It was my birthday, a Thursday, I had 3 days off work (Wed-Fri) plus the weekend, meaning plenty of scope for walks. However as is the way, home chores pile up, gardening here, flat pack building there and plenty in-between. I decided, looking at the weather that any of Wednesday to Friday would do for a walk and I’ll work around that. If I’m lucky and I finish early on the flat pack then I’ll get out Sunday as well. As it was the flat pack was a nightmare and I ended up with Thursday only. Still I had a plan, head to Okehampton camp, walk over East Hill and up to Winter Tor, then out past Oke Tor to Okement Hill and back over the top of Devon and High Willhays and back to the car. Only you can’t rely on a weather forecast in Britain, mainly because clowns run the forecast (see Surfnslide for confirmation
here). The forecast for Thursday at 11pm on Wednesday night was light cloud and light winds, this was at my location for the walk. Perfect I thought, and off I set for the 1 hour drive to North Dartmoor. I should have gone with my instinct and walked the coast (where as The Stranglers would say is “Always the Sun”). Gutted isn’t the word, I ended up back in the car by midday and eating a pasty at half past. As for my birthday I’ve decreed that I will pick when it is, and it will be a good day for walking for sure!!
Start – East Hill parking
Route – Fitz’s Well and Cross – East Hill – Ashbury Tor – A30 Bridges – East Okement – Chapel Ford – Scarey Tor – Cullever Steps – Okehampton Camp Bridge
Distance – 5.5 miles Start time – 9.30am Time taken – 2hrs 35mins Highest Point – Rowtor parking area 415 metres
Weather – Not what it should have been, lets leave it at that shall we
© Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
Bit of sunshine to start, cloud as it should be on the forecast, light. The cloud is touching the top of West Mill Tor but not Rowtor to its left. No winds to speak of which is nice.
First off is a Dartmoor 365 square which I am clueless as to why I haven’t looked here before as I’ve parked in the same spot at least twice before. This is Fitz’s Well and Cross. the well is covered by the concrete slab behind the cross
East Hill and some sunshine, Okehampton is below
The cloud was playing around Belstone Tor (same height as West Mill Tor so expected) and Cosdon Hill back left
Ashbury Tor, the sun made me stop for a coffee here after walking for 20 minutes at most. Its my birthday after all. Belstone Tor ridge is looking clearer which is promising. Cosdon Hill is in the cloud though back left
I love the walk downhill from Ashbury Tor to the West Okement through the woods. I made good time and had a look at the old railway bridges past the A30 road bridge, this is a Dartmoor 365 spot as well. The bridge here is difficult to photograph due to the trees
West Okement, will see lots of this river from here on
Chapel Ford and a disappointing outlook, the picture doesn’t show the clag that has descended and the drizzle which is falling. This shouldn’t be here (at this point I checked the forecast which had changed to drizzle until 3pm)
I sat at Chapel Ford for 30 minutes, drinking coffee and trying to work out another plan. I hoped the weather would improve, but figured that Winter Tor and then Henry’ Ford would do before heading back. I went for that first. I ignored the original plan of Cleave Tor and headed on a nice slanted path towards Scarey Tor cutting out the Cleave Tor element. Here I’m looking back down to Chapel Ford
Scarey Tor, it had been a damp trudge here, into the breeze and rain, which had me soaked here. In the murk you may be able to make out Winter Tor up to the left, I’d canned that idea by now and headed to Cullever Steps next
Back along the West Okement from Scarey Tor
Cullever Steps, a fine paved path, ford and stepping stones across the West Okement and the Black-a-ven Brook
There is the stepping stones and the West Okement
Marker post and the Cullever Steps below, the water you can see down there is the Black-a-ven Brook
Scarey Tor is to the left and the path over Cullever Steps can be seen over to the right
I’d had enough by this point, I’d walked into the drizzle for an hour at least and I was very wet below my waterproof coat. I have waterproof trousers but not on me today, not in this forecast of light cloud, plus it was 17 degrees and I was sweating in a coat.
Heading down to Okehampton camp
Okehampton Camp bridge, its my name for it because its by the entrance to the camp, Moor Brook flows beneath it. From my right there were two campers who looked wet and had been on the moor overnight, the girl had a balloon which said Happy 30th. I hope she was enjoying the drizzle
East Hill from the car, the walk was over two hours, but I spent a while mulling over options to cut the walk short
Not the same view as I started with. Time to improve the day and head for a good pasty and place to eat it.
Here I’m by the marker stones on the Tavistock to Okehampton road, I’m at SX516827. There are two and the other is just up there past the car. The weather hasn’t improved but I’ve eaten a fine pasty from the Lydford farm shop
Looking from the car over the marker stone over the Lyd Valley. And there ends the birthday walk, not my finest or the walk I wanted, but I’ve picked off 3 Dartmoor 365 squares today. Happy birthday to me, now where is that instruction manual, screwdriver and hammer!!