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For a change of scenery this week, we’re pleased to welcome Fi Darby and Lucy Atkins of Two Blondes Walking as they kindly share a bit about their favourite place to walk in Dartmoor.
My name is Fi Darby and, with my pal Lucy Atkins, I am one half of the UK blogging duo Two Blondes Walking. We have been blogging every day since October 2012 and enjoying the outdoors together for much longer than that.
All of our favourite walks are on Dartmoor but we particularly love to venture out of Princetown, along the South Hessary Tor track (great tor to climb), past Nun’s Cross Farm (spooky at night) and out along the Devonport Leat. Along the leat we enjoy setting ourselves little navigation challenges and sometimes stopping for a quick swim in the mysterious Crazywell Pool. Once we have visited the point at which the leat tumbles across the River Meavy via an aqueduct, we usually return to South Hessary Tor across the moor via Cramber Tor and the trig point. This section is always a proper work out as it includes some tussocky ground and the odd section of bog.
We love this walk on a sunny winter’s day. Even from the well-used South Hessary Tor track you get a great impression of Dartmoor’s wilder side. The moorland section between the aqueduct and South Hessary Tor can be boggy in the winter so some care and navigation skills are needed.
We would allow 4 hours for this trek because it offers so many exploration opportunities. The path from Princetown to South Hessary Tor is fairly easy (although there is a more accessible walk along the old railway track from Princetown, which is a great option for pushchairs or robust wheelchairs). It is also fairly easy to follow the Devonport Leat but we would always recommend taking a map and compass, especially if you are planning to explore Crazywell Pool or the moorland section (which includes some pretty rough terrain).
We love this trek because we have done it in all weathers, at all times of the year and fairly often at night. It is a map-readers dream because there are so many Dartmoor artefacts to find along the way. Ancient crosses, secret tunnels, boundary stones and stone footbridges all count as Dartmoor treasure to us. If you want to get a glimpse of the history of Dartmoor in one walk, this is the trek for you.
Parking in Princetown is easy in the public car park and you will need £2 for the day. We would always recommend Fox Tor Café for daytime snacks (Fox Tor is a proper muddy boots, walkers’ café) and The Plume of Feathers for its pies and ale at dinnertime. Princetown offers a campsite at The Plume of Feathers and three bunkhouses. Our favourite bunkhouse is at Fox Tor Café (and very conveniently placed for breakfast).
Many thanks, ladies!
PS. from Fi: If you are interested in learning to navigate using a map and compass or have need of some help with blog writing or website copy, please feel free to get in touch with Fi at Two Blondes Walking or Fi Darby Freelance. We live in Devon but are happy to write about just about anything and anywhere, and we believe that we can teach anyone to navigate.