When the sun made an unexpected appearance on my last day of holiday, before returning to work after the Christmas break, my husband and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make use of one of our Christmas presents; a little book of Dartmoor walks – Dartmoor’s Sites of Magic and Mystery, by John Earle.
As you do, we turned straight to the back of the book and decided to try Walk 10! A 3.5 mile walk taking in Lustleigh Cleave, Hunter’s Tor and an Iron Age Fort. “Challenging in some of the steeper climbs”, it claimed, but we were in need of some exercise and needed to blow out the festive cob webs.
Living on the moor, we usually pull on our boots and head straight out from the front door, but this walk meant a short drive to Lustleigh – a picture postcard Dartmoor village that looked every bit the idyllic hamlet I was hoping for.
Armed with a flask of coffee, chocolate and two maps (you can never be too careful!), we headed off. We knew the walk was going to start with an uphill climb, so we were prepared! By the top, I could certainly feel that I had been indulging a little too much over Christmas. But, it was definitely worth it – the views were spectacular.
When we got to Hunter’s Tor we were joined by a herd of Belted Galloway cows. You can’t mistake them as they have a large white stripe cutting through a mat of black fur. They remind me of giant liquorice allsorts! There are few more beautiful places on a clear, sunny day than the top of a Dartmoor Tor. We could see for miles – Moretonhampstead, North Bovey and even Bovey Castle (one of our favourite places).
After a short pit stop, we started off down a steep, muddy decline towards Foxworthy Bridge and Lustleigh Cleave.
After a gentle climb back to the main road through colourful woodland, we were more than ready for some lunch. Our pace increased as the village pub came in to sight. The Cleave is a traditional 15th century thatched inn. We were greeted by a very cheery man and ushered to the bar for a drink before we were seated in the newer part of the pub. The menu looked very tempting and we needed a reward after our walk. I chose the croque monsieur and Ben (my husband) went for the croque madame. The food was delicious, and I would certainly recommend the pub to anyone after a long walk or cycle.
Now, we just need to decide which walk to try next. As long as there is a good pub at the end of it, we’ll be happy.