Holwell Beehive Hut.
Today is my birthday and (at time of writing) if you produce proof of your birthday at Ullacombe Farm, your breakfast is free. So we decided we'd walk the dog along the Granite Tramway at Haytor and round to Holwell Tor Beehive hut before heading back to Ullacombe for a lovely start to my day.
This is a nice easy walk with plenty of interesting things to find
Parking at Haytor Down car park, Manaton Road. Grid reference: SX 770 778 Nearest postcode: TQ13 9XS. This car park is free but fills up quickly at peak times. I feel it's safer to start here with small children as there are no roads to cross. You could easily park at the Lower Haytor car park, which is pay and display but you will have to cross the busy main road and the ascent will be steeper.
From the car park we headed West along the well worn track towards Haytor quarry and the Tramway which is fairly easy to spot in good conditions. The sun was shining and we soon had to remove our waterproofs.
Haytor Tramway was built in 1820; the granite was in demand in the developing cities of England as masonry to construct public buildings and bridges. In 1850 the quarries employed about 100 men but by 1858 they had closed due to the availability of cheaper Cornish granite.
The tramway served five quarries on Haytor Down and ran gently down to the canals at Teign Grace.
Following the tracks makes for some nice easy walking with beautiful views across the valley to the back of Greator Rocks and Hound Tor.
Continuing West along the track we came to Holwell Tor and its disused quarry.
Nestled amongst the spoil tips and clitter, just bellow the track, is a well preserved beehive hut which was probably used for shelter during blasting. It's a brilliant little place to find and poke about inside or enjoy a flask of hot chocolate.
Our adventures on Dartmoor are largely due to my husband and his parents who spent many years on the moor, letterboxing and Ten Tors training. Sadly neither of my in-laws are with us any more, but Richard has fond memories walking with them both. The last time he found the hut had been with his father many years ago, so he was chuffed to bits to find it again today.
Once we'd finished enjoying the peace and sitting in the damp little granite construction we decided to follow the tramway back a little to avoid the particularly wet, lower path in the bottom of the valley.
We were aiming North East for Smallcombe Rocks SX753 783 and Hole Rock on Black Hill.
Again this was easy walking with a gentle climb back up the hill, suitable for little legs and fairly easy for less adventurous grown ups alike.
There were lots of sleepy Dartmoor ponies enjoying the uncommonly good weather and Skylarks flitting about, singing their pretty melodic calls.
Continuing North west on Black hill you will find two rather impressive Cairns most likely dating from The Bronze Age.
Please be respectful of the cairns and do not move or remove the rocks.
Heading South West we ambled back to the carpark along the path marked with boundary stones on the OS Map (which you should always have with you on Dartmoor)
We found a warm welcome at Ullacombe farm and my birthday breakfast was a delicious treat after a morning potter. There are a few animals here to see, some small tractors to play on for little people and a nice play area if you have youngsters who still have energy left after searching for the little hut.