On an incredibly inclement January morning, seventeen stoic Torbay Ramblers set off on an eight and three quarter mile circuit from Staverton, led by Barry.
Everywhere was saturated in mud, as the path led from the Church of St Paul de Leon, which celebrated its 700th Anniversary in 2014, to join a track beside the river Dart. There was no activity this morning at Staverton railway station, so after crossing the bridge over the river, the way climbed up through North Wood, to eventually reach the road at Huxham’s Cross.
After a short section on the NCN 2 cycle path, the track entered sodden fields, before eventually emerging into the hamlet of Week. This was one of the many farms and Hamlets making up Dartington Manor, which is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, as being held by William of Falaise, one of William the Conquerors Norman Captains.
Torrential rain greeted the intrepid travellers as they stopped for refreshment at the Dartington Craft Centre, where a welcome respite from the weather was found. Once the rain eased a little, the group set off again, passing through woodland and across a short stretch of open ground, to enter Nellies Wood. Then followed a sharp descent and an even stiffer ascent to reach rough farmland, before picking up a concrete path, which was flooded in places, to finally come out in the gardens of the Dartington estate.
Lunch was taken at this juncture, as fortunately by now the rain had finally ceased. Suitably sated, it was downhill to the river, traversing several puddle filled fields, to join the path alongside the Dart. Cattle were grazing along this section, as were a few Deer. Then the return trek to Staverton took us through North Wood, where once again, muddy tracks had to be negotiated. By now the Sun had put in an appearance, but because everyone was thoroughly wet through and extremely mucky, the decision was made to travel on home, and not stop off for a drink as is the usual custom.
Thanks to all who so bravely endured the less than favourable conditions today. One small consolation for us all, was the sight of snowdrops and primroses along the way, which is hopefully an indication that Spring is just around the corner.
Barry was ably assisted today by Ken Beevers, who was taking the photographs.