Steep lanes and Narrow bridges of Dartmoor

 More is seen on the Moor in a Morgan

Down beside Bone Hill heading west into Widdecombe a steep narrow lane is entered between two granite posts and bounded each side by boulders and a brook.
The hill on the other side of the valley is a little steeper with few passing places for oncoming traffic.  I carry on by skirting Hammel Down up past Grimspound. Along the way one farm notice warns of “lambs on the road” . Expect the unexpected hazard, ponies wandering free, horses, dogs, sheep and cattle.  It’s time to stop for a pint of Tribute Ale at the Warren House Inn before retracing my steps.
A few years ago there were numerous derelict granite farmsteads around here, forlorn and forgotten but today most have been renovated, acquired by the second home set and often seen are their four wheel drive Porsche Cayennes in metallic anthracite and Landrover Freelanders in Santorini Metallic Black. They vie with supercharged air conditioned tourist coaches deep into sleepy Devon.

At the Warren house Inn many different accents may be heard beside the smouldering log fire, kept burning all year round. Bristolian and Norfolk are my favourites but in these parts one is just as likely to hear Australian.  Time to down that pint.  

Bridges found on Dartmoor are often narrow and single track, some are set beside narrower sister versions as is the case at Two bridges, Merrivale, Postbridge  and Dartmeet. Some are hard to find and lost to view in woodland, others unavoidable and crossed by traffic every day.

One of my favourites is Huckaby over the Dart at Holn.  Another is a little hidden away bridge between Manaton and Bowermans Nose preceded by a farm gate which must be opened and then closed behind you on foot, unless your passenger will do the honours.
Almost always set at the bottom of steep valleys and approached by a sharp bend. The ancient routes on Dartmoor originate from footpaths, trackways and droveways. The clapper bridge shown here is made of slabs of granite on rough shaped piers that serve today as milestones to the past.

Maps (2) – Pin-pointing these locations:

1 Comment

  1. Graham,You've really whet my appetite for another foray onto Dartmoor….I could pick up my 'Hogs Pudding' personally then, instead of getting it via Mail Order!Chris Gleave


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