All of The Arundell’s fishing and rivers connect us to the moorland. The river Lyd comes tumbling from the Western edge of Dartmoor where it gives its name to the ancient village of Lydford. Above the gorge where the river hits the moor and wends its way up to its source is a lovely, tranquil, and beautiful area to walk and explore. The entry point to the high central plains of the Northern moor, it is an untouched corner which is less frequently visited than other areas. We highly recommend you take a walk up there and see the source of one of our most beloved rivers.
Alex Jones, has put together some directions for you to explore the countryside;
Starting point and car park
There is a good car park situated at the edge of the moor near Lydford on the A386 which runs from Sourton to Tavistock. The turning is situated at the Dartmoor Inn at Lydford, opposite the main turning to Lydford itself.
Go through the gate (and please close it afterwards) to park at -
Os Grid: SX526853. Nearest Postcode EX20,4AY
Directions and distance from The Arundell
10 miles approx. 15-20min drive time. The most scenic and direct route takes you on the old A30 through Lewdown and on to Lydford via back roads (GPS recommended Postcode: EX20 4AY). For the most simple route turn left out of the Hotel and follow the old A30 through Lewdown, Bridestowe and on to Sourton. At Sourton turn right on the A386 towards Mary Tavy and Tavistock. Proceed on the A386 for approx. 3 miles. The Turning to the car parking is a Sharp Left before the Dartmoor Inn at Lydford.
Recommended map – OS Land Ranger OL28
There are a variety of options for exploring where the river Lyd meets the moor, but the Arundell suggests the following may be enjoyable for differing levels of fitness and time available:
Route 1: Easy/Moderate (short walk with a moderate hill)
- 1hr to 1hr 30 walking time
- Distance 1.5 miles
Route 2: Moderate to Difficult (half day walk including open moorland and moderate climbs)
- 4-6hrs walking time
- Distance 7.5 miles
Route 1 – (approx. 1-1.5hrs)
Walk through the northernmost gate at the carpark and follow the path by the wall across the open downland until you reach the river Lyd. Cross the river either by the stepping stones or by using the little wooden footbridge. Brat Tor and Widgery Cross are immediately in front of you to the West. Follow the path of the old peat cutting railway that runs around to the left / North of Widgery cross and Brat Tor. It is slightly to the Left when looking at Brat tor and crossing the river. The path will be a more gentle ascent to the top of the Tor and cross.
When you begin to draw level with the top head south to reach the top and Widgery Cross at SX 529856. From here you will have stunning views reaching back to the East, from which on a clear day you can see Roadford reservoir, Brent tor Church, and even Lifton and the Arundell nestled down the Lyd Valley. The granite stone cross was erected in 1887 by artist William Widgery to commemorate the `golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Descend via the steeper path Due West of Widgery Cross. Until you reach the river and stepping stones once again. From here you can either head back to the car or extend the walk for a little longer. If you wish to and after recrossing the river, follow the path of the river south (in a downstream direction) At SX 53269 85398 you will find a pool called the witches cauldron which is an excellent place for a wild swim if you are so inclined.
Continue your walk in a downstream southerly direction. At the disused Wheal Mary mine site and just before the junction with the Doe Tor Brook you will find a good track that leads up to the West at SX 53130 85288. This track will lead back up to the top of the downland and ultimately back to the car park.
Route 2 – (approx. 4-6hrs)
Walk through the northernmost gate at the carpark and follow the path by the wall across the open downland until you reach the river Lyd. Cross the river either by the stepping stones or by using the little bridge. Brat Tor and Widgery Cross are immediately in front of you to the West. Follow the path up the moderate hill to reach the top and Widgery Cross at SX 529856. From here you will have stunning views reaching back to the East, from which on a clear day you can see Roadford reservoir, Brent tor Church, and even Lifton and the Arundell nestled down the Lyd Valley. The granite stone cross was erected in 1887 by artist William Widgery to commemorate the `golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
From Brat Tor follow the path to the North East until you reach the boundary stone at SX 552862 which demarks the parish borders of Sourton and Bridestowe. You will pass many old tin workings and earthworks of the moors byegone industrial past. Foxhole Tin Mine operated along the Doe Tor Brook and remnants can be found along the path.
Continue along the path which begins to veer in a more Northerly Direction before you will reach the remains of Bleak house at SX 559865. The remains of the old managers house for the short lived Rattlebrook peat works lie across the river.
Follow the track a little further until you meet a old track, which is part of the old peat railway system constructed by the Duchy of Cornwall in 1879. The line was seven miles long and operated by horse, used to transport peat from the moors as a source of fuel and builing.
Take the left hand fork left on the old railway track. You will follow this back nearly to the beginning of your route. Along the way you will be provided with lovely views of various tors along the way including including Great Links Tor. The path turns at SX 545887.
Great Nodden will come into view, which is a very distinctive shape. Unusually for Dartmoor, it’s not made of granite, but rather is metamorphosed rock and is known locally as Plum Puding Hill.
When the path splits take the right hand one ending up at Nodden Gate (SX 530864). As you descend, look out for the wall on your right which is known as the King Wall. This marks an ancient route, the King Way, which was part of the Tavistock to Okehampton section of the Plymouth to London coaching road that took the King’s mail.
From Nodden Gate, cross the fields and look for the stile over the wall which will take you back to the footpath you started off on.
Turn right and follow the track back to the car park.
Then join us in the hotel restaurant and bar to celebrate your achievements!