Postbridge ,Two Bridges ,dry stone walls , walking dartmoor
Princetown Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
Widecombe is best to visit in the morning and or the evening , when there are not so many people around , I left there heading for Princetown , but possibly got on the wrong road due to the narrowness of the roads and also because the roads are often empty enough for me to gaze at the scenery as I drive and maybe miss a turn .In some places you have to pull in to one side whilst someone coming in the opposite direction squeezes past .Many of the roads are lined with dry stone walls , sometimes the wall is completely covered in soft green moss .Dry stone walls are a feature of dartmoor and also most other rural parts of the UK , they are simply walls made of local stone without any cement/mortar to paste the stones together (as far as I know) they are simply expertly stacked and balanced and are hundreds of year old , it is a dying art , but I would think that most farmers with them on their land would be good at maintaining them .Sometimes you can see through the wall , in between the stones , many are overgrown with moss and ivy .
I was carrying my bicycle IN the back of the car , I just collapse the back seats of my old hatchback and take the front wheel off the bike and it fits in very well , but it does rattle a bit .
I came upon Postbridge which is also a very picturesque small place , just a few houses , a hotel and a post office , and of course the bridge(s) .There is a car park with a visitors centre in it , it is also a start point for some of the guided walks
I don’t usually use the information places much , I prefer the spontaneity of
making decisions and going off at tangents as I go along , the lady at the desk today was Canadian , I could tell by her accent. They always have good maps on display and you can pickup the free Dartmoor visitor paper which lists the walks ( I believe there is one every day of the year).The car park has an ‘honesty box’ suggesting that parkers should ‘pay’ 20p per hour , there is no one around to enforce it (quaint)There is a shop/post office in Postbridge which sells coffee and tea for only 80P and 70p respectively .
The clapper bridge is overlooked by a more modern bridge , here is at link :
http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/post_bridge.htm , which suggests that the clapper may date to the 1300s’ .
En route to Princetown I stopped at Two Bridges where there is a pretty hotel and not surprisingly ; two bridges , one of which has a double arch and the river Dart running through it . All of the rivers I have seen in
I think the hotel is very expensive ; about £100 per night , I would never pay so much
in fact my whole daytrip of about 200 miles (with
Still have not seen many ponies , but I have seen lots of walkers out today in groups ranging in size from 2 to about 10 .Notes on walking in Dartmoor , you really need to be dressed for it with proper boots , anorak , backpack , drink , all organized walk leaders will carry a compass and os map , a mobile phone and small first aid kit Although the moor is nice to look at from a vehicle , parts of it are boggy and marshy , usually you have to cross little streams and even in summertime , when it has 'nt rained for a week walkers still come back with mud over their trousers .More than once I have slipped a leg into a boggy bit or stream when crossing them .There are adders on the moor , they are a small snake and poisonous , however they are retiring and would only bite if provoked or trodden on , and they tend not to go on paths , but stay in little bushes and gorse .
Because the moor is at a higher level than most land , the seasons come a bit later
and every year rescue teams have to go and (and even helicopters) and bring people back .
Last year I did a ‘high moor walk’ of 5 hours in a group of about 18 and it
was some of the younger walkers who struggled to keep up for the last 2 hours .
One of the walk leaders is about 65 yrs old , a seasoned walker who has been doing it for over 50 years , he is never short of stamina .
It is not until you stay overnight in this area that you know what true silence is , it is sooooooo quiet here at night .
Today I didn’t really walk much but when I parked up at Princetown I took the bicycle out and cycled about 9 miles over a disused railway path behind the town . The cycle path runs over the route of what used to be the granite railway from when granite (for london bridge) was mined , the tracks and sleepers have been removed , but the rough stones remain , I passed quite a few other cyclists on mountain bikes , mine has no suspension and it was a rickety ride , there are some beautiful scenes and within a few miles you can get into part of the moor where there are good views on all sides and no other living beings in sight besides sheep , ponies cows and the elusive birds .
Princetown is one of the bigger and higher towns in Dartmoor it is dominated by the prison which used to be a high-security one for British villains but is now reduced to category C (whatever that means), much of the local housing will be for guards and staff at the prison, there is often a grey mist that hangs over the town which gives it an eerie frightening appearance.
The prison was built in the early 1800’s and used to imprison French prisoners of the Napoleonic wars followed by Americans captured in the war for Independence (who would nt pay their tea tax ) , they have a museum of items made by prisoners over the years but there was an entrance fee and I did not go in .Opposite the prison is a church with a graveyard , said to have the graves of some of the American prisoners .
I used the Princetown main car park , which again has an ‘honesty box’ it is next to a public lavatory which is next to the visitors centre .The visitors centre at Postbridge is excellent and has a few rooms dedicated to a Dartmoor history/geography display which includes guided audio
(in english/french/german) commentary and video displays of the area which it claims has had human habitation for 7000 years and used to be a forest thousands of years before when the climate was warmer .
Princetown always seems a little sleepy , with not many peope around , there are a few pubs and one of the cafes is being refurbished so I used the ‘Old Police Station’ which is the only other one I know of ,and was served to a young Polish waitress , who was also working there a year ago when I last visited . I got a simple ‘beans on toast’ , coffee and a pudding for about £6.30 ($13), they have seats both inside and outside , today there was a coach group in town some of whom were in the café .
Next to the café is a world war memorial with the names of local men who never returned home from ww1 and ww2 (world war) , next to that are a few trees and some children had slung a rope and were using it as a swing .
Leaving Princetown after several hours and with the bicycle stored in the back of the car I headed out on the Ashburton road and came across Badgers Holt which is a restaurant/shop next to the river Dart , have never been here before but although the signpost stated that the facilities were open until 6 pm , they were obviously getting ready to close up at 16:45 and I didn’t try to get a coffee .
Whilst coming to terms with this sad news I noticed that there was a peacock in full display ‘showing off’ to two pensioners , being ‘quick on the draw’ I managed to get a pic which included one of the pensioners .Possibly the peacock was camera shy because he withdrew all his feathers and didn’t display again .
They had some cages here and had some funny hens , some noisy white geese , some japanese pheasants all caged up , probably for the benefit of tourists .
Anyway , despite my sympathy for them the white geese had no sympathy with me and kicked up a tremendous din and heckling of me as I took a few pics .
The river dart was busy gurgling and rippling away and there was another clapper bridge at Badgers Holt , this one was part demolished .There were lots of wild birds here but they would not keep still , the cool clear river was lovely there are a few pics at the bottom of this blog .
That’s about all , funny but I have done 4 entries for a daytrip , I have an affinity for the English countryside but also very much like parts of Wales and Scotland and was in Ireland a year ago (Mayo) and that is also beautiful .
There are several national parks in the
I work in IT for an International company and we use an internal version of Msn Messenger , using it I sent a few dartmoor pics to a collegue in Amsterdam and he says he wants ‘ to go and live there ‘ !
Thx for the smilies everyone , I am a bit taken a back because I received half as many in two days as I received the previous 11 months , excuse me if I miss any one out as I smile back .
Next blog will be New York in three weeks , after that I must go a bit quieter because sometimes I am thinking TB blog instead of enjoying where I am ;-)
Anyone want help/tips on dartmoor visits please msg me , there is a LOT more of Dartmoor that I have not covered here (or even seen) .
Princetown there is a virtual tour at this site : http://www.
Dartmoor prison : http://www.dartmoor-prison.co.uk/index.html