By: Blonde One

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

Little Miss Blonde and I recently ventured to somewhere new to investigate a little bridge that looks nondescript on the map but is in actual fact really interesting. I’ve been to this area quite frequently and also been there with DofE students but mostly I have stuck to the higher areas of Trendlebere Down and used the walks for navigation practice. The woods that you can see on the map are Hisley Woods and well worth exploring. The Woodland Trust do a good job of looking after them and they have well maintained paths, fingerposts and gates.

We wandered along the sun dappled paths admiring primroses and bluebells, and didn’t expect to find such a pretty spot at the bridge. Hisley Bridge spans the River Bovey and in times gone by was the link for packhorses between Lustleigh and the Manaton/Bovey Tracey track. Looking at the rough stone surface now I wouldn’t want to take my packhorses (if I had some) across it! The bridge is apparently dated between the 17th and 19th centuries and I’m sure has seen many people and horses come and go over the years. We saw various fingerposts in the woods pointed to ‘Packsaddle Bridge’. It was only on our return home that we realised these 2 bridges are one in the same!


You can just about see on the picture a tall gate post to the right of the start of the bridge with all sorts of interesting manmade features. We also discovered a very pleasingly round piece of granite which Little Miss Blonde did a pixie impression on. Surely this stone has been worn by water into such a great shape? Research suggests, upon return home, that this stone is locally known as the ‘pudding stone’. It’s a great name!

We were only out for an hour or so and didn’t expect to find so many interesting things. It just goes to show that even a little bimble along a river, combined with a bit of internet searching can reveal all sorts of things!