Saturday, 2 May 2009

#62 - Beardown Man and the Lich Way

Dartmoor; the forecast was positive for a change and with the days longer, I decided to wander about a bit up on the moors, and do some exploring. With no set route out of Postbridge, I wandered up to Broad Down, and across to Rough Tor. Taking a look at the map, I could see Devil's Tor and the standing stone they call Beardown Man. Not having visited before, I took the opportunity to check out this bronze age menhir, it's placement here being a complete mystery given the lack of a stone row or circle that usually compliments them.

I toyed with pressing on north to Fur Tor; its large granite domes peeking over the horizon, but chose, instead, to head south down the Cowsic River valley to Broad Hole, to meet the Lich Way, or "the way of the dead". The Lich Way was an ancient route that the inhabitants of the tenements in the middle of Dartmoor had to take to bury their dead in the parish church in Lydford, 12 miles away. Fortunately, dispensation was eventually given to use the church at Widecombe, in 1260.

Passed Lydford Tor, and down to the West Dart River, I eventually hopped across at a suitable place before ascending to Longaford Tor. From there, the route is obvious, if a little boggy, down to the ruins of the gunpowder mill, and along the Lich Way to the road back to Postbridge. A mixed bag of a respectable distance, ancient settlements, history and peat bogs! Love it!
  • Date: 02/05/09
  • Region: Dartmoor National Park
  • Status: Solo
  • Description: Postbridge – Broad Down – Rough Tor – Beardown Man – Broad Hole – Lich Way – Postbridge – Sunny, clear. 14.4km, 6hrs
  • Type of Walk: Personal Walking