Holwell Bluebells and Haytor

Well its been a couple of weeks since my last post, not because I haven’t been out walking, far from it, this was down to a laptop failure (daughter board under the power button for those with IT knowledge). Most of my photos have been taken on my camera so I was unable to get them on to another device to upload them. Still this means I have a few brilliant walks to publish, starting with this, a walk through Holwell Lawn and the stunning bluebells. I hadn’t seen too many pictures of the bluebells this year and was worried that my visit might be a flowerless one. However on reaching the top of Black Hill I could clearly see swathes of purple on the opposite side of the valley, I was in luck. This walk also picked up a few Dartmoor 365 squares as well which was a bonus. The weather was mainly cloudy but the views are always good around here and as the schools hadn’t broken up for half term when I did this one, there were only people in the main honey pot sections (around Holwell Lawn and the obvious throngs at Haytor). A good walk and glad I lucked in on the bluebells.

Start – Trendlebere Down parking

Route – Blackslade Manor – Haytor Down Bound Stones – Black HillLower Leighon TorLeighon Tor – Hole RockBecka Brook TorBecka Brook Clapper BridgeGreator Rocks – Holwell Lawn – Holwell Rocks – Hawthorn Rock – Cold Moor TorLittle EmsworthyEmsworthy RocksFitches HoltHaytorHaytor Quarry – Haytor Vale – Owlacombe Burrow Rock

Distance – 7.5 miles    Start time – 10.40am    Time taken – 4hrs 25mins Highest Point – Haytor 454 metres

Weather – Cloudy

© Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
A cloudy visit to Dartmoor this time, reasonably warm and hoping that the bluebells will be out. This is Blackslade Manor, or actually the entrance the old Newhouse Inn a resting place for weary travellers going from Chagford and Ashburton. Top Tor and Pil Tor on the hill behind. I stopped to take a photo of a place I have walked past many times before heading over to park near to Black Hill
And here I am, the long distance views were a bit hazy but the estuary at Teignmouth can be seen from here
I first headed across to the line of boundary stones which head up Black Hill, I walked past 5 or 6 of them on this walk
The views to Haytor. The recent rains of May had left pools of water and the rivers and streams were all running strongly
Smallacombe Rocks a short distance down there and the face of Holwell Quarry and Tor to the left. Neither would be visited today. Across the valley a purple hue signifies the presence of the Holwell bluebells. Behind them is Chinkwell Tor, with Bell Tor the pointy dark triangle sticking up.
The Prince of Wales bound stone and Black Hill rocks behind, time to head that way
Black Hill with Haytor on the left and Rippon Tor to the right of that, I’m heading down in to the valley next to cross the Becka Brook
But not before dropping down to visit Lower Leighon Tor, or at least the upper rocks. I’m looking here across to Hayne Down, with Easdon Tor to the right of Hayne Down and King Tor to the left at the back
The most identifiable rock on Lower Leighon Tor, the rest of the tor runs downhill in the bushes towards the hamlet of Leighon
Looking back towards Leighon Tor up on the left, then Smallacombe Rocks and Holwell Tor . Top Tor is back right
On Leighon Tor now with Hound Tor standing proud across the valley. Now to pick up the path down into the valley
The path starts here at Hole Rock. The purple shades across the valley are coming soon
I got down to Becka Brook Clapper which had a few people taking photos and eating sandwiches, so I headed first along the brook to Becka Brook Tor, I then sat by the brook to grab a coffee and a bite to eat myself
By the time I got back tot he clapper bridge it was clear
The steep path up to Greator Rocks is lined with bluebells as I take a breather and look back to Black Hill
Greator Rocks on the right, Haytor back left
A bit of brighter sky provides a nice view back to Greator Rocks as I enter Holwell Lawn
From the same spot as the last photo, there was a decent carpet of them and the grasses and bracken had yet to overwhelm the little bluebells, another week (into June) and I think the bracken would be too high
Oh yes, another fantastic display and I love that people were keeping to the paths so as not to trample the flowers
A good decision, Haytor provides a fine backdrop to the flowers
Some roadside parking down there on the right gives easy access to this area and the bluebells should you ever need to come. The view across the blooms is to Holwell Rocks, whilst at the back right to left is Rippon Tor, Saddle Tor Holwell Tor and Emsworthy Rocks.
Heading into Emsworthy Mire reserve. I’ve never been this way before but have walked along the Becka Brook at the bottom of this path.
Holwell Rocks
I walked past Hawthorn Rock plus a number of other large outcrops before hitting this planked section of the path
Here are some of the outcrops, there was more behind me here. I also missed the turn off which would have taken me down to Holwell Bridge Boulders, never mind a short distance further and I reached…..
Cold Moor Tor, I then dropped down towards the Becka Brook and hopped across. The ground the other side is very boggy but a bit of hopping, jumping and fancy footwork put me just below the rocks of Little Emsworthy
Little Emsworthy, I had another brew here and looked along the valley with Holwell Tor on the right and Greator Rocks sticking up on the left
Emsworthy Rocks has some huge outcrops however most people head here to photograph the tree, the outcrop and a sunset in the distance
A little further uphill is Fitches Holt and the seat shaped outcrop
From Fitches Holt I headed over to Haytor, here I’m looking back towards Rippon Tor at the back left, Saddle Tor in front of that and Fitches Holt is to the right, I’ve come along that path (right hand side of the V) to here
I walked past a busy Haytor, its always busy but this time it had school groups all around it as it was the last day of school before half term. Here I am at Haytor quarry, plenty of the granite from here went to make London Bridge, British Museum and the National Gallery. It is now being taken back from man by Dartmoor
I’m at the crossroads now looking back up at Haytor, next I head left here down to Haytor Vale, another Dartmoor 365 square
Haytor Vale
The Rock Inn beer garden, it would have been rude not to partake in a refreshment
Walking the lane out of Haytor Vale which took me to the foot Haytor Down
It was a fair old pull up the Owlacombe Burrow Rocks, Black Hill is in the distance which means just a short walk back to the car from here
And one of the bound stones near to Owlacombe Burrow Rocks brings me back nicely to the start and the 5 other stones I passed at the start of the walk. A lovely walk this one with the Holwell Bluebells being the highlight, as they always are. Perfection.

4 thoughts on “Holwell Bluebells and Haytor

  1. The Devon bluebells seem very late appearing. Ours oop here went over a week or two ago, yet I recall the Devon ones always used to be out first. Like it’s all flipped. The Newhouse Inn features in a novel I hope to finish next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very late this year John, we had dry weather for 6 weeks from mid March to the end of April, at no point did it get above 10 degrees here in Plymouth, so colder on the moor. Then most of May was very wet and 10 -12 degrees. I assume it hasn’t been warm enough for them to get going. this week they have been at their best

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb walk, bringing back great memories of my similar walk around there a few years back. The display of bluebells at Holwell is easily the best I’ve ever seen although they are out in an open meadow rather than in woodland as they are up here. A day of seriously heavy thunder and hailstorms I seem to recall. That beer garden looks perfect for a mid walk refresher!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It one of the walks I look forward each year (that and my sunset walk on the western side of Dartmoor which is due soon). There are other spots on Dartmoor, some woodland and a couple of open spots but I like that fact that you can get large patches of purple in the photos, where as in woodland it can get a bit washed out or shortened by trees.

      Liked by 1 person

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