By: Blonde Two
Blonde One and I have a list of long-distance walking routes we would like to tackle. The Two Moors Way, more of the South West Coast Path, and the Offa’s Dyke Path being examples. However, with busy careers and Two Blondes jobby activities, time always seems to be against us. Which is why we were thrilled to be invited to help promote a newly way-marked long-distance walking route, namely the Dartmoor Way.
This most excellent 108-mile circular route circumnavigates Dartmoor, offers optional high moorland sections, and has been really well way-marked. It takes the walker through some Dartmoor towns and villages they might not have previously discovered, along lanes and paths they almost certainly haven’t (if we haven’t walked all of them, the chances are you won’t have done so either!) The Dartmoor Way website has been really well set up with downloadable GPS route sections and plenty of useful advice.
As with most 2020 plans, this year’s ambitions for Blonde walks along the Dartmoor Way (or indeed anywhere) have been somewhat thwarted but I did manage to complete my first section somewhere after the summer but before national lockdown two. I had the most marvelous day exploring Dartmoor from a completely different angle to my usual tors and hilltops. Although the Dartmoor Way officially starts at Ivybridge, I chose the section between Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead (both lovely market towns) as my first leg.
This was definitely a good move and offered plenty of variety. I walked along disused railways, down (and up) Devon green lanes, through autumn woodland, and past all manner of interesting locations. I enjoyed atmospheric stone bridges, peeped at some rather nice properties, and watched some majestic Clydesdale horses crossing a stream. My nose was treated to the aromas of a warm autumn day, and my ears gladdened by the sound of the rushing River Bovey.
One thing I hadn’t been expecting (but should have been) was the amount of climbing I did. 700 metres is a lot for a walk that takes you around the edge of a high area! However, the climbing (as well as giving my lungs a good workout) meant I got to experience that wonderful feeling you get when towns and roads recede, and your senses tell you you’re on higher ground. Having not walked any real distance for a few months, I was pleased with my 17km, and am really looking forward to tackling my next Dartmoor Way leg (hopefully this time with Blonde One!)
The Dartmoor Way team has worked really hard on this route. Their work continues as they seek to give more people the opportunity to explore it. To keep up to date with their news and events, and support their efforts, we recommend you follow them on Instagram (thedartmoorway) and Facebook (The Dartmoor Way).