WALKHAMPTON AND MERRIVALE AREA WALK

START POINT GRID REF: 533 696

Walkhampton is a small village on the fringe of the moors about 1 mile past Yelverton. The walk started from the community centre car park and made its way up, via Sampford Spiney to Tors in the Merrivale area.

The weather was once again kind to us on this late Autumn day on 31st Oct 99. John Davey briefed us on the walk at the start point car park by the hall and we were off at just turned 10.30 AM, just under 40 ramblers in all.

 

We left the car park and were soon in the centre of the village. There is a pleasant pub here that I have visited , well worth a call in.

The photo is of the village memorial cross.

Just across the road from the cross there is an unusual wooden duct which once carried water from the stream to drive an old water wheel.

We were soon out of the village along a narrow road heading north.

 

A half or mile or so later and we came upon an old bridge at Huckworthy. This is a very attractive little hamlet, which must have been much bigger when the mining activities were in full spate.

The river flowing under Huckworthy Bridge is the Walkham and it was surprisingly placid considering all the rain which was dumped on the moor the day before. I can imagine that in flood conditions it would be quite a torrent.

Over the bridge we swung right and were soon making our way up quite a steep hill. The old village pub which once stood here is now a country cottage and the only evidence of its previous role is the plaque on the outside.

We continued up the steep hill and were then on relatively flat ground again.

 

A mile of easy walking of roads and footpaths and we were back onto common land with short grass at Sampford Spinney where there were good views of the moors in the distance across the valley.

After a coffee break at Sampford Spiney, we continued our steady climb up to the first of the Tors, Pew Tor.

Many of the group took the opportunity to climb to the top of the Pew Tor where there were some excellent views across the valley to Kings Tor and beyond.

Leaving Pew Tor we swung north east and made our way close to Whitworth Common heading towards Merrivale. En route we passed close to the very distinctive looking Vixen Tor.

We didn't venture up Vixen Tor but made our way clockwise around it. Following a clear path, we soon came upon the Tavistock to Princetown road and we made our way down past Merrivale Quarry along the road.

 

We passed the Merrivale pub just before our lunch break down by the river Walkham and a few of the ramblers decided that the pub could provide some better quality refreshments than the river. I agreed with them but didn't partake of the amber nectar on this occasion.

So did a group of riders since their horses were tied up just outside whilst the riders were inside enjoying a drink, just like a wild west saloon.

 

The old Merrivale Bridge was where many of us took our lunch break and it was relatively sheltered there, certainly compared with the top of Pew Tor it was.

After a 30 minute lunch break, we climbed up to the new bridge and crossed the main road again, making our way down the other side of the river, along tracks passing relatively close to Kings Tor.

We left the track we made our way through woods crossing small streams running down down to the Walkham below.

Coming out of the woods, we crossed footpaths through farmers fields and, although there were no stiles on the first section of the walk, we made up for it on the return leg.

We must have climbed over at least six stiles as we made our way back to Walkhampton.

In one field we had to avoid animals which looked suspiciously like bulls, strange how the leading group of ladies suddenly became back markers.

Successfully navigating the bulls, we found ourselves at Walkhampton Church. This very attractive church is at the top of the hill leading back to the village and one of the group who came from the area was able to confirm that many descendents of many of those buried in the churchyard in the 1700s still live in the village.

 

The church steeple was surprisingly high for a small village church and there was a gargoyle near the top which protruded some five feet with a face at the end.

 

Passing through the churchard we made our way downhill and back into the village of Walkhampton again at about 3.30 PM, after a pleasant nine mile walk in good walking conditions.

Those of us, including the leader of the day John Davey, were now keen to get home to catch the Rugby World Cup semi final between New Zealand and France.

We caught most of the second half to see France make a superb come back and beat the odds on favourites. Good game !!