Thursday, 4 February 2016

Chagford break: two walks

I've written about seven bridges and five churches around Chagford; now it's time to describe the main reason for our January break - two walks.  
The first walk started in the lee of Kes Tor at Batworthy and was a circular route that took us to the Long Stone on Shovel Down, across the North Teigh to Scorhill Circle and Buttern Tor, then to Wonson and Gidleigh and back to our starting point. Our guide book said it was 7.5 miles, my GPS logged it around 8.5 and it felt like around 10. But it didn't rain.
Kes Tor. Our guide book said "head for the nipple" and that's what we did. We didn't make any boobs with our directions and managed to keep abreast of the route instructions.
The Long Stone on Shovel Common. About 3 meters in height and associated with a number of stone rows that converge on this monolith. Exact age unknown but estimated to be around 5000 years. It's also known as the Three Lads because its side are engraved with the three parishes it forms the boundary of - DC (Duchy of Cornwall) which can just be made out on this side, GD for Gidleigh and C for Chagford.
Lots of archaeology on Shovel Down and here are two double stone rows, one directly ahead and the other veering off to the right. With hut circles to the right of us and hut circles to the left off us, we bravely strode on into the Valley of the Teign.
The stone row that veers off to the right in the photograph above. At one end of it was a circle of stones - a hut, perhaps, or something of ritual significance?
The Tolmen Boulder on the banks of the North Teign. Formed by erosion, one myth claims that anyone who does manage to pass through the hole will have immunity from all rheumatic disorders. We didn't try as the river was in full spate and we're not daft enough to risk falling in. And, besides, our aching joints wouldn't let us be so acrobatic. Oooh, maybe we missed a trick.
Scorhill Circle, one of the largest on this part of the moor. Despite the lens flare, I think this photograph gives a feel for its surrounds.
A bit of rubbish wall building. It would have taken just as much effort to lay the stones properly. Only 3/10, I'm afraid.
Unexpected findings by the wayside Part XXV: why a coffee jug in the hedgerow? A minimalist café? A branch of Starbuck's perhaps?
Since the passing of the anti-smoking laws, 'smoking stations' of varying degrees of grandeur and comfort have sprung up outside of pubs. Here, at the Northcote Arms in Wonson, a delightfully rural solution has been found. A few old chairs and a tatty table place in a horse box. I wonder if anyone has thought of closing the doors when the smokers are in full puff, driving them to a remote spot on the moor and leaving them there?
Unexpected findings by the wayside Part XXVI: a gert big gun. It was pointed at Cornwall.
The route of our second walk. From Fingle Bridge and up one side of the Teign and down the other. Four miles of level walking and a nice contrast to the previous day's exertions.
In its heighday, nearby Castle Drogo used the power of the River Teign to generate electricity through a turbine. I liked the contrasting colours and textures of this sluice gate machinery.
Navelwort or Umbilicus rupestris. Very, very common in damp places and obviously finds a bed of moss to its liking. The fleshy leaves are nice to nibble on if you fancy a snack whilst out on a walk.
A grinning tree. Happy that it wasn't raining, perhaps?
I've mentioned, in a previous post,  the 'Teign Spirit' outdoor art installations along the river. They are still there and just as evocative on the second/third viewing as they were on the first. This is the one entitled 'The Mill'. A fire destroyed nearby Fingle Mill in 1894. The photograph depicts the scene as if it has just happened, with the miller's wife and children having escaped the fire.  
A rubbish photograph of a goldcrest, our smallest native bird. Its yellow crest can just be made out. It was a fidgety little devil and that's the best I could do before it flew off.

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