POSTBRIDGE TO QUINTIN'S MAN VIA TEIGNHEAD FARM AND BACK VIA SANDY HOLE PASS
START POINT: POSTBRIDGE CP GRID REF: 648789

We have plenty of walks starting from Postbridge Car Park ( 20 miles from Plymouth incidentally) but with a large car park, toilets and even an information centre, it isn't difficult to see why it is a popular walks base.

This walk was to visit Quintins Man via Teignbridge Farm for an 11 to 12 mile walk on Wednesday 6th May 02.

Dartmoor was almost balmy for the 18 walkers who turned up at the start point at Postbridge CP for a 10 AM start. Relatively warm and good long spells of sunshine were the order of the day.

outline of route taken
An outline map of the route is is given above. The map should as ever to related to an ordnance survey map of Dartmoor such as the OS leisure 1:25000 map no 28 which is ideal.

We set off at 10 AM walked up the main road and over the road bridge over the East Dart and then turned left through a gate and headed up along two sides of a field which brought us down to the East Dart once more. We turned right and follow a track along the side of the river for a hundred yards or so before emerging onto the moor. Rather than follow a track close to the river, we headed up towards Hartland Tor about 400 yards uphill. By doing this we avoided a nasty little bog which we would have found had we continued along the original track.

Once upto the Tor we followed the signed track which ran high above the East Dart along slowly climbing ground, fairly easy going. Eventually we passed through a dry stone wall and could see the East Dart swinging off to the left.

 

We continued to follow the track more or less due north and soon came upon the remains of an old dry stone Beehive Hut, marked on the map as such. This was an excellent spot for morning coffee before continuing on heading north.

The ground off to the left beyond the Beehive hut is quite boggy so it is important to follow the path just to the right of the tell tale reedy area. A few hundred yards further up you will see some evidence of peat cutting and peat banks.

Keep just to the left of these and follow the track as it swings north west for a short distance across a narrow brook. The clearly defined path of short cropped grass then swings north again and it continues to climb up steadily.

Off to the right you can see a forestry commission area known as Fernworthy Forest, covering a wide expanse of the moor.

Before long you will reach the twin stone circles known as Grey Wethers. Getting on for a hundred years ago these were restored and are now a fine example of the hundreds of stone circles up on Dartmoor.

Pass through the stone circles and follow the track up towards a dry stone wall directly ahead of you.

There is an old gate which you cross through before following the track on and slowly up as it approaches the edge of Fernworthy Forest.

Before reaching the edge of the forest swing north and walk parallel to the wall bounding the the forest. Pass through a dry stone wall and then head down and away from the forest.

You can clearly see an old farm and a small copse off to the west.

 

This is Teignhead Farm but you cannot go directly to it since the area is quite marshy and in any event the R. Teign runs between the track and the farm.

Ahead of you there is a substantial clapper bridge spanning the river.

Make your way down to the bridge and after crossing it head generally south west up towards the now derelict farm.

 

I wonder when it was last worked, long ago by the state of the remains of the building there.

It is a good place for a break sheltered as it is. Make your way to the north of the farm buildings and the copse, climbing up a small hill and crossing over a dry stone wall.

From here on for a mile or so the going is quite featureless and a map and compass are very useful indeed. Quintin's Man is just under a mile away on a bearing of 250 degrees and the map show that the best path to take follow is one around the contours to the south of the local hill at 495 m.

On the day of the walk is was very easy to pick it out. There was firing on Okehampton range and there was a prominent red flag on the skyline, reminding us of the limit of our travels. the flag is close to the side of Quintins Man and on a clear day serves to give a good aiming point.

Once around on the west side of the hill there is a large valley ahead of you through which flows the Great Varracombe brook. It is best not to descend directly down to the brook, rather descend slowly heading west and cross the brook, only very narrow at this point and easy to get across.

If you have got it right on the other side of the brook there is a old tinners hut, clearly marked on the OS map.

The terrain in the area of the valley is surprisingly dry, hardly any bog at all compared with what we can often find in flat areas.

 

 

From the brook continue on about 250 degrees again and a few hundred yards on cross another brook and just after that the ground rises sharply, very sharply indeed, it is the steepest section of the walk.

There is a dry stone wall running across 2/3 of the way up the steep climb and there is a stile to aim for. On the way up there was a nice sheltered spot with excellent views looking back towards Fernworthy Forest from this point.

We stopped here for lunch and it was nicely warm out of the wind in the little hollow. After crossing the stile, the climb continues for another 100 yds before the ground begins to flatten out and directly ahead of you there is a military flag pole warning you that you are entering a military range.

Just off to the right of the flagpole is Quintin's Man and just beyond it two military huts.

What then is Quintin's Man, it looks like a collapsed cairn on the local high point, Why is it so called? Normally a 'Man' is a large standing stone in Dartmoor parlance. There is no sign of one here and the books on Dartmoor that I have offered no explanation.

