NORSWORTHY BRIDGE TO CHILDS CROSS CIRCULAR WALK
START POINT: 568 694

Dave Tromans, on his first walk as a leader for the group, was lucky with the weather on 4th Oct 00. After gale force winds on the Tuesday, Wednesday dawned bright with light winds and a temperature forecast to be 16 degrees C by the afternoon.

13 walkers, including 4 walkers new to the Wednesday group met at Norsworthy Bridge for a 10 AM start. Dave briefly outlined the route he planned to take and an outline of the route we took is given below.

 outline of route here
This outline should be related to a 1:25000 ordnance survey map of Dartmoor such as the leisure map no 28 to follow the route we took in the correct detail.

At just gone 10 AM we left the Norsworthy Bridge Car park made our way towards Norsworthy Bridge and turned right up a stony path/track which led up to the moors above skirting the side of a plantation.

We gradually climbed up towards the moors turning back to enjoy the views looking back towards Burrator reservoir below us. After a half a mile we left the wooded area and continued up with the moorland now all around us.

After a few hundred years we reached to a large gert on our left hand side.

We made our way up alongside the gert to the end of the gert where there is a well known beauty spot, Crazywell Pool. In the sunlight the pool, the site of a long gone large mining pit, looked most inviting. Only two years ago a young trainee marine had drowned swimming across it. Perhaps looking at it is better.

After stopping by the pool we continued our climb up towards the higher moor until we intercepted Devonport leat which once carried water from the high moors and the West Dart river above Two Bridges all the way down to Plymouth.

The water flowing in the leat still supplies the people of Plymouth but now the water flows into Burrator from where it is filtered and distributed.

We crossed over the leat and turned right and followed the leat upstream for a mile or so.

Leat side walking is very easy and we made good progress and enjoyed the views of the moor all around us.

The leat flowed relatively straight for a while but then swung right and then left as it followed the contours of the moor around us.

 

After a few more hundred yards the leat disappeared into a man made tunnel carved out a couple of hundred years ago since there was no contour to follow above ground.

We passed the entrance to the tunnel and just beyond found a nice sheltered spot to stop for our morning coffee.

We stopped by the side of a derelict building, once a thriving blacksmith's foundry, I was advised.

Whatever it was it is now completely derelict, as our many of the buildings once associated with the mining which took place all over the moor in this area.

After the break we made our way up to a wide track at the summit of the hill which links Princetown to a monastry off the moor, it is known as the Abbots Way.

The point we arrived at was just beside a large cross Nunn's Cross and just behind that there is an old disused farmhouse called Nunns' Cross Farm.

It is now being renovated and will soon have a role again, but this time as a bunkhouse for walkers who wish to overnight at this remote point on the moor.

Passing by the farm, we followed a dry stone wall along and soon cam upon the point where the Deveonport Leat went underground and into the tunnel, we were back on the leat side once again.

As we walked along the leat side we could see ahead of us a large flat area of moor, it is in fact FoxTor mire and it is most dangerous to try to cross it.

We came to a dry stone wall which led down to a brook and then extended on into the moor. We passed by the wall and then made our way down by the side of it. The wall ran by a number of brooks first down a slope up the other side as it extended along at the west end of the mire. Above us to the right we could see Fox Tor which gave the mire on our left hand side its name.

After almost half a mile of following the wall we could see a stone cross two hundred yards to our left virtually due north of the Fox Tor.

We made our way across to the cross on a plinth, Child's Cross by name and as legend goes it the site of a gruesome events hundreds of years ago. A gentlemen called Child was riding out on the moor, got lost and was caught out on the moor on a very cold night. He killed his horse, disembowelled it and lay inside the dead horse in an attempt to avoid the freezing temperatures. He failed and died and the cross and plinth marks the point where he died.

Leaving the cross, we made our way back north, through a gap in the dry stone wall and up to the top of Fox Tor due south of us.

