In his next route Tom Davies takes us further afield to Dartmoor for a circular walk of 7.2 miles around the village of Manaton. Like most walks on Dartmoor it provides spectacular views at the cost of some serious ascents.
There is a choice of starting points with car parks, but here I choose Manaton car park close to the cricket field and church (A).
Leave the car park and cross the road you will have probably driven up coming from Bovey Tracey and carry on down a lane to (B) where there is a footpath sign on your right. Take this track and begin a long climb to the top of Hayne Down (C) taking time to look at the famous Bowerman’s Nose rock before descending to the lane at (D) and walking towards the car park at (E) which usually hosts an ice cream van.
Take the track up to the right of Hound Tor. Legend has it that a witch turned a pack of hounds into the rocks and also the huntsman into Bowerman’s Nose.
Descend from Hound Tor bearing right on clear tracks across Holwell Lawn until you reach a clapper bridge over the River Becky (G). This is an excellent picnic spot.
From here climb to Smallacombe Rocks (H) and continue to the summit of Black Hill (I), where you will be rewarded with stunning views to the south over Bovey Tracey and down to Teignmouth and the sea, and a large number of well known tors to the north and west.
There is a steep descent from (I) to the road at (J) at which point a stony bridleway on your left also joins the road. Take this track to arrive at the tiny hamlet of Leighton, (K). As you leave the hamlet you will reach a private road but on your left is a signposted footpath which passes through pretty woods and fields before joining a lane at (L). Turn right and you will soon see the Manaton church ahead.
Inspection of the Ordnance Survey map OL28 will reveal several options to shorten or lengthen this walk or start from another point eg Haytor.