South Zeal and South Tawton

This was our first walk after returning from the Lake District and a pure Dartmoor 365 bagging walk, a list ticker! We’d had a lazy morning and eaten some lunch, before heading out to the furthest point away from our home on Dartmoor. South Zeal takes over an hour to get to and if I head this way it normally means a climb to up to Cosdon Hill and the high ground of north Dartmoor. Not today, this was a lanes walk around some of the villages on this side of the moor, through lots of woodlands and trees, it was perfect for the day. On arriving at South Zeal the normal village car park was packed and it was clear that a village fete was in progress, so we headed just up the hill to the huge layby and parked there instead. Of the villages in this area, each one has a bit of magic about it. South Tawton is lovely, a café in the old Church House on the pretty square. Sticklepath has the Finch Foundry, with South Zeal and its pubs and church providing a lovely end to the walk. The message here, maybe don’t always head up to the obvious high places and instead look to have a look lower and around the edges for a walk that will give just as much pleasure.

Start – Belstone parking

Route – South Zeal – Ramsley – Middle Down Tor – Sticklepath – South Tawton – Oxenham Manor – Addiscott Cross – Dishcombe – South Zeal

Distance – 6 miles    Start time – 2.30pm   Time taken – 3hrs  Highest Point – Ramsley 290 metres

Weather – Sunny, white fluffy clouds, warm

© Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
Blue skies over South Zeal as we start the walk, the weather looks good for this walk. We’ve had a decent lunch so started the walk mid afternoon instead of the normal morning start
Further round to the north again the blue skies, the church in South Tawton can be seen left of centre
Heading up through the woods around Rawsley, my youngest is walking fine now after his knee injury on Great Gable
The views north over the fields towards Exmoor where glorious, it was pretty warm across here
A bridge over the River Taw, my youngest has a look upstream, we aren’t heading over the bridge, instead we stay this side and walk into Sticklepath
Sticklepath, the village marker stone is on the right here and Finch’s Foundry is on the left of the road just past the white gable ended house
A Meadow Brown in the hedgerow as we walk towards South Tawton
Lots of butterflies along here including this Large White
Walking the path to South Tawton
Speckled Wood butterfly
We are in South Tawton now, the square is lovely and there is a café in the old Church House to the left of the tree
Leaving the village we hit Tawton mill, to the right of the house here is the old leat which would have powered the mill
4 ways to choose from, we are heading to Oxenham despite my eldest moaning that the quicker route back to the start was to head straight to South Zeal
Through the gaps in the hedges we get views south to Cosdon Hill
Addiscott Cross, another of the Dartmoor 365 squares today which also include Rawsley, Sticklepath and South Tawton.
More fields and blue skies above
White fluffy clouds as we head back down to South Zeal
The last section into South Zeal at the end of a good walk with the boys, the village fete was still running when we got in the area so we just walked up the road and back to the car
The Victorian post box in South Zeal, at the end of this walk I reckon I have around 83 Dartmoor 365 squares to do. Not sure I’ll get them all done but you never know!

4 thoughts on “South Zeal and South Tawton

  1. I believe the cross gets a mention in one of William Crossing’s books on Dartmoor crosses/ Worth seeking out in the original edition.

    Liked by 1 person

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