It was a perfect sunny day for this walk, albeit cold, and the seventeen walkers, meeting in the car park were anxious to get started. The walk out of Dawlish, up Strand Hill and the footpath to the fields, soon raised the temperature. At the Clump of Firs, also known as the Seven Sisters, we stopped to admire the view over the sea, which was reflecting the dazzling morning sun. From here the usual path was a quagmire, but there was an alternative which took us to Long Lane, an elevated green lane, with excellent views, which are a feature of the walk.
At the Five Lanes we took another typical Devon lane stopping for coffee in a woodland area, where the shady setting ensured it was a fairly brief break. From here we could see our target, – the mighty Obelisk – peeping out of the trees on top of the hill. It was calling us, and we carried on enthusiastically. The path, which included some off-piste forest diversions to avoid mud, leads to the road and the steep testing climb to the Obelisk car park. Here we took a long loop round the Forestry Commission paths before arriving at the Obelisk viewpoint, enjoying our lunch with a backdrop of spine tingling views of the Exe estuary.
The now tree obscured Obelisk was built as a navigation aid for shipping in 1742, and was provided by Thomas Balle, a merchant who lived at Mamhead. We then followed an exciting path down through the Obelisk Plantation, littered with fallen trees and swamp like features, and I feared some walkers might be lost and never seen again. This led to the road down, and the crossroads. Turning left, there is a footpath on the right across fields, and on to the track that leads to Larkbeare Farm. There are many lanes and tracks in this unspoilt bit of countryside, and another takes you to Pitt Farm, Five Lanes, and a return along Long Lane. Just after Seven Oaks there is a series of narrow paths and steep steps back to the town, the Manor House and the car park. The ten miles seemed to race by, and we arrived in very good time for tea and cake at a cosy café called A Piece of Cake.
Thank you to all who came, and to John L and Mandy who helped me reconnoitre it.
By Ken B