A cold and quiet day with hardly a breath of wind during the morning and a little sunshine throughout the day was ideal for a winter walk.  

At seven miles, this was not a long walk but with the terrain tricky in places it certainly felt longer.  

There were a couple of steep woodland climbs and descents and one or two challenging stream crossings. 

 Picking their way up and down rough stony paths made for slow going at times.  Spectacular moorland views and beyond were enjoyed throughout the walk.

The group of 20 walkers set out from Scorhill Farm heading for Gidleigh Woods, a mix of coniferous and broadleaf woodland where several slotted stone gateposts featuring double rows of deep slots can be found.

  Not far from the track is Gidleigh Tor with great views across to Kestor. 

 The 16th century village church in nearby Gidleigh is one of the few in Britain with a stream running through the churchyard.  

The Manor of Gidleigh was owned by the Prouz family between the 13th and 16th centuries.  William de Prouz built the fortified Manor House in 1324 now known as Gidleigh Castle which is architecturally very similar to Okehampton Castle and is thought to have been built by the same mason.  Very little remains of Gidleigh castle today.

The track through the woods drops down steeply to a wooden bridge over the river Teign where the group stopped for coffee.  

A further series of steep rocky climbs up and down brought them eventually onto a quiet lane near Teigncombe.  Here the group joined the Two Moors Way passing through the hamlet of Great Frenchbeer and on to Frenchbeer Rock, a small granite outcrop in the northern section of Chagford Common.  

The group stopped for a short lunch break but as a cold north easterly wind picked up they were soon on their way.   

A wide, grassy track connects Frenchbeer Rock to Middle Tor and beyond to Kestor Rock. The imposing Kestor, mostly of coarse-grained ‘tor granite’ with large feldspar crystals, dominates the skyline.  On the west side, however, ‘blue granite’ can be seen clearly.  This is fine grained and preferred by climbers for its clean sharp holds.  Kestor also hold several rock basins including, at two metres in diameter, the largest on Dartmoor. (Dartmoor Tors Compendium, Josephine M Collingwood).

The group recrossed the Teign at Teign-e-Ver Clapper Bridge then a smaller narrower clapper bridge over the Walla Brook a short distance from Scorhill Stone Circle.  

This is one of Dartmoor’s most impressive stone circles.  Only 34 stones remain of an original 65 to 70 and only 25 of those are still standing.  The tallest is over eight feet high.  Two cart tracks run through the circle giving a sense of importance. 

 One of the lying stones has marks suggesting an attempt to split is has been made using the ‘feather and tare’ method, a technique using three tools to split the stone. 

From the stones, it was just a short stretch back to the cars.  

As ever new walkers are always welcome. Meet at the post office in George Street, Okehampton on Sunday mornings ready to leave at 9.30am.   

Please be there in plenty of time so that the group can leave promptly.    Next week’s walk will be from the post office.

Where possible, we try to share cars though this cannot be guaranteed.  You should be suitably attired for all weather conditions, including sturdy footwear and bring a packed lunch.