Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Dartmoor: Back to Wistman's Wood

Gorse Flowers

The aim of this walk, which was undertaken in September 2019, was to bag a new tor that was noted as a cave by Rob Naylor on 'Dartefacts' as 'Whortleberry Cave'. I thought I would also revisit Wistman's Wood and some of the tors on the Longaford Ridge, though we may not have picked the best day.

Parked up in the diminutive car park for Wistman's Wood, by Two Bridges, it became apparent for the first time ever that the top strap of my rucksack had fallen off at home, and I stressed because I didn't know what to use until the dog leads came out, and to this day, over a year later, I still use a dog lead!

But anyway, back to the walk... we first passed a gatepost en route to Crockern Farm and then onto Wistman's Wood. The mist began to drop slightly and the slippery granite made for careful progress over the boulders.

Gatepost with Iron Hangar SX 60964 75394

Crockern Farm

Wistman's Wood

Wistman's Wood

Wistman's Wood

Wistman's Wood

At the Buller's Stone, I saw a figure and he said my name. Introducing himself, he said he was called Peter Morrison, and I then knew who he was. Peter is a photographer who spends a fair amount of time taking fabulous photos of Dartmoor and his website can be found here if you would like to pay him a visit; say I sent you 😀

Buller's Stone

Buller's Stone

Passing the detached north copse of Wistman's, we followed sheep tracks after leaving the boulder field to go in search of this 'cave'. It is surprisingly prominent, and it is definitely a small tor with a pleasing layered granite outcrop perched near the bottom of the valley. Although overshadowed by neighbouring heights (yes, that's you, Beardown and Longaford), it possesses its own charm and would not be a popular place to stop off at since the map fails to label anything here.

Rob, who has added the item to Dartefacts, here, has dubbed the feature 'Whortleberry Cave' on account of whortleberry plants growing in the cave, and using this information with no known reference in the literate available, it is a name I am going to accept for the entire outcrop.

Peter Freeman's Square Rock SX 61207 77796

Whortleberry Cave

Whortleberry Cave

Whortleberry Cave

It was a soggy trudge up to Longaford Tor from here, and as we ascended the wind picked up but the tor being so large does a good job at shielding us from one side. We chose, for protection, the little outcrop to the east of the main bulk; this provided us a windbreak.

Longaford Tor Lichen

Longaford Tor

Longaford Tor

Longaford Tor

Heading south, we picked up Little Longaford Tor and stayed there for brief respite as the wind and lashing rain was making this ridge walk tougher than I had envisaged - and it was also getting cold and stopping for too long would put us at risk of hypothermia.

Little Longaford Tor

Little Longaford Tor

Littaford Tors and Little Bee Tor we up next, as they were en route to the car, and what excellent tors these are; just as I remembered them to be. Both are large outcrops that seem to be a little neglected in favour of the higher neighbours up north - but they are great tors in their own rights.

Littaford Tors

Little Bee Tor

Little Bee Tor

At the corner stile, instead of heading due south for Crockern Tor, we headed south-west where I briefly left the footpath in search of a benchmark which I eventually found, taking one photo since surviving this walk was more important.

B.M. 1315.0, just below path SX 61393 76402

Through a pair of gateposts, one of which has its own 'padlock of love', we rejoined the track at Crockern Farm which took us back to the car. Drenched, and feeling the chill, as were the dogs, we all took off our layers and dried off. I do like walks that have a bit of drama in them, but it is also very important to remember that nature will always be victorious should you come ill-prepared and with the wrong kit.

Two Gateposts SX 61238 75824

Love charm on gatepost SX 61238 75824

Two Bridges Quarry Tor

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