Dartmoor (September 2023)


Saturday 16th September

Today was the only day it was looking like we would be able to go onto Dartmoor due to the very poor weather predicted this week. We sorted ourselves out and packed a lunch and were off. We managed to negotiate the long, meandering, single track road better going down than coming up yesterday.

We didn’t have far to drive before we were in Dartmoor National Park. It was looking quite bright but there were some ominous clouds in the distance. We had marked some points where we thought it would be interesting to take photos. Our first stop was Cox Tor. We wandered towards the Tor but not up it. Some sheep kindly wandered into the shot and the sun came out a couple of times and illuminated the bracken.

Cox Tor

Next stop was Merrivale where we took shots of Great Mis Tor. From here we crossed Two Bridges and drove to Postbridge where we were able to get good photos of the Clapper Bridge. 

Merrivale Village and Mis Tor

Post bridge

Clapper Bridge

We had intended to travel further on but by now it was raining hard and visibility was poor. We decided the sensible thing to do was head back but take a detour round by Princetown where the famous Dartmoor Prison is. It was a gloomy village that looked as though it was being held in by grey walls.

Dartmoor Prison

We stopped twice more, at King’s Tor and Vixen Tor before heading back to Tavistock and home.


King's Tor

Vixen Tor

Sunday 17th September

 A gale is blowing outside and has been for some hours. The rain is coming down in torrents. We won't be going anywhere soon. It's midday and we are off to Tavistock to have lunch at the Market Inn. The pub has had some good reviews so we are looking forward to a good Sunday roast.

A quick dive from the house to the car and then from the car to the pub. The staff are very friendly and quick to take our order. Our drinks arrive and our order is taken. Two roast beef dinners. Hmm, that was a scrummy lunch  and they will certainly be getting a good review from us.

Home again to an afternoon of world cup rugby which is fortunate as the heavens have opened again.

Listening to the news this evening it sounds as though many places in Somerset and Devon  have had flooding and massive lightning storms. More of the same is forecast for later in the week.


Monday 18th September

We woke to more rain but it was quick to clear up. We drove to the outskirts of Plymouth and then jumped on the park and ride into the city. Our plan was to visit the Barbican area and Plymouth Hoe. We had marked off some historic points that we wanted to see. We started at the Barbican and proceeded to make our way to the quay where there were many boats and yachts moored. 

Plymouth Quay

Standing 33ft high was the Barbican Prawn. It was unveiled in 1996 and represents the variety of fish and shellfish landed on the Barbican. It is sometimes known as the 'Plymouth sea Monster'. The official name is 'The Leviathan'.

'Plymouth Sea Monster' (The Leviathan)

A plaque on the wall near the Barbican Prawn commemorates the Tolpuddle Martyrs. It was here in 1838 various members of the trade union's landed after being exiled in Australia.

Plaque to the Tolpuddle Martyrs

Moored by the key side is a full scale replica of the El Galeon, a 17th century Spanish Galleon.

El Galeon
The original Mayflower, built in the 17th century, took the first Pilgrim fathers to America in 1620. Mayflower II sailed from Plymouth in 1957, recreating the original voyage across the Atlantic ocean. A commemorative memorial has been placed by the see wall by the Mayflower steps.

The Royal Citadel was a 17th century fortress built to defend the coast line from the Dutch. It is still used today by the military. Canons can be seen on the opposite of the road. There would have been others positioned along this coastal area.

Part of the Royal Citadel


Looking out to sea from Plymouth sound, Drake's Island can be seen. It has a varied history once having been home to a chapel, a military barracks and an outward bound center to name just a few. Guided tours are now run to the island.

Drake Island

Sir Francis Drake was the first man to circumnavigate the globe in one go. He was also mayor of Plymouth for a while. He sailed the Golden Hind and was second in command of the fleet which fought against the Spanish Armada. He was born in Tavistock, at Crowndale farm.

Sir Francis Drake

Plymouth's lido is a grade II listed outdoor swimming pool built in 1935. The pool has been voted in the top 10 best outdoor pools in Europe.

Plymouth Lido

Smeaton's Tower on Plymouth Hoe was originally built by Smeaton on the Eddystone reef in 1759. It was taken down in the 1880's when it was discovered the rock it was standing on was unstable. The structure was moved, stone by stone to its current position.

Smeaton's Tower

Sir Walter Rayleigh was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and an explorer. He helped to colonize parts of America and introduced potatoes and tobacco to this country. He also played an important role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Memorial Statues

HRH The Princess of Wales unveiled a memorial in September 2019 to all men and women who serve in or have served in the British Merchant Navy or Fishing Fleets in times of both war and peace.

Memorial to the British Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets

Dedicated to all the men who fought and died during the battle with the Spanish Armada.

Dedicated to all the men who died during the 1914 - 1918 and 1939 - 1945 world wars.

The Messenger was created by artist Joseph Hillier depicting a female actor crouching, ready to run
onto the stage. It was installed outside the Theatre Royal in 2019 to commemorate the Mayflower celebrations.

The Messenger

Tuesday 19th September

Morwellham Quay was once the greatest copper port in Queen Victoria's empire. Today it is part of an internationally acclaimed Mining World Heritage site.

It was first set up by the Benedictine monks of Tavistock Abbey to carry goods from Plymouth on the River Tamar. By the 12th century tin was being transported, followed by lead and silver. Later copper deposits were discovered at the quay and the George and Charlotte mine was opened. In the 1800's manganese deposits were extracted on the north and west edges of Dartmoor and brought to Morweelham. Arsenic was also extracted.

In 1817 the Tavistock canal was opened and goods were transported in and out by barge.

Tavistock Canal

By 1903 the wealth from the area had been exhausted and the mines closed.

The overshot water wheel once powered a mill for crushing manganese.

The Overshot Wheel

   The Great dock and the restored Tamar sailing ship Garlandstone.

The elevated railway at Morwellan Quay.

We visited Buckland Abbey this afternoon. This was once the home of Sir Francis Drake. Unfortunately the abbey looked more like an ornate, grand house than an abbey. So many changes had been made to the main building. The best building was the Great Barn which remains as it was. It was too wet to tour the gardens which I'm sure would have looked amazing.

The Great Barn

Buckland Abbey

Wednesday 20th September

Another wet, miserable morning. The rain is cascading down. There is no chance of  going out to see anything this morning. It looks as though it might clear up later this afternoon. If it does we will go for a walk along the track to take photos of the area we are staying in.

A very wet day

Thursday 21st September

Today we left our house on the moor and started heading for home. As this was the first day that had been dry we walked down the driveway to get some photos before leaving.

A view from the lane to the cottage across to St Michael de Rupe church

Our first stop was at Brentor where we stopped at St. Michael de Rupe church which is positioned on the top of a tor. It is a 13th - 14th century church which has been restored over the years.

St Michael de Rupe Church

From Brentor we drove onto Lydford Gorge. Some of the paths were closed due to the heavy rains there had been during the week. We were able to do the Devil's Cauldron's circular walk. This has been carved out by the river over thousands of years. We walked out over the water in one of the deepest sections of the gorge.

Lydford Gorge

Devil's Cauldron

From here we drove onto our overnight stop just above Bristol via a very scenic route which took us up and down many 1 in five hills and one or two flooded pieces of road.