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This walk: 2007-June-27 - An 8-mile walk from the Footloose series: "Merrivale" - From "Dartmoor Inn" - Grimstone & Sortridge leat - Vixen Tor  - Heckwood Tor - Pew Tor - Sampford Spiney - Ward Bridge (River Walkham) - former Plymouth/Princetown railway - Swelltor Quarry - old London Bridge corbels - Merrivale stone rows. The weather was not kind, at this time (end-June) parts of the north of England were seriously flooded

Walk details - Information about the route etc. (below)

Start of the walk (SX 54535 75036), the Grimstone & Sortridge leat , looking back towards Merrivale, Great Mis Tor behind

Vixen Tor (SX 54190 74273) in enclosure. The gates were locked with some very inquisitive cattle inside, including one that I heard bellowing loudly, possible a bull?
I did not venture inside the enclosure!

Boundary stone - but not marked? (at SX 53987 73921)  or possibly an old gateway, with Hucken Tor (SX 54870 73850) across the Walkham valley

Pew Tor (SX 53252 73446)


Boundary Stone (SX 53625 73468) with "SS" for Sampford Spiney CP (Civil Parish)


Later view of Pew Tor

Sampford Spiney church (SX 53450 72458)

Notice in the porch


Another view


Criptor Cross (crossroads) at SX 54620 72251


The track left by the old Plymouth/Princetown railway at SX 55585 72558


Part of the Swelltor Quarry complex


Looking into Swelltor Quarry (SX 55895 73163)


Another view of the old buildings


View looking back along the track from near the old London Bridge corbels


Granite corbels left behind from the old London Bridge at SX 55601 73391. The bridge was moved to Arizona, USA, in 1968-1971 (re-dedicated in 1971). I was told by two walkers that I met here that one of the corbels was taken to replace one that was broken during the move of the old bridge to Arizona


Kings Tor (SX 55650 73873)


Bend in the railway track at a cutting (SX 55397 73940)


Standing stone and waymarker (SX 55687 74596) with Great Staple Tor (left) and Roos Tor (right) in the background, "A" signifies Ashburton


Double stone row at Merrivale (SX 55582 74783), with a second double row parallel, to the right. It was raining heavily at the time and my cameras are not waterproof, so this is all I took!


Walk details

Some parking is available just down the side road past the Dartmoor Inn, Merrivale (SX 54977 75136). Otherwise, there is more marked on the map just east of the pub on the B3357, as shown on the map (SX 55315 75018). There is still more further east again. The B3357 is an excellent road compared to some we have used to get to walks!

The first feature is the Grimstone & Sortridge leat leading to Vixen Tor. This appeared locked and I did not easily find steps to enter the enclosure (it was raining heavily at the time and I lost a certain amount of interest at that point!).  After the stepping stones after Vixen Tor, the walk was very pleasant in that the going was easy, passing by Pew Tor Cottage (SX 53440 73211) and going downhill all the way to Ward Bridge, over the River Walkham. Then, there was a long uphill section, as seen in the elevation profile from Memory-Map:

Memory-Map elevation profile of this walk - River Walkham at lowest part


It was uphill all the way to the old railway bed (3 km/ 1.8 miles) which tested the combined 121-years in my legs! The rest of the walk was easy except for crossing a stream at stepping stones (SX 55802 74418) just before the Merrivale stone rows. These were under water with the recent heavy rain and looked slippery as well (MEMO to self - get walking stick/s). I chose to "wade" quickly across at the widest, shallowest place nearby. With boots and gaiters, I stayed very nearly dry

MAP - shown in two parts
This is to comply with a condition of my permission from Memory-Map Europe that no image from their product will exceed 800 x 600 pixels


Reproduced from Dartmoor OS Explorer map 1:25 000 scale by permission of Ordnance Survey
on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number WL 10021.
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission


All photographs on this web site are copyright ©2007-2016 Keith Ryan.
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