Whiteworks to Drizzlecombe
Parking at Whiteworks, Princetown SX612 710 or before the main buildings just off the road to the right where the dry wall ends opposite.
It had rained for days, we knew the ground on Dartmoor would be at its wettest and so we decided to plan a walk that would potentially be drier for the most part.
We have visited Drizzlecombe in the past but had approached from Sheeps Tor.
At the time I had realised that a nice easy walk from Whiteworks would be a pleasant one to try and so on this occasion we decided that would be our starting point.
Whiteworks is a former mining hamlet near the town of Princetown and was once home to the largest Tin mine on the Moor. The site has now largely been abandoned, although Whiteworks is still on the route of many walks including the Abbots Way Walk which passes 500 m to the West.
Our eldest daughter is currently mid GCSEs and so we'd left her at home to revise.
The weather was cloudy but dry and there was still a chill to the air, so we had come prepared with all the layers and waterproofs just in case.
Heading South West and then South we followed the well defined footpath to Nuns Cross Farm and took some obligatory photos with Siwards or Nuns Cross the oldest recorded stone cross on Dartmoor.
Nuns Cross Farm currently belongs to Mount Kelly School, and can be rented with a capacity of up the 27 sleepers and 36 diners. Bunkbeds and log fires help preserve its ancient theme for those who dare spend a night there.
From Nuns Cross we continued South towards Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (SX 598 681) which was active during the first half of the 19th century. In its early years it was one of the largest and most prosperous of the Dartmoor tin mines, along with Whiteworks. Many of the ruined buildings are clearly visible and it is worth a visit, just to have a peek back in time. What a sturdy lot our ancestors must've been, hauling Tin from the ground in such a remote part of the country in all weathers.
At this point we changed tack slightly and pootled off the main track in a South Easterly direction over to Higher Hartor. On a clear day its easy to see from Eylesbarrow.
Our intended destination was in sight from the top of the rocks and so we meandered our way South West once more to Drizzlecombe, where you will find one of the best (in my opinion) Bronze age sites on Dartmoor. There are several Cairns including Giants Basin, stone rows, ancient settlements and two spectacular standing stones. We had the site to ourselves and as usual I was quite taken with an overwhelming sense of reverence. The whole place has a mystical air of ancient belief systems. One can't help but wonder in awe at the the logistics of constructing the cairns and erecting the menhirs.
My children are permanently hungry and this is seemingly doubled whilst out walking, so we decided to head over to the river Plym for a spot of lunch.
We ate or sandwiches beside the fast flowing water, where skylarks and babbling waterfalls were the only sounds to be heard. These are some of my favourite things about walking on the Moors. The peace and quiet, the sounds of nature and not a soul to be seen.
After our meal we followed the Plym back North East and then left the water side, heading North from Langcombe brook towards Lower Hartor.
At this point in our walk the sun had come out and we were all getting rather hot, so the rain coats had come off and been stowed in our backpacks.
We made our way back up the hill to Higher Hartor and had intended to take the foot path from Eylesbarrow, East and North East creating a longer circular walk. However our plans quickly changed when our middle daughters knee started to become painful. Instead we decided to take the slightly quicker option and follow the path we'd come in on. We were soon particularly grateful for this decision as the heavens opened.
This was a prime example of just how changeable the weather on Dartmoor can be, we'd gone from sweating and sweltering to shivering and shaking in a matter of seconds. Our Waterproofs were quickly obtained from our packs as we fought the elements back towards the car park. By the time we reached our car, all of us were soaking, freezing cold and very grateful for the heating on our drive home.
Our walk was roughly 7 miles but pretty easy going as the footpaths in this area are gravelled for the majority of the route.