Dartmoor Forest Perambulation Part Two: Belstone to Runnage

The last thing you want to do after a full breakfast in the Tors Pub is tackle a climb, but it had to be done if we were going to be successful in completing the Dartmoor Perambulation. Leaving Belstone, we dropped down into the cleave, crossed the Taw, then began the ascent to Boundary Mark #10: Cosdon Hill (COSDONNE).

Day 2: Check map (need a breather)
Check map (need a breather!)

It took the best part of an hour, with plenty of stops to check the map (aka as taking a breather), but once up at the beacon, I knew the hardest climb of the day was done and dusted.

day-2-simon-at-the-trig-point_13508691924_o
Simon at the trig point on Cosdon
Day 2: Honestly we didnt pose for this
Honestly we didn’t pose for this

Passing Little Hound Tor and the White Moor Stone Circle, the path was easy going to Boundary Mark #11: Hound Tor (HUNDETORRE). This is a small outcrop, significant only by its inclusion as part of the 1240 perambulation. 

Day 2: procession along South Tawton Common
Procession along South Tawton Common

We dropped down to Gallaven Mire, for a break, then on to the Wallabrook crossing at the foot of Watern Tor. By now we were past masters at traversing water courses! We climbed up to Boundary Mark #12: Watern Tor (THURLSTONE). This is one of my favourite tors!

Day 2: Through the Thirlstone
Through the Thirlstone
Day 2: Watern Tor
Watern Tor

Over a ladder stile, and into an enclosure, it was here, I could point out the route we would be taking, to those that were interested. A descent over Hew Down to Boundary Mark #13: Hugh Lake Foot (WOTESBROKELAKESFOTE). We had to go through a herd of cattle, to the dismay of Catherine who was using her hands to blinker the sight!

Day 2: Hew Down looking across the North Teign
Hew Down looking across the North Teign

There was a handy “railing” over the stones that made light of the crossing of the North Teign River. It was then a pull up, hand-railing a wall to the top of Stonetor Hill.

Day 2: crossing the North Teign
Crossing the North Teign
Day 2: Following the wall over Stonetor Hill
Following the wall over Stonetor Hill

From Stonetor, the route to Boundary Mark #14: Shoveldown Longstone (HEIGHSTONE) wasn’t obvious to anyone else but me, and the constant “Are we nearly there yet?” was beginning to grate a little.

Day 2: Longstone
Longstone

Once we had climbed up onto Thornworthy Tor for lunch, and I mentioned it was an hour from the reservoir to the Warren House Inn, everyone perked up a bit. We made our way around Fernworthy Reservoir; something our twelve knights would not have had to do, and came out of the car park by our next Boundary Mark #15: The Heath Stone (LANGESTONE). Hard to imagine how this area must have been to choose this lump of rock as significant, and reading Michael Hedges’ book “Walking The Forest Bounds of Dartmoor”, he evens questions the choice and locations of the boundary marks from Hugh Lake Foot to King’s Oven!

Still bouyed by the prospect of a pub over Chagford Common, I figured that before our next to boundary points a slight detour was in order. Through the long grass we went to the Double Stone Row on Hurston Ridge. I turned to them, expecting them to see their faces lit up in appreciation but was met with a look that I’d seen the day before near Steng-a-Tor; better get to the pub quickly!

Day 2: Hurston Ridge double stone row
Hurston Ridge Double Stone Row

But first, up onto Boundary Mark #16: Hurston Ridge (TURBARY OF ALBERYSHEDE). As I mentioned the exact mark is open to debate, with little to see in the way of a definable stone or landmark.

We then moved on to Boundary Mark #17: King’s Oven (FURNUM REGIS). When looking at an Ordnance Survey map, this is wrongly named and the destination you need to head for is the cairn on Water Hill. Which we did.

Day 2: Troops rallied by news of a pub nearby
Troops ralied by news of a pub nearby

Everyone perked up when the pub was in sight and, once bagging Boundary Mark #18: Wallabrook Head (WALLEBROKESHEDE), by the road, we side stepped into the Warren House Inn.

Day 2: Warren House Inn
Warren House Inn

It was then that I announced that tomorrows weather forecast was grim. Knowing the pitfalls and perils of the route back to Princetown, I took the decision to postpone the next day. I wanted to rest up for the day, as the weather was only a twenty-four hour problem, but Simon and Catherine had not made allowances for any delays and had to be home. We would have to return another day, to complete the last section.

Day 2: Cheers
Cheers!

So, we stayed for a couple more, then got some takeaway Badger Ales (surprising how much room you can find in your rucksack in an emergency!) and we headed down to our camping barn accommodation at Runnage Farm before we lost the light.

Published by Moorland Walker

Paul is a backpacker, tor bagger, Bibbulmun Track End to Ender and West Ham supporter. He moved down from London to live in Okehampton in 2016, after realising he was spending most of his weekends on Dartmoor and it just made sense to make it permanent!

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