Dartmoor National Park
Plymouth Travel Blog› entry 6 of 25 › view all entries
October 9th, 2007 – by: maplefanta
The train arrived at Plymouth station and Bartek was there, so it was great to meet him back again after... what 4-5 months. Quite nice, we walked to his place which was quite nearby actually, got some drinks and just chat till late. We discussed the plan of visiting Plymouth of course but also try to go to Dartmoor National Park which is just outside of Plymouth inland.
We got up a little too late to actually plan to go to Dartmoor today, so we left instead by noon to Plymouth downtown. Bart showed me the main features of the town basically walking the main shopping street... which funnily looks like a polish city!
Of course that is the main result that Plymouth being and having been a major Royal Navy harbour has been entirely destroyed during the war, so the architecture date from the 50s - 60s mainly.
The pedestrian shopping streets are large and the concrete buildings square and mainly built according to a cheap quick pattern based on functionnality than anything else. I felt like I was in Warsaw. I found it funny and was harrassing Bartek as well about that... saying that he should feel home in his new polonia country :D
He brought me nearby the bus station, which is a major half underground building, and we went to have a look at the ruins of an old church from the bombing standing in the middle of a new roundabout. Obviously the whole city pattern had been change during the reconstruction.
But before that we walked in direction of the coast and the port, passing by the gigantic monument for the Royal seaman lost at sea! That was major and bit (see pictures) just behind it stands a huge green park on top of the cliff where the famous lighthouse (which was one of the first lighthouse ever made and built off the coast at sea and has been moved to Plymouth in commemoration after it was replaced) giving an overlook on the bay of Plymouth.
We walked along it, by this lovely sunny day. Some people were swimming. I was amazed that the coast was looking like a tropic resort which had not been refurbished in decades but gave a specific cachet to the town. It had old concrete pool, jump board and others all along the coast, this is where people seems to go for bbq or drinks in hot summer days, it must be a great social event. But it wasn't the right time.
From there we walked east to the famous Barbican area, the historic old harbour area, where remains historic buildings between the cliffs. I also suppose that this area was an historic major pirates corner or such... though I don't have the knowledge to claim it.
One historic elements was that it is there that some of the ship to the new continents left.
In that area there was also the Plymouth Gin Distillery, we walked in but as it was late during the day it was not worth paying for a tour of it. But we could have drinked some at the pub but decided not and went to a local pub where Bart's flatmate was working and had a drink there.
After this it was time to go back home and have a meal, Bartek had to go for his archery course (but also aim at his cupido love on the way too), so I watched some movie before he came back and then during the day I had tried to contact Martin (kiltboy69) who is a CS/HC member in town to meet him. He replied and we went back downtown to meet him by a local casino, we ended up doing several bars and pubs having some drinks and talking till late at night where we finished at a local casino where I got a member card (yeehaa) and they bet their money.
Of course we were back really late.
Late night yesterday... so of course we woke up late too so at first we thought it was too late to go to Dartmoor. But finally after a short moment, we kicked ourselves and said well lets try and go anyway instead of losing the day. So we made sandwiches and lunch and headed to the bus station to catch a local bus out of Plymouth. From there we simply walked along the road for a few miles towards the high hills and the park and hiched. Finally we caught a lift to the tiny settlement in the middle of the park, enjoying a bit what sort of landscape full of grazeland and hilly scape was going to be our day of enjoyment.
Our first sight upon arrival to Princetown, was a general view to Dartmoor Correctional Service.
Then we immediately went to the tourist office, watched the exhibits about how the landscape was created. Which is a purely man-made late iron age and especially Antiquity landscape result. As in the past, Dartmoor's land were plentiful of trees... but the Great-Britain being an island, wood are required for the naval industry... the roman were certainly a major consumer.
Geologically, Dartmoor is different than all other part of England. Obviously some granit island in the surrounding Limestone that England is, making this part as the oldest land in the country. It was also never subdue to the Ice Age, the glacier surrounded it but did not cover it.
We talked to some representant about what would be possible to do and visit while we are there. Bart wanted to visit a waterfall, but that was on the other side of Dartmoor, no way we could do so. So we simply took the nearest trail which was heading south, in the general direction of Plymouth. We talked, watched the multitude of sheeps and free horses, took a sandwich brake and walked further until the summit of one tiny Tor (the stony summit). Enjoying the landscaping view, we had to walk further to gain the road again (after crossing some old late middle-age quarry) which we did at late sunset. Now the question was if we would get a ride back! There was a recreative parking nearby with one car.
The ride back to Plymouth and Bart did go again to meet his lovely ... err arrow thrower. I watched some more movies relaxing and having a decent meal.
Not much, a quiet day. Did a short walk and relaxed for the rest.
Finally, I tried the back door and that was the key I had. But then I was just in courtyard but luckely the next door wasn't locked. Luckely, I made my way in, ate something and didn't venture outside anymore.
A day off from travelling, so nothing but trying to contact people for further west into Cornwall or at least making an idea of where to go.
It took me long to pack, I left some overweight of luguages at Bart's place, so that I could take them on the way back and took some of his camping gear instead with me just in case I would need it as I didn't have any confirmation of where to go in Cornwall as I had no answers.
I started to leave the city by foot, after having reached the right road to leave and nearing the highway I started to pull my thumb up trying to hitch further. It wasn't the best environment but at least it worked. I got a ride out of Plymouth all the way to Liskeard area. There the highway was in construction so traffic was going slow and that is where the driver left me. So it was looking good, it took a moment but nothing too bad and I got another lift but for a short distance as we reached a crossroad in Dobwalls/Doublebois where the main road splits in 2 branches. She was going south. I didn't know where to go but finally took the chance of staying on the northern path towards Newquay which I thought was a right destination. It seems I did a good thing because not long after I received a phone call from Sandra, from Camborne, which I had written on CS and was responding to my message.
So that was a good question of where I would end up!
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