10 of us strolled out of Okehampton station, 1 of us, who shall be nameless, but was suffering from a chest infection, got a lift up the first hill.
The first stretch was down through a beautiful wood to the valley where we walked and scrambled along the bank of the East Okement River. The river was in full spate; colours of autumn were spectacular and the walking exhilarating. Just the start of a lovely 9 mile walk that finished with tea and cake in the café at Okehampton Railway Station.
But first, we have to climb up to The Nine Stones, the remains of a Bronze Age burial site, also known as the Nine Maidens. Story goes they were young girls who were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday. Our climb continued past Watchet Hill Cottage, now fenced off, with Belstone Tor is in front of us. We hoped to have lunch at Cullever Steps but it was, like the steps – elusive. We gave up looking for the ‘steps’ and had lunch on a drafty hillside over the ridge of the next hill. Lunch was just a 10 minute stop – not enough time for me, that’s for sure.
Mostly downhill from now, we passed the Irishman’s wall, built by Irishmen at the behest of 2 brothers to enclose a large portion of the moor. Local people from Okehampton and Belstone viewed this dimly and destroyed the wall under cover of darkness. On into Belstone, passing the stocks, the pub and the tea rooms. Then a gentle stroll crossing the East Okement brought us to a bridle path going under the magnificent viaduct and up into the station, and the aforesaid cuppa, just as the rain was taking hold .Thank you Jim and Stuart for a lovely walk with some wonderful views, despite the mist today.