PUPERS HILL, SNOWDON AND RYDERS HILL FROM HOLNE
START POINT: HOLNE CAR PARK GRID REF: 706696

The walk on Wednesday Wed 24th July attracted 25 Ramblers much to the surprise of the leader of the day John Roberts and his controller Norman.

The Walk started from the car park at Holne and was shown as an 11 mile walk without too many steep climbs. On the Wednesday the small car park at Holne was completely full with Ramblers car as and quite a few walkers had to leave their cars on the road in the village.

The outline of the route shown above should be used together with an Ordnance Survey map of the Dartmoor such as the 1:25000 leisure map no 28. Under no circumstances should the outline be used as the source navigational map.

John welcomed everybody at the start on the this nice sunny day and indicated that there were no really steep climbs on the walk, although the reality was definitely slightly different from this.

We left to the car park, turned left onto the road and headed to the first junction were the signpost in showed Scorriton and Michelcombe.

We headed off in the direction of Scorriton.

 

After a short distance the country lane turned right and we continued on south down a bridle track which descended for a few hundred yards before coming out once again onto another narrow country lane at a junction with a cross in the middle of the grass triangle of the junction.

We turned right and walked for a hundred yards before turning South East and walking along a lane away from Scorriton.

 

At a junction we turned right headed towards the hamlet of Combe.

This is a very pretty hamlet with some beautiful cottages, most of them thatched and most had lovely gardens.

Leaving Combe, we crossed over a little bridge and turn right, up a narrow lane heading towards Higher Coombe.

Since leaving Holne, we had been going mostly downhill. Some of us reflected on the fact that if we were going to the higher Moorland, then when we go down we must also go up again. The "easy" climb was about to commence.

We left the lane turning off to the left on a bearing of approximately 240 degrees following a public footpath up through Lakemoor Wood.

It was certainly uphill all the way here and on such a warm day we took the opportunity to rest whenever we got the chance. We left the wood and continued to climb through fields and a climb it most certainly was, quite strenuous in fact.

When we questioned John about this, he replied that it would have been much worse had we gone in the other direction, and gone up to the moor along Sandy Way from Michelcombe.

When we got to the top of the hill we stopped for morning coffee, a very welcome rest point. we still haven't actually reached the moor yet, so there was still a fair amount of uphill to go.

We followed the path through the field until we came to a few houses and narrow track running East / West. We could see the Moor high above us to our West.

Turning right, we headed along the track, climbing as we did so, much less steeply than the previous section through the woods and fields until we reached a gate opening out on to the open moorland.

The Gate is shown on the OS map as Ludd Gate.

 

Once on the moor, we looked up hill and there high above us about half a mile away to the West was the first point we were aiming for, Pupers Hill.

We made our way up this is very steep climb at our own pace. On such a clear day there were no problems in doing this and after about 15 minutes we reached the top of the hill and saw Tor like rocks and then a cairn.

We stopped here to rest, and to enjoy the splendid views, looking out across the moor.

We could see a track heading NNW towards the next high point, marked on the map as Snowdon.

We were still climbing but much more gently than before and the going was a relatively easy, although in wet weather it could be very squelchy indeed.

After a half mile or so we reached the second of our targets for the moor, Snowdon.

Snowdon may have the same name as a mountain in North Wales but I have to admit that the similarity ends there, the main indication of Snowdon is a seemingly collapsed barrow. There are some good views looking down from the moors though looking east.

We followed an easy path, heading North West, up towards the highest point on the southern part of Dartmoor, that of the Ryders Hill, which is 515 metres high .

There is nothing of any great significance, in terms of rocks, at this high point simply a stone and a trig point.

We stopped here for our lunch break and many of us took the opportunity to pick out several features of the southern part of Dartmoor that we could see it from this high vantage point.

 

Others had a slightly different hidden agenda and one of our group is normally miles away from the rest in his quest for letterboxes on the moor.

On this occasion he was actually captured in action recording details of the letterbox very close to the summit of Ryders' Hill.

It really was to be all downhill from here, since we were at the highest point in this part of Dartmoor there was little else it could be but down.

 

Leaving Ryders Hill, we headed off North West for about half a mile until we reached Holne Ridge and at this point we turned more easterly and made our way near by some old tin workings, avoiding several quite boggy areas en route.

We continued across semi tussocky moorland until we came upon an clearly defined track called Sandy Way track, which if we followed it would take us all the way down to a Michelcombe.

This would have been a very steep descent a long a quite rough track, indeed the steep track which we would have had to ascend had we followed the walk in the other direction.

John, realising that it would be hard going even downhill displayed his usual flexibility, and we took a alternative route, having descended the along the Sandy Way track for about half a mile. We turned off to the left, along another moorland track heading more North East and descending gradually.

Below us and off to our left, we could see Venford reservoir, which many of us had driven by on our way to Holne.

 

John had taken this detour, from his original planned route, to overcome the steep descent across the rough track and therefore this element of the walk was the only section which had not been pre planned and reccied.

No problems, we had several so-called map readers and navigation experts with us. We crossed a Ford gradually aiming for a road we could see coming down from the reservoir which we knew then led to Holne.

Well that's what we ended up doing, the plan had been to re-emerge much lower down Sandy Way near Michelcombe, and John had a few 'I told you so' looks from young Norman who had reccied the walk with him and who had suggested that we kept to the original route.

We turned right, headed south then left, and crossed another ford. One or two got wet feet here because it was rather deeper than that looked.

 

We could see a large house below us with a high fence around it with barbed wire at strategic points.

Obviously the person who lives there jealously guards his (or indeed her) privacy.

We reached the wall and followed it around until we came to the entrance to the House and found it was called "The Shanty".

We turned left and walked North for a short distance until we came upon the country road from Venford Reservoir we had seen from the moor at the point on the map where there is a disused quarry right by the side of the road

Never lost but back on the right track for the final downhill section.

We followed the road down, heading south East until we came to a fork in the road. We took the right fork and continued on a down the road for another few hundred yards.

We could see the village of Holne off to our left and we came upon a footpath which we took, which led us to the village Church and thence into the village itself. We turned right and we were back at the car park once again by about 3 PM.

The walk was of the order of 10 miles and we thanked John for all his efforts in keeping us entertained throughout the walk.

We congratulated him on his off the cuff diversions. It had been a very enjoyable experience in the sun and a few of us decided the village pub and was worth a visit to round off the walk. Unfortunately the pub had stopped serving beer 30 minutes before we arrived so our hopes were dashed.

No problems, there were plenty of other pubs on the way back and we stopped at Princetown and into the Plume of Feathers, so what are Holne could not provide Princetown did.