The range marker poles show that we are now ride on the edge of the firing range and they also act as a useful guide for the route to take.

There was also a range warden whose role in life is to sit in the hut when the range is active keeping a lookout for walkers in the vicinity. He seemed quite happy that we were well briefed on the local range activities and could be trusted to keep out of the active ranges.

About a quarter of a mile off to the west lies Teign Head, the start of the river Teignmouth which flows all the way to the sea at Teignmouth, a well known Devon coastal resort.

From Quintin's Man our next target was Statts House and one of Philpott's peat passes.

Statts House is about a mile due south from Quintin's Man and the walking is relatively easy following a well worn track used by the military range warden when he drives across the moor raising and lowering the firing warning flags.

The path takes us down in an easy descent, across the river Teign and then up the other side towards Statt's House.

The River Teign can in fact be rather deeper than we might like and consequently less than easy to ford. Having said that, even if the ford is deeper than one would like, head upstream and you'll soon find a place to get across (you hope).

As can be seen from the picture the river was quite low and crossing it was easy, a lot easier in fact than when I had crossed it on the recce many months ago.

Once over the Teign follow the wide track up hill and near the top you'll pass an old derelict Tinners Hut in a very poor state.

Carry on up, on a day with reasonable visibility, you can see Sittaford Tor off to the north east with a track heading down and across to our next target point.

Carry on up the track and you should see the start of the peat pass.

About 50 yards away to the south east lies Statt's House, it probably has had the walls rebuilt since it looks in a good state of repair even without a roof. The walls are very thick.

Having inspected Statt's House make your way back to the start of the Peat Pass.

There are a number of peat pass cuttings in this area of Dartmoor and all are characterised by a plaque at either end erected by the son and brother of Mr Philpotts who made them over a hundred years ago.

With careful inspection you should be able to read the commerative inscription from the photograph to the side of this text.

Make your way south west down the peat pass, difficult to realise what it once was, little more than a narrow sheeps track in places but you'll know when you get to the far end, another plaque marks the spot.

Do not carry on south west from here otherwise you'll end up in the middle of Broad Marsh not a good idea.

 

You have two real choices.

You could turn onto a bearing of about 170 degrees and skirt the easterly edge of the bog. It is rather wet but quite passable and after 500 yards or so you'll pass rocky outcrops to your left and the East Dart River dead ahead.

This will bring you to Sandy Hole Pass and you can walk along close to the north bank of this pass with the East Dart channelled down through it.

As the terrain flattens out swing more south east and a few hundred yards further down you will be at the waterfall, a well known local beauty spot on the East Dart.

The other choice, shown in green on the map, and the one that we took on the walk, is to head more west/north west and keep to the high ground west of the bog heading across to Rocks and just below them to the East Dart River.

Unless the river is in spate there is a crossing point about 100 yds above Kit Rocks via a series of large stones.

The river was surprisingly low and the crossing was managed by everyone with little difficulty.

 

Once across the river then simply follow the river along as it flows down.

There is a long sweep of the river as it makes it's way around Broad Marsh and then enters the Sandy Hole Pass.

For most of the pass you can keep close by the river with occasional excursions to slightly higher ground to avoid boggy areas.

You can clearly see where the miners increased the flow rate of the river to carry sediment from the mines further down river through the pass.

 

A few hundred yards further down the river you come across a local beauty spot, the Waterfall.

It is a nice spot to rest, on a nice sunny day and to have a tea break.

Unusually just above the waterfall there are some large flat rocks and these enable people to cross the river even when the flow rate is quite high.

This would have been the crossing point had we taken route A from the bottom of the peat pass (which we did on the recce incidentally).

 

 

As can be seen from the photo several of the ladies decided to enjoy the sun and relax for the afternoon break.

After the break we followed the path way above the southern bank of the river and then headed more east rather than follow the wide track south east directly back to Postbridge.

Keep high above the river below over a hill and then descend again slightly north east towards the point where the East Dart swings round and heads due south.

 

Just beyonds where the river swings due south pass through a dry stone wall and descend slowly to where there is a barely discernable leat take off point. No water flow through it now but it was built to supply water to the Powder Mills two or three miles to the south west.

Having located the leat take off point simply follow it along for a mile crossing over a stile en route. After the mile or so the leat swings right as it follows the contours and leaves the river Dart below and heads off west towards an area marked on the map as Braddon Lake.

Over another stile, turn left and descend steeply to cross a brook and then up south east the other side and follow a dry stone wall to your left past the Roundy Park Settlement. The somewhat rocky track finally exits the open moorlands through a gate and leads us back towards Postbridge only a few hundred yards to the south east.

Before long the outline of the Dartmoor National Parks Information Centre and car park can be seen and just by the Information Centre enter the car park from whence we departed at 10 AM.

We had been walking relatively steady pace, and had stopped for breaks for no more than 50 minutes in total and arrived back at about 3.30, a walking time of a shade under 5 hrs. On that basis I imagine the walk was of the order of 11 miles