down the footpath to Meavy, crossing Drake's Leat (taking moorland water to Plymouth since 1650 or thereabouts) on the way.
*  From Meavy we negotiated the stepping stones over the River Meavy and headed to Sheepstor, via Yeo Farm and the Bluebell bedecked Burrator Wood. Not quite at their prime but not far off.
* Sheepstor is an interesting place.  A village in name but really no more than a small hamlet. It's strange that three generations of the Brooke family, the last Rajahs of Borneo, are buried in the graveyard. On the church walls hangs a large Pua Kumbu, a ceremonial blanket from that part of the world. In a field next to the church are the remains of a bull fighting ring in the shape of a granite block with an inset iron ring to which the bull was tethered. The War Horse connection? Several scenes were filmed around Sheepstor but, but all accounts, you'll need to really know the area to be able to recognise them.
*  From the hamlet, we ascended Sheepstor itself by the most direct (and steep) route.  But the view from the top was worth the effort. A full panorama, with views stretching as far as the Eddystone Lighthouse, maybe 25 miles away. It's not often that we are able to see this far.
*  From the top we dropped down acrossYellowmead Down and walked along the Deanscombe Valley to Norsworthy Bridge. From there it was a short climb up to the Devonport Leat, which contoured more or less back to our starting point. It was ice creams all around when we reached the end. A hot walk but a good one. Is this the start of the warmer weather when thermal underwear and waterproofs are abandoned for a while? Probably not!

Just to show that we do get blue skies sometimes.

Bluebells and moss covered rocks in Burrator Woods. And no Spanish interlopers in sight.

The spire of Sheepstor church.

The view from the top of Sheepstor towards Sharpitor and Hessary Tor in the distance.

From Sheepstor looking down on Burrator Reservoir.

Note the carefully placed pile of litter to the right. Why, oh, why do people do this?

After 8 miles, an ice cream is well deserved.

And just to show that I'm not losing it completely, one style and two correct feet.

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