By: Blonde Two
Dartmoor is a wild and lonely place but in almost every square mile of it, there is evidence of man’s impact on its environment. For me, this does not detract from my enjoyment of the moors – nature is reclaiming much of the industry and buildings and the history of man and Dartmoor is fascinating. Of course, Dartmoor’s status as a National Park and the stirling work of the National Park Authority has had much to do with this unique blend of nature and mankind. In different ways, man (and Blonde) continues to have his/her impact on the wilderness. Hopefully, we can all work together to balance this and keep Dartmoor “Wild and Interesting” for generations to come.
North Dartmoor is criss-crossed with army and old mining tracks. In poor weather, these can help with navigation but you have to be careful, many of them look the same and their direction can sometimes not quite be what you might have imagined. I like following the tracks and I like to walk off them. In wet weather (most of the time) the North moor is full of bogs, if you want to feel the earth move then this is the place for you. Just arrange for a largish bloke to walk along behind you and you will think that there is some kind of mild earthquake going on.
During Saturday’s walk, we saw plenty of nature and plenty of man-impact. I enjoyed both as always but particularly liked this old mine track – it was in a cutting nestled out of the wind and provided a lovely contrast with the clouds. At one end was a sneaky glimpse of the view over to the English Channel – you were drawn down the track because you knew that the view was going to open up into something fabulous. At the other end was an old mine building which we didn’t explore but which Dartmoor was going a fairly good job of turning back onto rocks.
On a walk with amazing natural features, it is maybe odd that my favourite thing was an old track – but there you go – that is the contrast of Dartmoor for you.