This walk was an attempt to tick off a number of Dartmoor 365 squares as far away from home as it gets on Darrtmoor for me. The 3 squares of Blackaller Quarry, Drewsteignton and Greystone are full Dartmoor 365 squares with Crockenwell and Cheriton Bishop being a couple of bonus squares. I also managed to pull over on the drive home and collect another couple of squares that are easier done as a drive by, particularly as I’ve probably driven past Wray Barton around a dozen times now! Castle Drogo seemed like an obvious place to park and start, however if I was to do it again I would start in Drewsteignton (decent sized car park there and signposted in the village) mainly as the pub is fantastic and the walk back to Castle Drogo involved a steep climb which wasn’t great after a pint. Should have finished there instead. The walk involves lots of fantastic green rolling countryside and this is one that could be altered in many different ways, I’ve already had a look and I would probably omit Blackaller Quarry and Cheriton Bishop, heading out from Drewsteignton to Crockenwell before turning south to Coombe Hall and then possible Clifford or Fingle Bridge, or maybe both and on through Whiddon Wood and up to Castle Drogo. So many options here when you look into it, and something I probably wouldn’t look at if it hadn’t been for the Dartmoor 365 book. On top of that this walk had wildlife galore, a herd of deer, the usual hedgerow birds, buzzards and two barn owls flying out of a metal barn near Coombe Hall, I was so stunned by the latter of these that I just stood there open mouthed, saying the words barn owls over and over, as they flew away into the distance and missed getting a photo of them.
Start – Castle Drogo parking
Route – Blackaller Quarry – Drewsteignton – Greystone – Crockernwell – Cheriton Bishop – Lower Eggbeer Farm – Coombe Hall – Burrow Farm – Drewsteignton – Rectory Wood – Sharp Tor – Castle Drogo – Drewston – Wray Barton
Distance – 10 miles Start time – 10.15am Time taken – 4hrs 45mins Highest Point – Castle Drogo 265 metres
Weather – Plenty of sunshine, clouded over a bit in the afternoon
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
Setting out along the driveway into Castle Drogo I get this opening across to the eastern side of Dartmoor with Hameldown and Shipley Tor in view. Frost on the ground in the shady areas
Drewsteignton looking lovely from here
I was trying to get out of the direct sunlight to take a picture of the driveway entrance to Castle Drogo, this is the best I could do
I circled around the Blackaller quarry, following the paths, in the low sun it wasn’t easy to take a pic from any angle. It was originally used as a limestone quarry in the 18th/19th centuries but now supplies the odd bit of road aggregate from a different part if the quarry, the old section is clearly overgrown now
The old lime kilns
I think I’d lost the actual path and ended up at the entrance to the new part of the quarry, luckily it was Sunday and no one was here, I hopped the gate on to the road and continued the way I planned into Drewsteignton
My exit from the quarry was up from the road on my right here, the is a path that was was trying to follow which comes out further down the road on the right than my exit. Looking at these two signs there is a path that seems to loop around the pool which is the flooded old quarry, I followed lots of it on the other side (south west side) and this part shown may well give you an other path around the north eastern side
Drewsteignton church, the bells were ringing here, a bit like last weeks walk through Stoke Fleming
I followed a path out from Drewsteignton to this glorious view of blue skies and rolling hills, and to my left was………..
these lovely Roe Deer, I’d circled around them here and they were all aware of my presence as they were staring right at me
Frosty fields into the sun as I head for Greystone
Greystone Cross and the farm behind
More of those rolling hills as I head to Crockenwell
Looking towards the area holding Clifford Bridge and the edge of Dartmoor
Bit of cloud starting to build however it wouldn’t take over the sky and sunshine was in order all the way around today
Wasn’t aware of this route, as it says 271 miles on horseback (21 of them) in 37 hours!!
The walk from Crockenwell to Cheriton Bishop was along a busy road, however I made it safely and sat here for a break and looked back over the restored cross to a distant Cosdon Beacon
Rolling hills and Cosdon Beacon at the back as I head for Eggbeer farms
It was lovely walking along here
At the Lower Eggbeer farm I took this bridle path opposite that heads towards Coombe Hall
More lovely scenery, the path drops into the trees and then crosses at the bottom of that green field on the right. In between is a stream with a bridge to cross and then a nice wooded path
I’ve come from Lower Eggbeer and I’m heading right here to Coombe Hall
A lovely path to Coombe Hall, at the end of this path don’t take the right hand option as that will take you up to Crockenwell again, instead cross a stream and head back on yourself for a short section then right with Coombe Hall on your right behind a hedge
The white building is Coombe Hall as I look back, down there next to this tarmac path is a red metal barn which had two beautiful barn owls in, or at least they were in there until I got about 10 metres from the barn, and they then flew out the front and away. I stood there mouth open cursing my lack of activity with a camera and marvelling at the size of their wingspan
Apparently it is forbidden to walk on the lawns as I head into Burrow farm!
I was carrying a couple of quid so was ok if I had left the gate open, which of course I didn’t
This is obviously a placed boulder by the farm, however it does sit on top of a rounded lump of ground which has some protruding rock at it rear, a bit like an emerging tor. Maybe in another 10,000 years it might be out enough to make my list! I headed down and to the right here and followed a path into the trees below which was exceptionally muddy, before rising up the other side and into Drewsteignton along the same path as my outward journey, again I saw my herd of deer but they had moved to a field which is above the boulder on this photo
Drewsteignton, the church and pub are close together, there was a closed restaurant behind me and a shop/post office. A perfect village and a decent pint in the pub.
That’s Drewsteignton over there and I was regretting the pint after a drop down and steep climb up to this point, which puts me back at the highest point of the walk, I should have looked better at the map and paid attention to the contours! Should have started and finished in the village. To get here I’d followed the path through Rectory Wood which is part of the Two Moors Way
This is the Hunters path out of Castle Drogo which traverses high above the Teign gorge, the river Teign is at the bottom obviously and ahead is Sharp Tor
Sharp Tor looking east along the gorge
Castle Drogo in view on the right here, this was a lovely way to finish the walk with a bit of drama. Dartmoor proper is in the distance
To finish into the sun and a view to Meldon Hill, Hameldown and Kes Tor over on the right is the dimple sticking up. A perfect walk of good weather and some fine rolling hills to walk through.
On the way back I drove through Drewston to tick off this square
The apple crusher base which is in the 365 book
A bit nearer to home I passed Wray Barton for what seems like at least a dozen times and stopped. i took a look at the old railway line below the bridge
And also looked across at Wray Manor whilst standing on the bridge. After this I headed home after a good day of ticking off some outlying D365 squares.