Postbridge ,Two Bridges ,dry stone walls , walking dartmoor

Princetown Travel Blog

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Dry stone wall and farm

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 .

Postbridge both bridges and river

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 .

Postbridge post office

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 Dartmoor are very clean (to look at)and also very cold , often quite shallow and with small boulders  on the riverbed .

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 uk fuel at £5 per gallon !) and two meals  only came to a total of about  £55 that’s $110 .

Two bridges hotel , the other bridge is out of shot , featured bridge has two arches

 

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 .

View from two arched bridge

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 .

dartmoor ponies

 

Dartmoor  was the setting for the book and film ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.

 

It is not until you stay overnight in this area  that you know  what true silence is , it is sooooooo  quiet  here at night .

 

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Princetown information centre

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.

information centre display

 

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 .

Dartmoor Prison entrance , abandon all hope those who enter here ,(not really , its a category C prison nowadays)
Again there is an honesty box  for this which a suggestion that visitors leave at least 20p (less than half a dollar ).This is very good value and very educational and interesting for kids as well  as adults , you can easily  spend 90 mins in there  and there is a front desk  with helpful staff  who give information on the whole National park .

 

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 .

the road ahead Princetown cycleway

 

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  .

Peacock and oap at Badgers Holt
I think it is sad and hardly ever go to a zoo  to see animals and birds which have had their liberty taken away  for mans’ ‘benefit’.

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 .

Dartmoor Prison

There are several  national parks in the UK , I have seen the lovely Brecon Beacons in South Wales and have good reports about the Peak District  and am planning a visit to the (legendary) Lake District  later this year .

 

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) .

Badgers Holt river dart
There is also a lot available online , just search in google.uk .

 

 

 

 

 

Dartmoor  myths and legends  : http://www.discoverdartmoor.co.uk/things-to-do/myths-legends.asp

 

Princetown  there is a virtual tour  at this  site : http://www.

discoverdartmoor.co.uk/things-to-do/town-details.asp?Town=32

 

Dartmoor prison : http://www.dartmoor-prison.co.uk/index.html

 

 

 

Dry stone wall  and farm
Dry stone wall and farm
Postbridge  both bridges and river
Postbridge both bridges and river
Postbridge post office
Postbridge post office
Two bridges hotel , the other brid…
Two bridges hotel , the other bri…
View from two arched bridge
View from two arched bridge
dartmoor ponies
dartmoor ponies
Princetown information centre
Princetown information centre
information centre display
information centre display
Dartmoor Prison entrance , abandon…
Dartmoor Prison entrance , abando…
the road ahead  Princetown cycleway
the road ahead Princetown cycleway
Peacock and oap  at Badgers Holt
Peacock and oap at Badgers Holt
Dartmoor Prison
Dartmoor Prison
Badgers Holt river dart
Badgers Holt river dart
noisy white geese at Badgers Holt
noisy white geese at Badgers Holt
Postbridge , the modern bridge
Postbridge , the 'modern' bridge
river dart
river dart
Postbridge  black and white sheep
Postbridge black and white sheep
Postbridge  clapper bridge and peo…
Postbridge clapper bridge and pe…
Princetown kids playing
Princetown kids playing
river dart  at Badgers Holt
river dart at Badgers Holt
Old Police Station cafe
Old Police Station cafe
cyclepath view , remains of granit…
cyclepath view , remains of grani…
chaffinch
chaffinch
noisy white geese at Badgers Holt
noisy white geese at Badgers Holt
two peacocks  at B.H.
two peacocks at B.H.
Badgers Holt entrance
Badgers Holt entrance
river  dart at B.H
river dart at B.H
broken clapper bridge  at B.H.
broken clapper bridge at B.H.
Princetown info centre  strange go…
Princetown info centre strange g…
peacocks
peacocks
proud peacock
proud peacock
typical stunted tree dartmoor
typical stunted tree dartmoor
dartmoor ponies
dartmoor ponies
Dartmoor  behind Pricetown near ol…
Dartmoor behind Pricetown near o…
Dartmoor scene
Dartmoor scene
river dart
river dart
river dart , badgers holt
river dart , badgers holt
Badgers Holt..trees covered in ivy
Badgers Holt..trees covered in ivy
Badgers holt silver brich  broken …
Badgers holt silver brich broken…
Princetown info centre
Princetown info centre
princetown info centre audio guides
princetown info centre audio guides
Princetwon kids playing  near carp…
Princetwon kids playing near car…
group of dark cows on the moor
group of dark cows on the moor
horses on a hill
horses on a hill
meadow pipit i think , could be a …
meadow pipit i think , could be a…
dry stome wall
dry stome wall
princetown info centre display
princetown info centre display
Princetown
photo by: redzzed