James over at Backpackingbongos has just come back from a rather nice trip to Dartmoor. His trip report reminded me of the many times I have visited the area myself and some of the walks I have done. Considering that it is tucked away in the southwest and has no “mountains” it continues to prove popular with a whole range of walkers and campers. In addition to the mega trip with my “dads and lads” group in 2009, I also went on a brilliant little trip back in 2008 with a couple of friends for a late winter outing.
The three of us decided to walk and camp in the area around Nun’s Cross Farm, which I really do like and have been to many times. It offers a variety of landscape, history, wildness and yet relatively accessible. We settled on a rambling itinary taking in several ruined farms (including Nuns Cross), lonely crosses, a prehistoric stone avenue at Drizzlecombe, looking for elusive postboxes (a Dartmoor speciality), discovering industrial ruins and observing an real life foaling in the middle of a snow covered landscape. The snow made the feel of the place even more bleak but beautiful than normal.
The scenery was stunning on that trip and I can remember the three of us snapping away with cameras all the time. of course the other two were far better photographers than me but I enjoyed it all the same. It was a fabulous trip but completely different to what I was normally used to. The thing was that there was always some nook or cranny to investigate, challenging navigation on times and a feeling of a really wide expanse of wilderness.
Such variety within Dartmoor even in a very small area around Nuns Cross Farm really shows off the area in a positive light. Add to that the raw bleakness of the place and it makes for a very good camping and walking destination. I loved James’ recent report and foray to Dartmoor and it prompted me to look up some old photographs from my trips especially the one above. Not sure when I will get there again but I would like to try even if only for a day walk. It offers a different experience to the usual mountain fare and definitely not one to be underestimated