Woods & Moor

For a decade, my wife and I lived in a cabin way down at the end of a gravel track, in the middle of a wooded valley on the edges of Dartmoor. The property was originally the site office for a Hematite mine and still had two old mine entrances in the garden, with many more scattered throughout the valley.

It was a place of contrasts – the sheer overwhelming beauty of springtime after a hard, dark and cold winter in the valley depths, the serenity of living immersed in peace and the tranquility of nature, offset the almost daily adventures that living in such a place involved. We’ve moved a couple of miles further up onto the moor now, tucked away amongst the notorious Devon lanes. We are blessed to enjoy living next to a different wild valley now, with a slightly milder flavour of Wild, and a heap more sunshine. The magic of this land seeps slowly into your bones, the longer you stay

So here’s the invitation.

Come for an adventure in the wilds of the Beadon Valley, and roam with me high and low through Lustleigh Cleave. Spots that I’m blessed to call home.

R.I.P. dear Omelette the Magnificent. King of the Tors and all he surveyed (or so he thought).

The melting shapes of Ravens Rock, whose beaked form looks out over the Cleave.

For a texture freak, it’s all about the textures, textures, textures!

A bejewelled forest floor. It’s said that Amanita Muscaria can convey feelings of giantess upon those who partake. Reindeer chow down. Foxes nibble. I didn’t think our dog did though, but how else could this picture be explained?!

Dartmoor has a spellbinding combination of upland open expanses, denuded of all but the most hardy and wizened trees, and full of glistening streams slowly cutting valleys as the water leaves the Granite edges of the moor. It takes a hardy type to live “up top”, and we, like the oaks, keep our heads down from the winds. It’s in amongst the woodlands and waterfalls of the valleys, that my heart belongs.

At the bottom of the valley, the river Bovey winds its way. The Bovey Clam is believed to be one of the last surviving traditionally built clam bridges on a right of way on Dartmoor. This one has a wooden handrail to help with the treacherous lack of grip on the tree trunk underfoot. I’ve not gone in yet, but both dogs did on their first attempt. They didn’t try again!

A darker deeper valley than our own, the Devil’s Cauldron at Lydford Gorge.

For a tree freak, it’s all about the trees, trees, trees! An infinitely interesting environment to be in, always changing, always new.

At the top of the valley, where the woodland meets the open moorland, the oaks wisely choose to keep themselves low, an inevitability also on the poor soil on the ridge top. Instead, they twist their branches tighter, creating compact snaking forms, a very different structure than how a giant solitary oak might grow.