Time to head out east. I’ve had a fair few walks recently on the western side of Dartmoor so to balance things out a bit I went around to Moretonhampstead to visit Mardon Down and the many rocks that spring up in this area. You can walk the Dartmoor tors and hills for the rest of your days but you will struggle to see a more impressive outcrop than Blackingstone Rock. It is absolutely huge, look at the area that is grassed over behind the main rock, that is part of it as well. And when you are stood on top the views are pretty good for 350 metres. This is a walk that involves some lanes and walking on tarmac, however the lanes here are quiet and the section from Blackingstone to Heltor and then Heltor to Mardon Down is lovely. I saw deer (too quick for me to photo), robins (a bit of bread brought them out), a Buzzard (sat on a fence post) and finally some sheep (Just look at the picture). All this made for a cracking 7 miles, with the only slight issue being the up and down up Hingston Rocks, where I need to find another way to get off that one!
© Crown copyright 2017 Ordnance Survey FL 2017 SF
I start out looking to a hazy Moretonhampstead as I walk across the base of Mardon Down. I’m looking for the lane down to North Kingwell
Butterdon Hill in the distance as I look back along the road
Took a bit to find this gate, I nearly went into the woods to the right of this, don’t make that mistake!
Past North Kingwell farm and on to the main road at the bottom, I head just short of the corner over there and then hop over a stile to go up to Hingston Rocks
Moretonhampstead from Hingston Rocks
Mardon Down with Butterdon Hill to the left, nice blue skies here on Hingston Rocks
Looking west however the cloud is gathering
I wandered around Hingston Rocks looking for a way out other than my way in. To the east of the hill it looks as though an old path has been blocked which may have linked to a path running up to Pepperdon Rocks. Pepperdon Rocks is straight ahead here.
Pepperdon Farm below from Little Pepperdon
The main part of Pepperdon Down Rocks
Pepperdon Down Rocks on the left with Mardon Down back right
Its a short walk to Blackingstone Rock, with some of the best views in these parts from the top. Mardon Down back right. The sun has gone for now.
Looking the other way you can see how high this rock is. Heltor Rock is the lump sticking up top middle
Blackingstone Rock it also runs across left in the photo under the bracken
Lovely tree tunnel on the way to Heltor Rock
Heltor Rock, the path up is to the right of this photo
Its gone very hazy and grey now as I look back to Blackingstone Rock
Its a bit brighter further east
Following the road to Westcott which is the small hamlet down there in the valley. I’d spoken to a lovely fella just before this photo, who had walked up from his sister’s down in Westcott to get a phone signal. Nothing is easy in these parts!
Holly and a robin, who was eyeing up my sandwich!
These lot followed me across the field. I felt like the Pied Piper. Love how all their ears are sticking up
After a lovely walk past Leigh Farm and uphill along a walled grassy lane I reached Mardon Down again. Blue skies to the north east but that bank of thick cloud is still there
Mardon Down has two parts, the second is over there on the left. Butterdon Hill in the far distance. I’m heading just to the left of that bush/tree towards Headless Cross
Headless Cross with the second part of Mardon Down. The Mardon stone circle is roughly above the standing stone but i passed on that today
The top of Mardon Down is this clearing in a sea of gorse bushes
Looking the other way in the direction of Heltor Rock
Heading down to the car with the sun trying to pierce the thick clouds