The weeks walking holiday on Dartmoor in Devon came and went all too quickly. My friend Harriet and I booked a cottage on the edge of the infamous National Park back in June and as the weeks and months crawled closer to that date our excitement and an anticipation grew higher and higher. As any one who has read this blog for a while will appreciate, we both love our walks and enjoy nothing better than to haul on our boots and take to the Shropshire Hills. A whole week of perambulation was going to be something else!
The cottage itself was a barn conversion, tucked away in quite literally in the middle of nowhere in a place called Dippertown. The word town is far too optimistic. A huddle of farm houses would be more accurate and this suited our purpose most admirable. To be locked away from every day bustle of normal life was very much the plan, although I would have preferred not to have to walk to the end of the drive to access the tiniest of Internet signal that waxed and waned with the phases of the moon in order to update my Twitter feed.
Most of the walks we engaged in have been covered in the podcasts on the bottom of the page – feel free to have a listen or download for later.
Part of the trip was to look at the possibility of returning at a future date to film a Bald Explorer episode there and I have since been in contact with the Dartmoor National Park Authority to determine all the permissions and hoops that one has to go through in order to be aloud to film professionally. There were extremely helpful and explained the situation. Although there is a right to roam policy on the moors for the average punter, the and is mostly made up from many sections of private land and each needs the owners permission for any commercial media activity. Also, there is the care of the land and wildlife dependent on it and so access has to be vetted from those wishing to bring coach loads of personnel and lorry loads of equipment on to the moors.
Never having been to Dartmoor, for me the best aspect was the beauty of the place and the ever changing weather conditions. At first you get blown away by the shear size of the place. There are few areas in Britain where you can go and walk for miles without seeing a soul or coming across another Human being or town or village. Yet, although Dartmoor is some thing like 250 square miles, you very quickly get a handle on that and after a while distant landmarks, such as the many Tors on the tops of the rolling hills become recognizable and the size actually appears to diminish.
It is no longer an inherently dangerous place these days. The wolves and wild beasts that once might have caused you concern have all disappeared, but with the bogs, the sudden low lying mists, ankle twisting granite boulders strewn all over the shop and the general isolation, it sure can be a challenging environment for the unprepared.
I loved it and although may not be everyone’s idea of a holiday, it was perfect for Harriet and I.