Peter H’s Dartmeet Meander – Wednesday 7th July

Thirteen walkers met at Dartmeet Car Park, one short on the booking so a wait for the latecomer. With no service on any mobile network, we were unable to chase, so we eventually set off at 10.45am.

Starting part A of the walk from Badgers Holt we followed the path along the East Dart river. Located inside  Dartmoor National Park, Badgers Holt was once an old fishing lodge located in the shadow of Yar Tor where the east and west tributaries of the River Dart meet. First mentioned in the Domesday book, Dartmeet nestles on the junction of the East & West Dart Rivers. Badgers Holt Tea Rooms were once two cottages. Eventually, circa 18th century, these were replaced with a fishing lodge, the outline of which is still seen in the wooden buildings today, and in the early 1900’s it became the tea rooms and latterly holiday apartments we saw today.

An unusual level of  flooding and overgrown vegetation today meant we had to carefully negotiate our way to avoid water, mud and thick bracken. From time to time there was easy passage, however, it was worth the extra effort to enjoy spectacular Dartmoor scenery and also spotting unusual butterflies.

After 1 hour of tricky trekking, we stopped for a drinks break.  I explained that we would be returning along the same route and if anyone wanted to wait at this point we would pick them up a little later, 3 walkers took up the offer.

The rest of us reached our objective, as the photo of those on the bench evidences. Our return to the others not taking to long, we discovered they had enjoyed some of their lunch and were in good spirits. We then carefully picked our route back to the car park.

Retrieving packed lunches from the cars we sat on the side of the Dart to relax and recuperate ready for Part B in our figure of 8. The West Dart Nature Reserve. We also picked up the latecomer who had not wasted the morning and had enjoyed a walk along the other side. 4 walkers decided not to do the 2nd stage.

We set off from the bridge to enter the reserve via the little gateway, again finding more water and mud, but not so bad as the morning walk. The spectacular scenery was completely different from The East Dart section. This was like being in The Hobbit’s Shire.  Fungi on trees and lots more bird song.

After an hour we turned around to be greeted with steady rain. Finishing back at Dartmeet Car Park at 3.15pm.  We were so lucky to avoided a soaking – always more likely on the Moor. Everyone expressed their enjoyment of  another successful Wednesday Walk. Look out for the next one and don’t forget to book!

Peter H.