Meldon Hill, Chagford and Spinsters Rock

I had planned a week off and was trying to make the best of the week. The weather wasn’t really playing ball and I found myself trying to crowbar walks in between the heavy rain storms or days of rain. This turned out to be the only proper walk I did all week as after this the weather came in for 3 days of heavy rain. This walk however is one I wanted to do, firstly the lanes around here are lined with trees and in the autumn the colours can be brilliant. Secondly those trees can provide a bit of shelter if it did rain and finally I wanted to visit North Park Tor in the woods below Gidleigh Tor. As it was I pretty much covered all three of those, however the rain was extra persistent in the middle of the walk and I got soaked. Still the colours on the trees were good.

Start – Near Weddicott

Route – Meldon Hill – Padley Common – Waye Barton – Hole Farm – Two Moors Way – Yardworthy Farm – South Teign Footbridge – Teigncombe – North Teign Footbridge – Gidleigh Bottom Tor – North Park TorGidleigh Tor – Gidleigh – Highbury Bridge Rocks – Highbury Bridge – Higher Murchington – Chagford Bridge – Chagford – Nattadon TorWeek Down CrossShorter Cross – Middlecott – Shorter Cross – Weddicott

Distance – 12 miles    Start time – 9.45am    Time taken – 6hrs Highest Point – Meldon Hill 390metres

Weather – Sunshine to start, then clouded over and rained heavily before finishing with sun

© Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey FL 2020 SF
First up, as I was in the area, I decided to stop at Spinsters Rock first. I’ve never been here before for some reason
And here it is the classic burial chamber
Now to the start of the walk and I’m heading up to Meldon Hill, that way is Fernworthy Forest
For now the sun is shining nicely and obscuring clear views to Easdon Tor and Hameldown to the right
From the trig on top of Meldon Hill views to Cosdon Beacon
Like nearby Easdon Tor this hill is another with glorious views for very little effort
Heading down now and that’s Chagford village below
Now this is one of the reasons for walking these lanes, the colours are fantastic
Nattadon Tor/Common beyond a field of sheep all looking my way
Approaching Thorn and more fine trees
Passing Hole Farm, a place that was involved in the English Civil War with Roundheads besieged in the grounds
Cosdon Hill and the sun still shining its been a lovely walk so far
I’ll call this place Two Moors meet. Basically the Two Moors Way path splits at this point, go straight on to head out on to Dartmoor proper and places like Birch Tor and Hameldown. Go left up those steps and over a stile to an easier walk through Jurston, Lower Hookner to Widecombe in the Moor and rejoining the other path near to Jordan. I’m doing neither of these as I’m going right to Yardworthy Farm
In the fir trees ahead is the South Teign River which has just left the Fernworthy Resevoir
And here’s the bridge you need to cross the river, again lovely colours here with the sun shining through
Browns and yellow everywhere, with Meldon Hill back left
In the hamlet of Frenchbeer is a sizable turkey farm, I didn’t have the heart to tell them what time of year was coming, although with the recent announcements maybe big turkeys won’t be needed
They all came running over to say hello anyway!!
I decided to head under Middle Tor and Kes Tor, sticking to the Two Moors path, rather than walk over them both. It was a good decision as the rain came heavily at this point. Meldon Hill darkens in the distance and soon would disappear
This was a soggy walk through here. I’ve done well with my overtrousers and walking coat, making them last 6 or 7 years now. But they can’t keep this stuff out anymore. My shoes are held together in places by glue and hope, so they all need replacing really.
I was glad to get here and the rain had stopped, the wind had got up, which at least meant I could dry a little
Meldon Hill was visible again and the colours started to show
I think this woodland is called North Park and South Park, depending on which side of the river you are on. The river in question is the North Teign, which starts up by Quintins Man on Dartmoor and runs past Castle Drogo, picking up the South Teign as it goes to become the River Teign. Its currently down there on my left and I’m south of it which means I’m in South Park, no sign of Cartman but the trees have been lopped totally and it looks as though the north side won’t be long
Another lovely wooden footbridge this time over the North Teign
More lovely colours on this side of the river with plenty of beech trees around the river providing the yellows, the non native trees are a little further up the hill
This is part of Gidleigh Bottom Tor, you can see larger rocks just in the trees to the left, more are out of photo on the right as well. The clearance looks to have moved lots of the boulders from around the tor (or were they part of the tor) and piled them up (about 3 piles in total, only one in shot). Not sure I agree if that’s the case.
Back at the bridge looking out to the tree felled side of the river
More coloured walkways
Looking up through the fir trees you can see North Park Tor. This tor can be seen when the path below turns sharp left and right and heads uphill
It was pretty dark in the woods so most of my photos came out a bit blurred, once I got above however I could get some reasonable shots of the higher outcrops. Again this is a large woodland tor, like those in Shapley Woods
Above North Park woods, and the tor, is Gidleigh Tor and the views across to Kes Tor
The sun comes out and the rainbow shows the rain, which is now heading away
Meldon Hill right and Nattadon Common left, there is a stone bench behind me in the corner by a wall, which I normally stop on for a bite to eat. However those responsible for the diggers and trucks and tree management in this place have knocked it over and the stone is now flat on the ground
Now then, Captain Horns a Plenty is in his field. He’s definitely winning head adornment of the day
Gidleigh Church
There’s a path on the right which takes you down to Gidleigh Park a fine dining restaurant run by one of those TV chefs. I was more interested in the views to East Dartmoor
Highbury Bridge Rocks situated just above….
Highbury Bridge, it was raining again by this point
The plan was to turn right, before Higher Murchington, down a path which takes me to Leigh Bridge and some more fine trees and autumn colour. However the bovine were not moving and I wasn’t sure if the ladies here had young with them, so instead I decided to carry on along the road and drop down another path to Chagford Bridge
Not the easiest bridge to photograph this one, it a 3 arch 16th century bridge over the River Teign, its very narrow and plenty of vehicles had needed to reverse back out
Chagford now, a fine place to stop and grab some food
I had a quick pint in The Globe, as it was the least busy and I got by the fire to dry off a bit
Leaving Chagford and the views across to Cosdon Beacon (back right) open up again
I’m now climbing Nattadon Common, Nattadon Tor is up there on the left and that’s Meldon Hill over there, seas of brown bracken everywhere
At the top of Nattadon the sun comes out again. Chagford can just be seen down there and again Cosdon dominates the distance views
Week Down Cross and blue skies to the east
I’d decided to do an out and back to have a look at these crosses marked on the map and to pick up a couple of Dartmoor 365 squares. This is Shorter Cross, which is a couple of hundred metres beyond Week Down Cross
Middlecott Cross, I could have walked back to the car via Batworthy but I decided to retrace my steps back to Week Down and then the lanes to Weddicott
Last photo of Easdon Tor with unmistakeable Haytor beyond that. A fine walk which confirmed my fears that my waterproofs aren’t waterproof anymore and are beyond any further saving.

