By: Blonde Two
Let me introduce you to the other Blonde in my life, we shall call him Six Foot Blond although he is a bit taller than that, he is the middle one of my three offspring. Blonde fact – Six Foot Blond is the reason that Blonde One and I first met. She was his Ten Tor’s trainer when he was still at school and, when he finally made the team (leader) he volunteered me for bacon sandwich making on Ten Tor’s morning. If you can have a giggle with someone at 5 o’clock in the morning in the middle of a cold field then there is a fair chance that you will end up being good friends – although, who knew at that point, that Blonde One and I would have so many adventures together.
Anyway, today Mr B2, Six Foot Blond and I (this blonde thing is getting complicated but stay with me) decided that the only way to burn off yesterday’s Christmas over indulgence was to go on a venture to Dartmoor. Mr B2 wanted to see Wistman’s Wood and it appeared to be a more sheltered wet weather option so after a reasonable lie in (rude not to), we set off. It is only a couple of kilometres up to the woods but I think it may have been the wettest walk I have ever had. There was water under our feet, water blowing horizontally into our faces and trees dropping water into our coffee. The dog was nearly swimming in a couple of the puddles.
Six Foot Blond wanted to say hello to some old Dartmoor granite friends – Littaford and Longaford Tors so he took the dog off for some extra exercise up the hill while we took a closer look at the woods. They are truly amazing and very mysterious. I decided long ago that I had no desire to do any wild camping anywhere near them. The combination of stunted, twisted oaks, lichen dripping branches and moss covered bolders has led to a wealth of stories about druids, ghosts, serpents, devils and hounds. I am sure that Tolkein must have visited there at some point – there were even hollows big enough for hobbits to hide in. Six Foot Blond however, did not fit in any of the holes when he met us after his Tor vist (pleased to see that he can still use a compass). Harry the Jack Russell did and spent a happy half an hour digging while the humans enjoyed coffee and posh chocolate – it is Christmas after all!
How to leave no trace (March 2021)
Please note. Wistman’s Wood is a fragile environment that perhaps has been over-visited in recent months. It is still stunningly beautiful but, if you decide to visit, please remember that the leave no trace approach includes leaving mosses, lichens, boulders, and anything else you find undisturbed. This is definitely a place for looking but not touching.
It’s also perhaps important to point out that the lovely area around Littaford and Longaford Tors are nesting areas for some of Dartmoor’s beautiful ground-nesting birds. Please keep your dog on a lead, particular in springtime and early summer.