Whitehorse Hill, Watern Tor and the Manga Rails

It had been nearly a fortnight since my last walk and the lack of space and time was starting to make me grumpy. Walking is the best medicine for me and I needed to get out to some wide open spaces. I had this walk in mind last time I was out, however time meant driving this far across Dartmoor wasn’t possible. Today though I had the time, I just needed to see the space! My last visit to Quintins Man was in early 2017 and it was probably the coldest I have ever felt on a walk, the ground was rock hard, icy, windy and arctic. Today was warmer and sunny, and for October it was very pleasant. The ground underfoot was still very dry, the hot summer is still in evidence on the moor and even Great Varracombe posed little problems. A much needed tramp and I’ve finally crossed the Rails over the North Teign river, considering they’ve been there since the 1780s, its taken me a while!

Start – Fernworthy parking
Route – Sandeman Bridge – Fernworthy Stone Circle – Teignhead Clapper Bridge – Teignhead Farm – Great Varracombe – Quintins Man – Whitehorse Hill – Peat Pass –  Watern Tor – Manga Rock – Manga RailsStone Tor – Fernworthy Forest – Sandeman Bridge
Distance – 8.5 miles    Start time – 10.30am     Time taken –  5hrs 15mins  Highest Point – Whitehorse Hill 602metres
Weather – Sunny, clouding over after Watern Tor

© Crown copyright 2018 Ordnance Survey FL 2018 SF

The sun was out whilst I walked through Fernworthy Forest, These tracks are all easy walking and get you quickly up on to the moor

Fernworthy Stone Circle

Nearly out of the forest now and I look back to Assycombe Hill to the right (covered in trees), with Hameldown, the flat topped hill, in the centre

One of the best reveals on the moor. You pop out of heavily wooded area to this, Teignhead Farm is in the trees over there

Looking north to my right to Cosdon Hill

Teignhead Clapper bridge over the North Teign. I’m heading for the farm in the trees and then out the back of that in Great Varracombe

Teignhead Farm. Well ventilated.

I’ve crossed the area in front of me here. This is Great Varracombe and its a fab place and this is the best view of it, back to Fernworthy

Just up the hill from the last photo is the top of Quintins Man, full of the military outposts and flagpoles, that tell you that this is the edge of the Okehampton Range. Those with a keen eye will see Rough Tor and the mast at Princetown in the distance

The summit shelter looking to Fernworthy. Kes Tor can be seen to the left of the forest

Walking to Whitehorse Hill, this is an easy stroll to 600m asl. The huts on Quintins Man can be seen, backdropped by Ryders Hill

On Whitehorse Hill now, looking to Hangingstone Hill to the right and the high points of Devon to the left, Yes Tor and High Willhays

The dip in the centre is the West Okement valley, with Great Links Tor to the left and Yes Tor and co, right

Typical terrain up in these parts, Fur Tor is left and Hare Tor right. Between here and there is around 4 rivers sources and some of the boggiest ground there is

The peat burial mound on Whitehorse Hill

I was heading down to Watern Tor next so I decided the best route was along the peat pass, a genius cutting through the boggy grassy ground. I’m not sure if his son still keeps this place tidy!!

Whitehorse Hill peat pass

The valley holds the Walla Brook with Watern Tor on the hill over there. Cosdon Hill again sits proudly to the north

The weathered Watern Tor

I thought of a big pile of pancakes at this point and started to get hungry, so I stopped a while, ate some lunch and admired the view to Cosdon Hill from Watern Tor

Having walked back past the huge cairn on Watern Tor I reached this wall, and I was looking at the best way to get down to Manga Rock. A lady stopped with her dog (Kes) and we talked for a while about Dartmoor, walking and the Lake District Wainwrights. This view is her back garden as she lives just under Kes Tor.

Manga Rock, with Kes Tor far right and the Gallaven Mire stretching out in front

Cosdon Hill again from Manga Rock

Manga Rails crossing the North Teign. There are stepping stones along the bottom which make for an easy crossing when the water isn’t high

Stone Tor is part of the wall that leads from Manga Rails. That’s Watern Tor in the distance

Following the wall takes you to Fernworthy Forest with one last look back at Cosdon

A hop over a wall into the forest and then a few steps on to the forest tracks

A few trees in the forest show the actual season at the moment

Back at Sandeman Bridge and the car. A good walk that one.

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