Hisley Bridge, Lustleigh Cleave and Harton Chest

A trip to the eastern side of Dartmoor this time and a woodland walk through one of the best areas in Devon. Lustleigh Cleave is a fantastic area and I could go on and on about the views from Harton Chest. I went looking for Gradner Rocks this time before dropping down into the valley and following the River Bovey upstream to Horsham Steps. The path along the bottom is very good until just after the Lustleigh Clam it then starts as a bridleway with posts to follow, before disappearing and becoming a rocky, lumpy, boggy trudge through bramble. Once at Horsham Steps the good path returns. Maybe I should have headed uphill towards Manaton before dropping back down further along. Still the walk along the ridge at the end is a great way to end this circuit. I even met another couple on the top of Harton, who were on the summit boulder, enjoying the view. The sun shone for most of the walk and I even got a bit of a tan by the end. A fine day on the eastern side of the moor, I’ll be back to look around one of my favourite areas.

Start – Lustleigh parking
Route – Lower Hisley – Gradner RocksHisley Bridge – Houndtor Wood – Lustleigh ClamHorsham Steps – Foxworthy – Hunters TorFoxworthy Tor – Ravens TorHarton ChestSharpitorHammerslake Tor – Lustleigh parking
Distance – 6 miles    Start time – 11.15am    Time taken – 3hrs 50mins  Highest Point – Hunters Tor ridge 324 metres
Weather – Dry and sunny, quite warm for the time of year

© Crown copyright 2019 Ordnance Survey FL 2019 SF

Starting out by walking back towards Lustleigh along the road. I catch this view northwards along the valley in the direction of North Bovey.

Lots of these fellas out today

Road walking can be a bit monotonous at times, but this was lovely. I now see how I got my tan!!

Looking to the south across the fields around Bovey Tracey

I’ve walked past Lower Hisley farm and I’m just about to reach Gradner Rocks and through the trees you get this view along Lustleigh Cleave

Gradner Rocks kind of sprawl up the hill

One of the larger rocks near the path which make up Gradner Rocks. Looks like the prow of a boat

I’m heading down the path to Hisley Bridge and stop on the seat with a view to Black Hill

Lustleigh Cleave stretches out ahead

A stunning packhorse bridge. Hisley Bridge has been here since the late 18th century

Houndtor Woods, heading for Lustleigh Clam Bridge

The River Bovey

Now this was a bit of a surprise, I wasn’t aware of this bridge. But the Old clam on the left hand side has been in situ for around 130 years now. Its had a few changes of tree trunks over the years. But its brilliant. The health and safety police tried to have it removed, but the locals rightly fought back and whilst they have installed a new wooden bridge to the right. I for one will cross the original way.

I’ve gone a bit off piste now, the bridleway that was signposted has vanished and I’m left dodging some boggy ground with rocks, bramble and fallen trees everywhere. Thankfully this lasted only 20 or so minutes until I reached Horsham Steps. I should have followed the uphill path from the clam bridge and come back down further along the Cleave

Horsham Steps, on one of the lower rocks I spotted a white/black bird before it darted off. A bit of investigation tells me that this was a dipper, reasonably rare but here along the Cleave it can be seen

The boulders that make up Horsham Steps, the river runs through and under the rocks, unless there has been lots of rain then it runs over them

Climbing out of the cleave up to Hunters Tor, I get a view up to Easdon Tor with Cosdon Hill in the far distance

Now on Hunters Tor looking across to Hound Tor and Haytor

Looking to Moretonhampstead and the hills around Mardon Down

Hunters Tor is just over there as I start along the ridge, Easdon Tor left and Cosdon Hill at the back

Above Ravens Tor are these rocks, named Foxworthy Tor, the majority of Ravens Tor is down the hill in the gorse and trees

Easdon Tor above the rocks of Ravens Tor

Harton Chest rock, just to the left through the trees you can see the fella sat on the summit boulder, this put pay to my own hope of a sit there with a brew in hand. I still went through to have a chat

Lustleigh Cleave from Harton Chest, Black Hill up on the right

Hound Tor in the centre of photo

You can see Harton Chest on the right of the photo, poking up from the trees. Manaton Rocks is on the left of photo

Zooming in a bit, the fella is waving back at me!

The top of Sharpitor, most of the rocks of this tor are to the left of this photo but this is a classic framed view of Hound Tor in the distance

Sharpitor and the main outcrops

As you come down the hill you pass more outcrops, some say these are part of Sharpitor, others mark these as separate outcrops, this one is called Hammerslake Tor, just a short walk downhill now to the car at the end of a fabulous walk


6 thoughts on “Hisley Bridge, Lustleigh Cleave and Harton Chest

    • Its a great area, there are multiple paths, parking spots and bridges to make the walk whatever you want. But you’re right the tors are good along his valley and Harton Chest is a great spot

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s changed a lot since I first knew it fifty years ago, when it was much more bare and open and grazed. The trees and brush have certainly grown up a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They’ve started taking some of the trees down in Hisley Wood, as with lots of areas the non native trees are being felled to open it up a bit more. No doubt they will move along the valley over the next 10 years or so.

      Liked by 1 person

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