All Change! – Sunday 29th July – Neil’s Manaton Walk

What a change this week, from sweltering in the South Hams to dripping on Dartmoor. An intrepid four turned out today for Neil’s walk from the village of Manaton, one time home of Forsyte Saga author, John Galsworthy.

Despite a yellow weather warning, a lovely walk ensued from the church car park, down our old friend Slinkers Lane and through the woods in this part of what is now officially called ‘East Dartmoor’. If it was raining hard we were certainly sheltered in the main by the canopy of trees, enjoying this welcome drink after the heatwave of recent weeks.

After a tea-break at Foxworthy Bridge, Neil led his plan B route, avoiding Foxworthy Tor on the open moor today, heading south through the woods towards Lustleigh. The old Clam Bridge over the River Bovey was our lunch spot. Investigation reveals that ‘Clam’ in this instance just means wooden bridge and this one has been in place for over 120 years, made of oak, it can be seen on an old Dartmoor map dated 1888. However, for safety reasons a new wooden bridge was constructed beside it by the Dartmoor National Park in 2007, at a cost of £35,000 but locals refused to allow the original one to be destroyed. It remains in place with a warning notice that it may be unsafe.

One rebellious member of our group today proved that it can still be crossed! Now, who has the first aid kit?

A long climb up through the woods followed before we picked up the lanes back to Manaton car park. We were welcomed in the Parish Hall, unfortunately rather quiet today due to the inclement weather, but hot tea and an array of home made cakes were on offer.

Around 6.5 miles completed and enjoyed, despite the rain. Well done Neil.