Holne, Bench Tor and Gibby Combe Tor

Back from our trip to the Yorkshire Dales and back on Dartmoor for a walk out of the village of Holne. I remember doing this walk the weekend before the very first Covid lock down, and remember seeing very few people and buying beer from the pub at the end to take away in a plastic milk carton. This walk was done in some nice sunny weather with some warmth in the air, probably the first time on a walk in the south west this year. The area down by the River Dart was good, the path can be tricky and there was plenty of water flowing after weeks of rain, the river in particular was in spate. The climb up to Bench Tor from below is always a brutal one, but once on the top there are some lovely views along the valley and across to higher tors around. We then headed across the moor dropping down to Michelcombe to pick up the Dartmoor 365 square and then heading out onto the moor again and into Gibby Combe. The tor in here is pinned in by two brooks, the Gibby Combe Brook and Holy Brook, at the meeting point is this fine tor in the woodland. We then turned and headed out and around to join the River Mardle, we didn’t cross it as there was a fair bit of water coming down, instead we held its bank and followed it downstream to Chalk Ford, the path was a bit scruffy in places but got us to where we needed to be. All that was left was a long lane walk back to Holne, via Scoriton and Holy Brook Bridge. As it was we reached Holne as the pub was closing so missed a pint at the end, we will have to go back and finally have a beer in the pub.

Start – Holne parking

Route – New Bridge – River Dart – Holne Wood waterfallSharrah PoolBench TorNorth TorHolne Moor Leat Bridge – Michelcombe – Gibby Combe TorChalk FordChalk Ford Rocks – Scoriton – Holy Brook Bridge – Holne

Distance – 11 miles    Start time – 10.30am   Time taken – 7hrs 25mins Highest Point – Holy Brook Head 330 metres

Weather – Sunshine and the odd shower

© Crown copyright 2023 Ordnance Survey FL 2023 SF
Holne Church at the start of the walk, the main car park is behind me here and the pub just to my right. There is also a shop and tea room next to the car park, making a thriving village
An ever present on this walk, on banks, roadside, woodland and river side
It is certainly a very small shop, and probably the smallest pottery shop in the world
Views along the River Dart valley, Sharp Tor looking very pointy from here
After walking a road section we cut through this field along a path to reach New Bridge
New Bridge, no need for us to cross over today as we walk the path on this side of the river
Balance and concentration for Linda
The River Dart, you can see a canoeist (is that a word?) on the right hand side in some slack water waiting for a second person to follow
The entry into Sharrah Pool, the water was pounding through here
Turning around it all looks serene, this is the main part of the pool, where many will swim this summer. The water here is running high as there is usually a bit of sandy ground on the right here
After Sharrah Pool we walked steeply uphill through the woods, as you can see from the picture its a steep climb. You pop out of the top, all red face and puffing to this view along the River Dart valley, Sharp Tor again all pointy, back left.
Bench Tor which seems to plunge down to the valley, all the way in the distance is Chinkwell Tor and Honeybag Tor in a bit of sunlight
Bench Tor
On North Tor you get a lovely view along the Dart valley, looking east here
And the other way to Sharp Tor
And behind me is Venford Reservoir, we skirted past this spot today but will visit in the future as its a D365 square. Ryders Hill is back right
Walking across Holne Moor we cross the leat a couple of times which wriggles across this part. We are heading for the path down to Michelcombe
Michelcombe, we’d walked past a couple of lovely houses to this road, before we turned uphill back towards the moor
We had walked up a long lane and out on to the moor, before turning left and following the Gibby Combe brook downhill. The bracken was dead in this section so it was easier to walk here than in the summer. We stand above Gibby Combe Tor here with Gibby Combe brook coming in from the left to meet the Holy Brook from the right. It carries on as the Holy Brook towards Buckfast Abbey
Gibby Combe Tor from below
We had left Gibby Combe and followed the Holy Brook out to its head, then crossed towards the River Mardle, we didn’t cross the Mardle and instead followed a faint path handrailing the river to Chalk Ford
Chalk Ford bridge
Chalk Ford Rocks in the trees
The lane out from Chalk Ford to Scoriton gives some lovely views down towards Buckfast, those with a keen eye will spot the Abbey in the valley down there, just right of centre on the photo
Scoriton pub, The Tradesman’s Arms, it was open, should have gone in as we were too late for the Holne pub
Holy Brook Bridge with the brook below
And back into Holne village, this is a lovely walk, plenty of up and down and finding places which would never appear in any guide book. And for that reason it should be on everyone’s list.

4 thoughts on “Holne, Bench Tor and Gibby Combe Tor

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