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NEW ROUTE CARD: High Willhays, Yes Tor, Hangingstone Hill and Cranmere Pool

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On High Willhays, looking southThis testing 28km circuit of north Dartmoor takes in three of its four highest summits, a number of more interesting lower tors, and a whole lot of rough, boggy moorland in between. It also visits Cranmere Pool. Before the military built their roads through the Okehampton Range this was considered one of the most remote locations on the moor, and even today it takes some finding. Though no more than a reed-fringed puddle in a bog, Cranmere Pool is notable as the site of the first Dartmoor Letterbox, and you can still sign the visitor's book and stamp a card to prove you made it. Geocaching is no new thing: they've been letterboxing on Dartmoor for 150 years! To add some leafy greenery (and considerable effort) to the round, I've included an approach via the idyllic wooded valley of Belstone Cleave. Anyone looking to go easy on themselves could make things more manageable by starting at Belstone village instead. But if you're going easy then you'll probably want to avoid Cranmere Pool too, and maybe this whole walk... Note: This route is only possible when live firing is not taking place on the Okehampton Range. For scheduled firing times see www.access.mod.uk or call 0800 458 4868

Read more at http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?i=1307

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 JB 11 Nov 2020
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

This is an excellent route in an amazing location. Grew up close to Dartmoor and spent lots of time there. 

I was about to say you could extend the route to include Fur Tor which is a wonderful place...but that would add on a few more miles to what is already a long day. One for wild camping probably...

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 Sean Kelly 11 Nov 2020
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Did this walk on a baking hot day 2 summer's back. Some of the terrain is testing to say the least. Ran out of water halfway round! The northern bits of Dartmoor are so much quieter too.

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In reply to JB:

I was hoping to get in to Fur Tor via Tavy Cleave the other week, but the kids revolted (and it was going to get dark). One for next summer...

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In reply to Sean Kelly:

Bit ironic running out of water up there, but I struggled too recently. The ground was totally bogging but any running water was brown with peat and tasted like cold stewed tea 

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 JB 11 Nov 2020
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Last time I was there we did south to north over two days taking in Ducks Pool and Cranmere Pool. V misty and some hard navigation. Anyway, completed it all in one piece only to fall foul of a dodgy pasty in Okehampton and spent most of night at home in the toilet...

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 BuzyG 18 Nov 2020
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

That's a good route.  Nice change from the usual head up Cosdon Beacon from South Zeal. 

Can't count the number of times I have sat and enjoyed the peace and quite at Cranmere pool.  I find it a magical spot.  The Ted Hughes Memorial close by is another I love. Also close by is the Cist at White Horse Hill. Well worth reading up on.

https://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/cist-whitehorse-hill.htm

Fur tor has to be one of the most popular targets for any Dartmoor regular. It's a fun spot, plenty of shelter and an easy scramble to the top. Also a few climbing routes up if you take a rope.  If your walking in from Tavy Cleave it's a very pretty walk.  Just check the river levels, as Sandy Ford, over the Tavy, can be past knee deep on the wrong day and it flows quite quickly there when it's full.

https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/river-and-sea-levels

The easiest route in is probably from Postbridge, but the Tavy route is my favourite.

You have probably worked out I spend many happy days on Dartmoor each year. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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 Phil79 09:21 Thu
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Also worth a look is the Dartmoor 600, a round of all 5 of the 600m peaks (Cut Hill, Whitehorse, Hangingstone Hill, High Willhays and Yes Tor) starting from Lydford car park by the Dartmoor Inn.

About 19 miles depending upon exact route, set up as a run challenge, but would make a good walk. 

https://www.runventureonline.com/post/the-dartmoor-600-challenge

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In reply to Phil79:

Thanks, that looks great. May give it a bash next time I'm down

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In reply to BuzyG:

All those ancient remains really help make Dartmoor such a fascinating place. What was it like all those years BC when people lived up there and built stuff all over the hills? I can't imagine it was as bleak and barren as today. 

Yes, sounds like I've definitely got to get out to Fur Tor...

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 Phil79 10:09 Thu
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> All those ancient remains really help make Dartmoor such a fascinating place. What was it like all those years BC when people lived up there and built stuff all over the hills? I can't imagine it was as bleak and barren as today. 

Yes, I imagine it was a wonderful place, especially when there was a lot more dwarf oak forest around, like Wistmans Wood and Black-a-Tor Copse.

It still is wonderful as far as I'm concerned, just bleaker than it might have been!

Must have also been very interesting when all the more modern tin mining, streaming and granite quarries were active. 

https://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/enjoy-dartmoor/human-timeline

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 BuzyG 21:37 Thu
In reply to Phil79:

So many different ways to enjoy the Dartmoor 600s.  Done them several times from various start points.  My favourite route is to start at Two Bridges, head up to WH & Hanging Stone. Cut across via the Ted Hughes memorial and up to Yes tor.  Then back South to High Willhays Fur tor, Cut Hill and across he peat flat lands to Bear Down tors and the car.  23 miles ish, but an easy 23 miles on a dry summer day.

Post edited at 21:38
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