|Grimspound - 22.12.2002
These notes may seem overly detailed, but in the Dartmoor fog, you may need them!!
Grimspound is shockingly not at all signposted from the North (the B3312), or at the nearest place on the minor road that runs past the site (Grid ref - SX697809). And before anyone says 'well...that's good because it keeps the crowds away and keeps the site to people clever
enough to find it', I say this. This is one of the most important settlements in Britain and is a national treasure, not something to keep to the select few. And, anyway, even with a large scale map you may struggle to find it (as I did, in fog and without a map reader in the car!).
From the North (i.e. from the B3212) I can only advise that you take the turning that you think it should be, if you've been closely following the OS map. The junction does have a general signpost at its north side (pointing to Tavistock, and Moretonhampstead) but nothing towards Grimspound. If you successfully get this road then on a clear day you may spot Grimspound up on the hill on your left hand side, between Hookney and Hameldown Tors, exactly 2 km south of
the junction. On a less clear day look for the only place along that road where there is quite a substantial tarmaced lay-by (enough for about 4 cars) on the right hand side of the road, very close to the kink in the road where it crosses the stream that comes does from Grimspound. If you reach the road on your right for Headland Warren Farm, you've gone too far.
Opposite the lay-by there are 4 stone steps; that's the way towards Grimspound. If you find the partly paved route to the main West entrance of Grimspound, well done. If not, don't worry; the other route will take you to the edge of the outer wall anyway.
Grimspound is magical. Amazing. I love settlement sites. At these places my imagination is far more rampant than at other sites. We know people lived here - slept, ate, drank, talked, loved, argued, planned, died; just like we do today. And the big drystone outer wall reminds me in essence (although not in purpose) of Gaho and Gersale, small villages where I used to work in the very dry and dusty Southern Ethiopian badlands where local feuds have led to circular protective walls being built by the villagers.
Posted by pure joy
6th January 2003ce