By: Blonde Two

I usually go Dartmoor 365 square collecting with B1 but on Sunday morning Mr B2 and I fancied some fresh air so we packed up lunch, a flask of coffee and chocolate and set off southish for a Dartmoor walk.

We parked at Harford Moor Gate, which I am surprised I haven’t visited before. It was a lovely drive up the winding lane, with the fortuitous advantage of photograph opportunities for two additional squares on the way up.

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

Our main goal was Western Beacon, which sits above Ivybridge and has the honour of being Dartmoor’s most southerly beacon (and tor). From Harford Moor Gate we followed the grass path that leads eastish towards the old (and quite significant) old railway track but skirts quite nicely the top end of Butter Brook (no damp feet so far!)

Upon reaching the track and the most excellent (if a little short) stone row we elected to follow the stone row up onto the ridge and make our return later via the track (the track, at this point, is part of the Two Moors Way). This isn’t the longest stone row on Dartmoor but we were amazed by how much of the distance up to Butterdon Hill it covered. A great navigation tool and a great opportunity for historical supposition because there are cairns aplenty up there.

Butterdon Hill was a tempting lunch spot but we decided to press on to our destination as it was only just over a kilometre (and hardly any hill) away. We had a bit of fun at Black Pool (which was bright green) or rather in the peat puddles around it (which were black) and I regretted leaving my gaiters at home.

Western Beacon must have been a great Beacon spot in its day because you can see a vast expanse of sea and there were even glimpses down to the river at Plymouth. We thoroughly appreciated our picnic despite being surprised at the clarity of the traffic noise from the A38 and enjoyed a mini-exploration of the quarry and (presumably related) building remains.

Our return along the track went smoothly, it is really easy going and Mr B2 (as expected) was keen to return with his bike.

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

With mist starting to drift off the sea, we cut off the track towards the reservoir copse and enjoyed exploring the hut circles and jumping Butter Brook (which was disappointingly made of water and not butter). I even found a possible plunge pool.

We had a lovely afternoon and it reminded me of just how enjoyable exploring a new area of Dartmoor can be. Even if you are just looking for a little hill (334 metres) seeking out new Dartmoor 365 squares gives ample opportunity to practice navigation skills, I even let Mr B2 have a go with the map!