|Well we are well into February and still no end to the wet muddy weather, fed up of moaning that I am fed up with the weather I made the bed up in the van loaded the fridge with food, grovelled in front of my wife and set off for Dartmoor to visit Merrivales famous stone avenues and to undertake a reccy ahead of my planned summer walking trip to visit Dartmoor's more remote stone circles.
I made my way down there via the A303, not the obvious route from Lincolnshire, however, I just love the way the road sweeps past Stonehenge and soon I was on Dartmoor and ready for a drive around just to get my bearings. The temperature plummeted to -4 overnight and I awoke to heavy continuous rain. Not to be deterred I set off for Merrivale where even the footpaths had been washed out and were now fast flowing streams, on with the wellies, two waterproof jackets and up into the complex, needless to say I had the place to myself, and wow, what a site, multiple stone avenues, stone circle, standing stones, broken cairn and multiple ancient dwellings. I soon abandoned the rough site plan and just staggered from site to site. The complex just keeps giving and despite the heavy freezing rain demanded a lot of time to fully explore and enjoy. I returned to the van and needed a complete change of clothes, glad there was no one else in the small car park. This is one of the most amazing sites I have ever visited, no information boards or visitor centre, no ice cream van (can imagine it is the complete opposite in summer) just a huge window to our past.
The weather really dictated what sites I was able to visit and so I moved around to Grimspound as it is only a short walk from the road. I had not expected a site on this scale and once again demanded a lot of time to fully explore, strangely despite the poor weather this site was quiet busy with four or five other people milling around and enjoying all the sites within the pound
The weather killed off any more visits that day and I returned in the morning for a wonderful walk in bright sunshine, moving out from Postbridge down to the lovely stone circle/circular cairn called Sousson Pound set into a clearing on the edge of the woods, into the woods to visit the two circular cairns and leave my footprints in the snow that was still lying there, clearly no other visitors pass this way and then the longish haul up to the Challacombe Stone Rows. I was knocked out by this site despite some dispute over how accurately the stones had been re erected. The row appeared to be aligned with the Tor and stretched up hill to a large single marker stone. The avenue itself seemed to have three chambers/cairns/holding pounds built into it. The remote setting coupled with its wonderful views of Grimspound in the distance really made the walk worth while.
The following day the weather worsened again and I spent the day around Sharpitor and Black Tor tracking down the stone rows, cairns and settlements, all within easy reach of the road and hence the van for shelter from the squalls as they came in. No footpaths and bog and marsh to negotiate I more than once breached my wellies and started to wonder if I should stick to warmer climates at this time of year. Exhausted, wet and tired I was happy with my few days on the moor and it certainly 'wetted' my appetite for my return in the summer.
As I pulled on the drive I realised I had not bought anything for my wife, might just sleep in the van again tonight!
Posted by costaexpress
21st February 2016ce
costaexpress's TMA Blog
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