Saturday, 10 March 2012

Friday walk - under grey skies we fail to make the falls.

Crossing a miniature clapper bridge.
The Curate and I set off for our walk rather late in the day. The skies were grey and there was little sign of the spring weather that  the weathermen had be talking about. We drove to Postbridge which is famous for its clapper bridge. This type of bridge is unique to Dartmoor and is constructed from granite slabs that straddle the river. They were constructed in the 13th and 14th century by the local tin workers and farmers.  Our walk took us beside the East Dart river and then onto the open moor. This involved crossing the leats and streams that fed into the main river. The Collie would rather wade through the stream rather than cross a bridge but we do get him to use the bridges if we can. 

There was nothing springlike about our walk  - which was a little disappointing. I guess this is because we are so much higher. The colours of the moor make it look a desert at the moment. The grass is still dead and has not started to recover from being covered by the snow blanket. The bilberry bushes and the heather are brown and show little sign of wanting to wake up. Only the occasional gorse bush shone out from the muted moorland colours. 

As we headed out onto the moor we saw that every gate and stile had signs to remind dog owners to keep their dogs under control (1st March -31st July).  There are plenty of lambs lower down on the moor and we have seen the result of dogs chasing and attacking sheep. It is not pleasant. 

The notices reminded us that it will also soon be the bird breeding season on Dartmoor. Skylarks, meadow pipits, curlews and lapwings are just a few of the ground nesting birds that breed on Dartmoor and so we take care to keep The Collie and The Lakeland under control.

We passed the bank of tall  beech trees growing out of the wall. Beech hedges are planted on top of walls today but they are not usually left to grow into a majestic  line of trees like these.

I resorted to using the 'art' setting on my camera because it really was such a drab day especially as the light was fading as well. While this setting brightens up the day it also emphasises the strength of the stone walls  and the bare branches.  

 The path was very boggy in sections.
 and not much fun to walk. We met some delightfully fluffy sheep - I don't know what breed they were but they watched us struggle through the mud with much amusement I think.
The rest of the walk was uneventful  and not as interesting as other walks we have done. We were following the Dart up river and we had intended spotting secret swimming spots for later in the year. We soon realised that this must be an over walked path and any swimming spots would not be very secret! We were aiming for the East Dart waterfall but we decided to turn back as the Lakeland was tiring and the light was fading. 

This is a walk for another day.


  1. Thank you, Harriet! I do so enjoy your posts, with the photos and descriptions of your outdoor adventures.

  2. Another little piece of useful information ... a clapper bridge, which is something completely new to me.
    Love the effect of the "art photo"; that could easily be framed.
    Your photos are delightful:)

  3. Hello Harriet:
    Even though the day was not, perhaps, as you would have wished, there is something rather wonderful in the bleakness of the landscape which you show in your pictures. We had not, until now, realised that those small, stone bridges were, in fact, called clapper bridges. Is that a name typical to the West Country, we wonder?

  4. I too love the art effect photos, Harriet. A new sideline perhaps? :-)

  5. Hello Shirley, Jane and Lance - I can claim clapper bridges are unique to Devon (I think). They are slabs of granite that are laid across a stream or on pillars across a river. They are quite common around here - and until I looked them up, I didn't realise they were unique to Devon.

  6. I would have thought that Dartmoor was at least as far advanced in the season as the Shropshire Hills. I was wrong.

    All the same, this is a splendid walk, mud notwithstanding. is there anything better than to set out into the wide open spaces with your favourite human and animals and see what you come across? Like these very attractive sheep, so clean looking!

  7. Nude Bathing Shock - Curate and his Wife in Skinny Dipping Scandal?

  8. Now Isabelle - did anyone mention nude? Actually might make a good blog post - bet I'd get a lot of hits!