In the last two weeks, I've been to two tors with two great views into two beautiful wooded valleys.
|Close to Ashbury Tor, looking North|
Since August, experts have been quoted in the media preparing us for dramatic Autumnal scenes in our woods and forests. A bumper season or 'mast year' for forest fruits, promised the Forestry Commision. The dry, calm Summer was also set to provide us with intense colours in the tree leaves in a show unmatched in years.
|Heading West from Fatherford|
And so it was with great anticipation that WITC headed up into the trees.
Ashbury Tor overlooks the West Okement just before the river leaves the National Park, and turns to thread through Okehampton. The scattered outcrops don't hide many boxes, but make an interesting diversion from the normal routes in the area. I parked at Fatherford Viaduct, and never strayed too far from the noise of the A30. This was a route with a specific target, and I had no time to cross the adjoining East Hill. I met Richard Barry (Barry Bogwalker) whilst searching for one box. I left with a haul of 4 stamps.
|View down Bench Tor with Sharp Tor in distance|
On a very different, and also the more recent route, the trees belonged to the Devon WIldlife trust's Dart Valley Nature Reserve and the view was from Bench Tor. This is a predominantly oak woodland on famously steep slopes dropping to the fast flowing, paddling favourite river.
|Track around Venford Reservoir|
Bench Tor is a ridge - a prominatary - into the river valley, with incredible views in every direction. Sitting atop the furthest outcrop, I was able to watch other walkers explore Mel Tor opposite, no more than 500 metres away, yet so completely out of reach. Letterboxing is tough on Bench Tor, and although we had a few on our list to find, we found more Geocaches than boxes on the tor.
I returned to the car via Venford Reservoir. One of Dartmoor's oldest reservoirs set in a small plantation of evergreen Spruce. A tranquil spot on a weekday afternoon. But certainly no letterboxes.