Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cornwall Holiday - Day Eight

Day Eight started with a trip across the Tamar to Saltash to meet our 73 year old guide for the day. She has been leading walks on Dartmoor for years and knows the area very well. We'd requested a walk that took in both the landscape and the history. We parked up and headed up Down Tor. This is view from the top back towards the car park (down there somewhere), with the reservoir beyond:

The weather just got better while we were on the moor, and the walking was mostly easy. After about 2 miles we came across this bronze age stone circle and stone path which appears to lead up to some sort of mound, perhaps a burial site:

Our guide had told us we wouldn't find any birds but while walking through some thick brush trying to find some rodding rocks (used to pump air into the mines), we startled a Woodcock which was up and gone before I could swing my camera round! We also encountered Skylarks, Woodlarks and Meadow Pipits, in fact Dartmoor has a large population of ground nesting birds, significantly more than we expected to see. We settled down for a packed lunch by the ruins of a blacksmiths workshop and were munching away when this Red Fox appeared, no more than 10 yards from us. He watched us and we watched him then he pottered away:

The walk carried on into the afternoon past more standing stones, burial mounds, mining ruins and other marks of human activity. The Dartmoor ponies had found a use for one of the stones as least:

We completed an approximately 10 mile loop with the last half a mile across very thick bracken that really punished the feet but it was a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening experience, enhanced by exceptionally calm weather. The skies and landscapes are huge up on the moors:


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