An ideal point for lunch and we were there by 12.30 PM so the time and location were spot on for the lunch break.

The views were good in excellent visibility, rather different to the last walk led to this area, when in was thick fog and zero visibility. Over lunch we picked out many Tors and points of interest in the area to help us and the new walkers orientate themselves on their maps.

At just before 1 PM we were off again now on the return journey.

After the easy leat side walking we were now on the wild moor with a vengeance. No path, just boggy areas to avoid and large tussocks to plough through as we headed on about 250 degrees, skirting around Crane Hill on our way to the next point of interest.

In the distance we could see Nun's Cross Farm and as we headed generally west we were on the lookout for a cross but in this case nothing like the normal cross that is found at various points on the moor.

Our goal was the smallest cross on the moor and after excellent direction finding and not a little luck by our leader, as we gained ground after descending into a dip there it was, a small metal cross on the top of a small lump of granite.

To give an indication of how small the cross is, Dave stood beside the cross and held his finger up. No Dave isn't a giant so the cross is only about 3 inches high.

Sadly he had been too busy playing with houses to find out any history about the cross, and no-one else could help.

We were not finished with the tussocks yet and our next goal was Eylesbarrow and its mine workings a further half a mile on, the highest point we were to reach on the walk at 450 metres.

As we climbed up, roughly on the same bearing as before, we intercepted the wide stony track we had crossed by Nun's Cross and we turned left and made our way along it, much easier walking than we had just before over all the tussocks.

Soon we approached the mine workings of Eylesbarrow with fine views ahead of us.

We followed the track down through the mines and then down the hill until we found a path veering off to the left down towards an area called Drizzlecombe.

This track was grassy and much less stony than the track we had been on. We continued down this track as we moved parallel to the river Plym, narrow in this valley and walking was easy.

To our left we could see large standing stones and a stone row but to visit them meant crossing rather a wet area so we stayed on the track.

Down over the hill we went and then over a little rise and suddenly there was another house in front of this. Once a farm the house is now used as a bunkhouse by the military during their moorland training and there were personnel in residence at the house.

We stopped for afternoon coffee at 2.30 PM and then we were off for the final leg back to the car park by Burrator about 2 miles away on a bearing of about 330 degrees.

We made our way north up to Eastern Tor and then on to a copse in which there was another house, this one still known as the scout hut from the time it was used by the Scouts movement as the base of an adventure centre.

Just above the copse we found another small leat and we followed this north west towards some woods, above Burrator and just to the right of SheepsTor.

 

We eventually found ourselves by the side of a dry stone wall and we followed it along with the wall on our left until we found a stile, the first on this walk.

For those more used to walking fields and lanes, it was strange to them that we could walk so far without encountering one. On some lower level walks, we could have easily have crossed 20 or more stiles by this time.

We climbed over the stile and followed a small path which gradually descended down to a lower woodland area, now a form of wildlife reserve.

We were fast approaching Burrator reservoir, We followed a path through the reserve and before long we were at a very strange third and final stile/gate. This gate mechanism is most unusual and involves lifting one 'gate' entering into an enclosed area, closing the first gate and opening then being able to open the exit gate.

Yes it taxed us as well, at least those who hadn't seen it before. We eventually all got out onto the country road, which loops Burrator, the first road we had seen since leaving the car park and turned right for the final 200 yards back along the road to our car park at Norsworthy Bridge.

We got back to the car park by just before 3.30 PM, a good 5.5 hrs walk up on the moors, the weather had remained kind to us for the whole time. Dave put it down to the clean, wholesome life that he has lived, but of course those that know him don't believe that in the least.

For his first walk as a leader ' the boy had done good', well enough to be allowed to lead again in the future was the general feeling so watch the walks list Dave . All's well that ends well and everybody seemed to enjoy their romp up on the moors on a nice sunny Autumn day.

Those that know Dartmoor might comment, "tis not always such a balmy comfortable place to be".