13 Miles, 13 Crosses – Sunday 10th June

Something a bit different today, as Karen organised a ‘spot the cross’ walk from Norsworthy Bridge, near Burrator.

Sadly only 11 walkers when 13 was the aim, but a fit and speedy group who coped well with the ups and downs, the heat and the distance.

The Team were provided with a picture each of all the crosses in random order and asked to spot them as we set off from the car park, initially up to the Devonport leat, heading west. First came Cross Gate Cross, for Glyn,  with a wonderful view across Burrator, very low at the moment, then Yennadon Cross at the side of the busy B3212 from Princetown, Jules’ turn this time, before we crossed with care, heading towards  Welltown where cross no 3 emerged from the undergrowth on the edge of this lovely hamlet. Mandy opted for this one, not able to stand on it on this occasion though.

Walkhampton Church was our tea-break, a little early at 3 miles but an early start for some and chocolate cake welcome, if only to lighten Karen’s rucksack. The cross outside the church, opposite the old Inn (circa 1680) became our third photostop for Kata.

We then travelled through lovely field and Devon lane to reach Hucksworthy Bridge, surely one of the most picturesque spots in Devon. No cross here but a pause to admire the view, little changed by time and just to prove the point, a lovely old tractor passed us by and crossed the bridge. Post boxes abounded on this walk it should be said.

A stiff climb up the hill now and a right hand turn eventually taking us to Hucksworthy Common to find cross number 4. Sal’s turn this time for the limelight before the group progressed towards Sampford Spiney, passing Stoneycroft the imposing Victorian house build by wine merchants at that time – clearly a successful business in those days considering the size of the house and accompanying estate and lodge house.  John was our model at Sampford Spiney as we again admired this unspoilt place, the cross being on the village green by the old school house.

Our route then took us south west towards Horrabridge, but not before a very pleasant section through fields, lanes, farmyards, over stiles and walls in rising temperatures.  Lunch at Horrabridge was welcome at around 7.5 miles so an extra few minutes were taken in Weir Park where some tested the water and others just enjoyed the rest and sunshine.

We left Horrabridge, a lovely Devon Village on the River Walkham but not before snapping Barry on the famous bridge beside the Incised Cross in the wall.   Heading uphill we reached St. John’s Church and the memorial cross was the backdrop for Karen and Kata to pose this time.

We continued along the Walhampton Road, taking the bridle path through a lovely area of winding paths and common land, crossing a small stream at what might have been a perfect paddle stop, had we not been keen to get to Walkhampton, Carole’s Cross in the Village being the War Memorial one and rather imposing too.

A long haul up the road towards Dousland followed, single file and hi-vis jackets in accordance with walking protocol as cars exceeded the speed limit all the time. We were enthralled with the lovely properties on this stretch and finally turned right down to Meavy for welcome cold drinks at the Royal Oak as it was turning into a very warm afternoon.

The chosen cross for Cathryn was the one on the Village Green, behind ye olde oak tree, giving the pub it’s name.

Once again we set off, east this time on our return leg, passing the school with the replica of Drake’s Drum in the window and headed downhill towards the stream and then to Marchants Cross. We had almost run out of models by now so Karen and Mandy stepped in for this picture. Weary legs were the order as we made our way to Yeo Farm, then through lane and field to Sheepstor.  Margaret was our final model for the most intriguing cross in a corner of the Churchyard, before a group picture around Sheepstor Village Cross completed the collage.

The return from Sheepstor, onto the moor and down to Burrator seemed endless to tired legs but the walk along the reservoir, rarely possible, compensated and we finally arrived at our cars around 6pm.

A rush for the Ice Cream van before he shut up shop then tea and cold drinks in Princetown rounded off a lovely summer day out and a promise to repeat it – sometime! Although considering the distance, perhaps another cross would be needed to ensure the title of the walk could be updated to reflect the distance more accurately – ho hum.. but no complaints and a great group on the day for sure.