11 thoughts on “Meldon Hill, Chagford and Spinsters Rock

  1. Yeah, someone else pointed out the new pond being created at Gidleigh Bottom Tor. I will have to revisit to see if they have ripped it up and it might make ToD history in being the first tor removed because it was destroyed! It would be a shame if none of the tor was left.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There seems to be some big rocks in the trees above, but as it was my first visit I had nothing to compare it against, the piled up rocks are pretty small in comparison to those left in the trees. My guess is they have removed the clitter around the base of the larger outcrops

      Liked by 1 person

      • I sure hope so! Highbury Bridge Rocks is a nice outcrop, one I need to revisit, and I hear of more outcrops to the west of North Park Tor that need investigating. When are you going to have a Foster 600 Tor List?

        Liked by 1 person

      • No 600 list for me, I’ll visit lots more than the 500 I have but I want tors that are of a decent size and that can be walked reasonably easily, so trying to keep the private ones off my list. I have one in Slade Copse which may well come off the list and I need to sanity check all the ones on there to make sure they are both decent outcrops, can be walked by a reasonably fit individual and fit in with a nice walk that I have done. I would say there could be a couple on my list to come off and others I could put on there (Corn Tor is one I want on there). Its keeps me busy and out of trouble if I get time to update it!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, Slade Copse Tor is entirely within a private woodland, although you can bag the southernmost outcrops from the roadside if you peep into the woodland a little, though this is just above the house that usually has dogs so I usually don’t bother. Slade Acre Rock, nearby, is best viewed in winter although I would say that nearby Willmead Tor is slightly better. It is your personal preference, of course, about which tors go in and which ones do not. There’s a cute little tor on Stall Down that might be worth checking out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll be using TOD to work out if I’ve missed any, when doing my sanity check for sure, some of the areas, like Lustleigh, can become a bit overwhelming when looking at tors. It might be a project for lockdown 2

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pleased to see access has been restored to Gidleigh Tor. I used to walk this area a lot in my teens, catching the bus from Teignmouth, via Newton Abbot to Chagford. Those days when you’d rarely see another walker.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Its still private in theory, but the path runs about 100 metres from it, with no signs to say its private. There is rarely work going on in the woodland and there’s a clear vehicle track to the tor and back to the walking path

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll still be out walking, I will drive a short distance and walk and return. I’ve set 30 mins as the guide to driving. The thing is National Trust properties are open and as you are allowed to drive to visit things that are open then that means a 30 minute drive shouldn’t be a problem

      Liked by 1 person

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