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  • Writer's pictureJodie Newton

Cosdon Beacon, Cosdon Row and Shilley Pool swim spot. 5/6 Miles route depending

On the North Moor lies Cosdon Beacon, at 1800 ft above sea level it provides spectacular views over Dartmoor. From the summit it is often possible to see the English Channel, from our home town of Teignmouth to Start Point, and on a clear day the Bristol Channel may be visible.

This is a lot of walking up, I don't mind hills in fact my eldest daughter and I agree that we prefer the up to the down on any walk, and this felt like a lot of 'UP'. However this is one of the best views on Dartmoor I've ever had and is utterly worth every step to get up there.

Every time I stopped to take a breather (it was a warm day and I'm not overly fit 😁) I could appreciate more and more of the spectacular panorama unfolding before me.

Cosdon Beacon, summit May 2020

Cosdon hill as it's also known is surrounded with archaeology and numerous ancient ritual monuments including the beautiful Cosdon Row or ‘The Cemetery’ or ‘The Graveyard’.

Cosdon Row is a triple stone Row and is one of the best examples on the Moor and leads to what some think could be his and hers double burial kists.

We walked up the Beacon from South Zeal but it is equally possible to ascend from Belstone, Sticklepath and Throwleigh. More experienced walkers can also make the trip to its summit from Gidleigh and Chagford to the South East and Okehampton Camp and Okehampton to the West.

OS map recommended.

Parking at the Southern end of South Zeal village in the car park SX 651 934.

Exit the car park and turn right along the road. Take the first road on your right and continue to a crossroad. Go straight across. You are now on a signed bridleway heading onto the Moor.

Navigating these lanes is the trickiest part of the walk (open Moorland navigation is always easier than roads and lanes in my opinion) but so long as you're walking up in a South Westerly direction, following the map you're pretty much going the right way.

Track up to Cosdon Beacon from SouthZeal, May 2020

You should end up on a sunken track between dry stone walls heading for open Moor.

once on the Moor you want to head up (and up and up) to the top of the Hill, the path is clearly visible on the OS map.

Once you reach the top enjoy the view, really take it in you've earned it.

There are two Cairns at the top to investigate SX 636 914

Head down the East side of the hill following the tracks and you will see the Triple stone row.

heading down Cosdon HIll towards the Stone row

Cosdon Row, May 2020

It really is impressive and if you don't think you can manage the walk to the top of the hill the stone row is still worth a visit.

From here, facing down hill take the path to the right of the stone row heading South East look out for a stone wall on your left this leads down to Shilley Pool.

Shilley Pool

Shilley pool is beautiful, with smooth stone slabs that are perfect for sliding down into the cold, bracing water of the pool. The rocks here are slippery please take great care when traversing the stream. I've said it in previous posts but a pair of water shoes are most useful for playing in pools and swimming on the Moor. Always take great care around water, it would be all to easy to slip on the rocks and bump your head before slipping beneath the surface. Never swim alone.

After our swim and a spot of lunch we headed back up the hill to the stone wall and followed it back to one of tracks that leads off the moor making our walk a little longer but if you cross the river at Shilley pool you can also follow the track back down stream which heads to the road. Turn left at the road by the 30 mph sign and bridge warning sign and then left back into the car park.

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