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  • Writer's pictureJodie Newton

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy

There are times when I'm on my own with the kids and want a quick, easy and relatively quiet day out on the moor.

My top tip for this is go early.

Like be up there for 9.00am early, not something hideous like 6.00am.

However if the sun's up and so are your kids/you/the dogs then why not?

Take a packed breakfast instead of a packed lunch or just a backpack full of snacks (and raincoats, I will keep saying this). The traffic is quieter, it's easier to park and there are just less people around (yay).

If I'm flying solo, I tend to stick to places that are local to me rather than driving over an hour before we start walking.

Places like Bonehill Rocks SX 731 774, Hound Tor medieval settlement SX 746 787, Bowermans Nose SX 742 805 and The commandments stones SX 734 731.

The commandments stones

This walk is so quick and easy I popped up with my three kiddiwinks this morning to double check my directions from the car park.

Buckland Beacon is home to The Commandments stones and boasts some of the best views in the area. It is an easy (under a mile) walk from the car park at Cold East Cross, by the T-junction (SX 740 742).

Just over the road from the car park is a path that leads South West, follow this for about 500m and you'll come to a dry stone wall. Keep this on your left and follow it until you reach Buckland Beacon. I'm not going to tell you where the stone tablets are. Part of the fun, if you've not been before is finding them.

I've lived here in Devon my whole life and had never heard of them until the summer holidays last year, when I asked Richard to pick us an easy morning walk on the map that I could manage confidently on my own .

I am very pleased that he chose Buckland Beacon.

It is said that a signal fire was lit upon the Beacon when the Spanish Armarda was spotted in 1588. An inscription on one of the rocks there records that it was used again in 1935. It reads: “Buckland Beacon. A beacon fire one of a chain lit here by the Parishioners of Buckland-in-the-Moor in celebration of their Majesties’ silver jubilee May 6th 1935. And the people shouted and said ‘God save the King.” A fire was also lit here for the Golden jubilee and the millennium celebrations in 2000.

In 1928, Lord of Buckland Manor – Mr William Whitely of Wellstor commissioned a sculptor called W. A. Clement to engrave the Ten Commandments on two ‘tables of stone’ on Buckland Beacon, in celebration of Parliaments dismissal of a new book of common prayer.

I find it amusing that they were not commissioned for a church as would be my first thought, but as a sort of permanent protest.

Interestingly there are not ten but eleven commandments inscribed in the granite, the eleventh being from  “John, Chapter 13 Verse 34,”. The reason being that Mr Clement found he had space enough left at the bottom for this and a verse from the hymn ‘Oh God Our Help in Ages Past’.

On our first visit visit my eldest found part of the inscription most amusing😊

Just across from the Beacon and a short hop over the dry stone wall is a small out crop of rocks called Wellstor Rocks. It's another little stop and somewhere quick to elongate your walk. My three love clambering around and poking about under any rock they think may be hiding a letter box, this morning we found one very quickly.

I hope to visit my other easy places to pop out to soon to confirm my directions and safe, sensible places to leave the car.

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