Today we tackled the Moor – Dartmoor, a little apprehensively due to its foreboding image, in my mind at least. Dartmoor is a National Park, but most of it is actually privately-owned. While much of it is “wild”, especially the upland plateaus, many of the lower slopes are covered in stone-fenced green pastures. Driving here is mostly an exhilarating open-sky experience. The speed limit is 40 mph throughout, but we rarely drove that fast – it was just too good to zip through.
We stopped briefly in BoveyTracey for provisions and tourist info. Our first real stop was Haytor, a high rocky outcrop. Being gung-ho Aussies, we tackled the hill head on via the most direct path. Once on top we discovered there had been much easier options. No matter, we are building stamina. Weather on the moor is quite variable. We ascended in intermittent sunshine. Two minutes after arriving at the top it started to shower. Luckily this did not last very long – the upside of the variability. The same thing happened again later in the day.
We had been told to look out for wild ponies and we did see them in a number of places. The last time there were quite a number sheltering in a pit. They all came to investigate, i.e. looking for treats. One even stuck most of its head through the car window.
In the middle is Widecombe-in-the-Moor, sheltered down in a valley. On arriving in the car park we bumped into the same Perth couple John and Wendy whom we first met at our lodgings in Ashford. Small world. We shared a table at a coffee shop and compared experiences.
Our last stop was the deliciously-named Lustleigh to visit a tea parlour recommended by our hostess Jill. On asking a local for directions, we were told that nothing is open on a Wednesday, except for the pub. Lustleigh is an idyllic charming little village. It might have been nice to stay there.