By: Blonde One

After not seeing Little Miss Blonde and Dartmoor for such a long time it was the perfect day when the two were combined on a fabulous walk starting from the tiny hamlet of Harford on the south moor. It was one of those glorious sunny days when Dartmoor was showing itself in all its glory. The temperature wasn’t too hot, due to the cool breeze, but it was warm enough to be able to feel the need for a little lunch time paddle in the Erme river. We decided we would try to combine our walk with bagging some of the Dartmoor 365 squares since this has been a bit slow lately! It was definitely a successful walk on all fronts!

We walked north from the small Harford Moor Gate car park at grid reference SX 643 595 and headed for Piles Copse so that we could have a shaded lunch stop. The information board as we entered the enclosed area gave us information regarding this area’s SSSI status. We decided that in the post-COVID future we would return here after seeking permission and camp overnight. It seemed like the perfect spot! Once we had got down to the river we sat for a while and had lunch. The river was low enough to cross easily but I would imagine in the winter after heavy rain it would be a bit tricky at the point where we crossed. We sat, 2 meters apart, and paddled our feet and enjoyed the peace and beauty of this area. The water was cold and refreshing and the lunch was tasty.

After we had finished our lunch we stayed on the west of the river Erme and followed the easy going track which headed north towards Downing’s House at SX 639 629. At this point we left the track to head uphill in a south westerly direction. You might wonder why we went so far north before starting uphill? If you look at the contour lines (the orange wavy ones) on the map you will see that at the tinner’s hut they are a bit further apart, showing that the hill is less steep. Since it was a hot day we didn’t want to be tackling a very steep hill! This is the part of the walk that definitely needs a map and compass, and the knowledge to use them! Even in fine weather we used ours! It was very satisfying to find that our skills hadn’t been lost; we got to exactly the right spot at the top of the hill by following a bearing. Hillson’s House at SX 636 622 has a lovely history to it which is well worth reading about. A poor abandoned baby was adopted and given the name Hillson. He was a solitary child and then adult, and eventually built his house up here on Stalldown and continued with his career of clock making.

It was easy from here to see the stone row to the west and we headed straight for it and walked its length south back towards the track that we had previously been on. We followed it down towards civilisation and the pretty hamlet of Tor. The last leg before being back at the car was a mostly shaded walk along the quiet lanes back towards Harford.

All in all it was a perfect day! There was plenty to keep us interested as well as the usual breathtaking Dartmoor views.

Copyright Ordnance Survey