Another day out on Dartmoor – this time a day off with DH while the girls were at school. We had a number of jobs to do, planned around a trip to Tavistock to pick up chicken feed … so we simply extended our day to go further north and include a return visit to Lydford Gorge and a first visit to the church at Brentor.

It was a good day – we even had fun getting there! I have a new phone and it’s apps include a basic satnav system we’ve christened Sally … it took a while to persuade DH to use it, but eventually he was impressed, we were both convinced she works and then we were able to switch her off since we knew the way anyway!

We stopped first at Brentor Church.

Brentor Church, St Michael de Rupe

The church is in regular use during the summer, and on a clear sunny day it felt warm and worshipful, if rather dark inside.

St Michael de Rupe interior looking East

As we were climbing up the hill we noticed a mist in the valley below, and mistakenly took it for a river mist. But by the time we reached the summit – and the church is at the very top – the mist was edging round us from both sides.

Looking East

Looking West

Nevertheless, we took the time to explore a little, and were delighted to find this stone …

Be careful to read the inscription …

No hint as to what he and his friends ranted about!

From the South side

As the mist continued to roll in, it threatened to get rather chilly, but it never really took hold of our position on the top and by the time we reached the car again it appeared to have drifted past. The views both with and without the mist were spectacular.

Looking South

From the summit looking East

It was still only late morning, and we had planned to eat at Lydford Gorge (at the café at the waterfall end for those of you who know Lydford Gorge). Instead, we parked at the lower end by the Devil’s Cauldron and walked the higher side of the gorge to reach the café in time for lunch. Then back along the disused railway line to the bird hide …

The bird hide at Lydford Gorge, on the disused railway line

I had been before with friends, but it was the first visit to the hide with DH … so many cole (or coal) tits, bluetits, great tits, even a few marsh tits, a jay too, although we never had a clear view, and a number of huthatch, so distinctive. I only had my small camera with me, so no photos this time.

After that, we continued our way back along the rocky side of the Gorge. Most people leave the Gorge after the Devil’s Cauldron, although the path does go further … we followed it to it’s (public) end at the rock pool, but the path continues further.

I love the textures of woodland and geology … it’s quite dark down in the rocky section, so no photos there, but we stopped to appreciate various views both macro and micro …

Bark texture (I wish I knew more about trees and could identify species … )

From the woodland path

Again, on the woodland path

Bark along the disused railway

At one time one side of the Gorge, now the wooded path, belonged to the railway, while the other was in private ownership. I imagine the path along the rocky side of the gorge was once part of an estate, possibly Victorian, but other than this paragraph I’m unable to find out much about it …

(Lydford Gorge) became National Trust Property when Mr T.H.Radford generously gave it to them in 1943. The Trust then bought further land in 1963 to enable what had once been a single track along the bottom of the gorge and down to the Devil’s Cauldron and back, to be extended to a circular walk that includes a new section along the top through the woods on the eastern side.

extract from http://www.lydfordparishcouncil.co.uk/lydfordhistory.htm

When we emerged from the Gorge it immediately felt warmer … there’s little sunlight and the heat doesn’t penetrate far into the woodland or down into the Gorge itself.

It was a good day off … and although we still had jobs to do on the way home (mustn’t forget the chicken feed), one we’ll remember for a while. It’s been a glorious ‘Indian Summer’ so far …

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