Strolling Route 2

I set off to Dart’s Farm today for a stroll around their fields with the dogs, they have a farm walk, a bird hide and fishing lakes as well as the shopping experience they are well known for. It was a beautiful afternoon and I decided that I wanted to walk a bit further than Dart’s could offer, so I crossed over and took a path that joins the Exe Trail, which runs up the river Exe to Exeter and back down the other side. It’s part of National Cycle Network route 2 that will eventually run all the way from Kent to Cornwall.

The section that runs alongside the Exe is around 16 miles and must surely be one of the loveliest. Just below Topsham on the picture, you can see Darts Farm, where I began,

it’s the  modern building in the distant background to the right. The white house boat must belong to someone, I hope they rescue it before it rots away, I know I’d like to.

The bridge above has one of the newest sections, with great views over Bowling Green marsh.

I’m striding along now, parallel to the railway line that I travelled on the day before, taking two of my grandchildren to the beach at Exmouth. The old bridge spans an area with an inlet that probably floods at times.

it’s certainly soggy today.
I’m heading towards Exton now and the views of the river are gorgeous.But the railway line and a fence are in the way. Never mind, the path  turns inland through the little village of very expensive houses, and out the other side.

The river gets wider and Exmouth is in the distance, my favourite estuary. I pass by the Royal Marines commando training centre,

but there are no fit men to watch today!
Instead I pass a group of young people in fatigues yomping along. They may be cadets, definitely not marines, they were having too much fun.

It’s a really warm day and while I don’t mind walking in full sun, the dogs are getting elderly so we sit, so  they can rest and nibble on the cleavers, and then retrace our steps. We didn’t quite reach Lympstone.

The tide was lower as I headed back inland, there were fewer cyclists and walkers going by, and the only sounds were birdsong. I had a lovely walk, around five miles and flat apart from going through Exton.
I hope you enjoyed it, and Jo too, as I’m posting for her Monday Walk.

The Granite Way, 1. Industrial Archaeology and a Train Cemetery

Meldon quarry sits high on a hill between Okehampton and Lydford on the northern edge of Dartmoor. After nearly 100 years it closed in 2011 and has now become an industrial graveyard and a train cemetery. A footpath, The Granite way, also national cycle route 27 runs past it and on to Meldon viaduct from where the Meldon dam can be seen on a clear day and High Willhayes, the highest point on the moor is in the distance. The dam forms a stunning reservoir 900 feet above sea level. Today we walked the first section of the granite way to the viaduct and then scrambled down to the valley and along the banks of the River Okement. Climbing down was hard on the knees, but I was quite pleased to be able to climb back up without needing my inhaler!

The quarry was served by a trainline constructed for its workers and their families but fell into disuse when Mr Beeching made his cuts in the 1960’s. In the summer season the Dartmoor Railway company now provide a service as well as a café and visitor centre.

The train carriages appear to be relics of a more recent past. As any abandoned wreckage they have been grafitteed and their windows smashed. They look very sad, neglected and are rusting away.

For some of its route, the noise from the dual carriageway below intrudes on the bird song, but the walk has lovely views of the Devon countryside which I will post separately, and is well worthwhile.

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