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  • Writer's pictureJodie Newton

The North Teign waterfalls

The North Teign area is beautiful. Stunning swathes of open grasslands dusted with hidden gems such as the Teignhead clapper bridge, stone circles and of course the river which seems to gently snake its way across the landscape with various wild swimming hot spots. It’s out of the way of the general tourist traps and offers some gorgeous views from its various Tors.

There are a couple of options for parking in this area but it is a little out of the way, so be prepared for a good few hours walking and you will be rewarded with peace, tranquility and a few ancient monuments.

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."

- Edward Abbey, 'Desert Solitaire'.

On the sunniest forcast day of the Easter bank holiday weekend, we rose early and headed to Fernworthy reservoir, driving to the furthest most parking spot.

It was fairly quiet upon arrival at about 8.30am.

We started our walk and headed to the End of the Fernworthy road SX 656 837 turning left up the forestry track taking the first right path. Ignore the next right then turn right again (sounds complicated but the paths are on the ordnance survey map you should have with you 😏. Looks like the middle track in a split of 3 onthe map) until reaching the gate onto the moor at SX 657 848.

The woods are always peaceful here and are our middle daughters favourite place on Dartmoor. Indeed you could easily spend hours meandering around in the Forrest where there are stone rows and circles which we’ve visited and I’ve blogged in previous posts. We’ve also been lucky enough to spot deer and foxes in the area whilst wandering along the paths.

Once through the Moor gate take the track over the rise following the edge of forest to the walled corner SX654 854

There were ponies with foals on the path and we gave them the usual wide birth just in case.

Gate in the wall

At the gate in the wall SX 651 853 we turned left, cross country in a Westerly direction to the

waterfall at SX 641 852.

Here we stopped for some early lunch and a swim in the rocky pools of the spectacular falls, where the river cascades over plateaus of smooth boulders. There are several places along this section of the North Teign where peaceful wild swimming is possible, though the chilly Dartmoor waters of early April may not feel welcoming by all, in the summer months this would be a delightful place to cool off mid hike.

crossing the river at the stile

After lunch we crossed the river opposite a stile in the fence, just up stream of the falls and walked uphill until we found a track leading to some farm ruins at SX 639 849. Rabbits were hopping around in the glorious sunshine and it really did feel as though they were celebrating their Easter counterpart with each jump and flash of their little white tails. Skylarks rose to voice their objections at our presence and buzzards circled high overhead.

Farm buildings

From here we took the well trod track to Teignhead Farm.

The farm now stands deserted and in ruins but the lease here was first granted in 1808 to two men, Mr. Crawford and Mr. Fleming who in turn employed an Irishman called Rodgers as their agent. It may well have been Mr. Rodgers who built the clapper bridge sometime in the early 1800s.

Teignhead Farm

From Teignhead Farm we walked South to Sittaford Tor and our route was tough, wading through tussocks of dried moorland grass knee high in places. I would recommend going East then South from the farm, on the well worn track to Grey Weathers, then up to Sittaford Tor for the impressive view.

Sittaford Tor on the crest of the hill

From Sittaford Tor we followed the wall East to Grey Wethers stone circles.

Grey Wethers has for many years, been one of my favourite places on Dartmoor.

Double Bronze age stone circles, some 5000 years old and the subject of various traditions, myths and legends (I've written in previous posts). Situated in one of the wildest and most solitary parts of the moor, they spark the imagination, evoking ancient days when the hand of man erected them for some unknown purpose.

Grey Wethers Stone circles

We sat here for a well earned rest and recreated a favourite family photo before carrying on to follow the wall East to a gate back into Fernworthy forrest.

We stayed on the main track turning right at top of the rise and right again at the main crossroads SX 649 844 passing Fernworthy Stone circle and downhill to the road

leading back to our car.

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