Showing posts from 2017

Challenge 11: ✔️ Achieved

Here we go then!
whoisthechallenger's Christmas Tree Walk
Statts Bridge

West Cottages 
Walla Brook

Vitifer Tin Mine

Warren House Inn
Water Hill 
Caroline Farm

This walk has now been removed from the Moor. 

I'll be back with the twelfth and final Challenge in January!  I'd like to wish all my blog readers a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 15th 2017

A Letterbox walk!! At last!!
Eager as ever to get out Dartmoor Letterboxing, as well as visiting somewhere slightly different, I've been building up to this one since the Meet. A charity walk - sited in aid of the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust - was out around Bellever Tor and Lakehead Hill.  A unique area given: i) the interaction between conifers and granite in the landscape, ii) a wealth of bronze age antiquities of which many are incredibly well preserved and, iii) a location in the middle of the Moor with 360-degree views of higher, surrounding peaks.
I began my walk, as the highly detailed charity walk instructions prescribed: at Postbridge.  I was not alone at the car park.  Within moments though, I was, as the only other car owner walked their dog through the Forestry Commission gate, and drove away.  So I was in no doubt that the forest paths would be peaceful, my Letterboxing undisturbed and deer sightings would be probable.
Conditions were favourable, though the going u…

Challenge 10: ✔️ Achieved


I have made no secret of the excitement and enjoyment I've found on Bodmin Moor during my last few Letterboxing adventures to the area (here, here and here).  So now I have finally found an opportunity to site my own box there.

Finding a precise location to site a box, or choosing a subject to immortalise in embossing stamp isn't tough.  I decided on the River Fowey.  One of Cornwall's most important rivers.   This meandering river drains the Colliford and Siblyback reservoirs.  It passes Golitha Falls, Lanhydrock House, Lostwithiel and (obviously) Trago Mills.  It is a river rich in fish, military history, and gorgeous riverside walks.

But the River Fowey's source, on Bodmin Moor, seemed an obvious choice for a Letterbox.

Beginning my walk at a disturbingly deep ford on the road at Bowithick, near Altarnun, my short stroll took place on a day where hail, sleet, ice and snow were genuinely threatened.  T…

Devil makes work for idle hands 4

A pair of wondrous (if rather pointless) cylindrical rock piles amongst tinners rubble, Lyd Valley.

Clearly not my work!
Other idle-ness Devil makes work for idle hands 3 Devil makes work for idle hands 2 Devil makes work for idle hands

Challenge 9: ✔️ Achieved


I think this counts as an ongoing achieve.  I want to thank everyone who has already purchased a copy of my Caves & Tunnels of Dartmoor charity walk.  My mother and I attended the Autumn Meet on Sunday and we were overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown by Letterboxers.

In addition to the walk, I had some surplus and new Letterbox pots and clip-lock boxes which I offered - for a small charitable donation - at the Meet.  Obviously, I will continue to maintain the walk to the highest possible standards and I will post any news updates on this blog, as best I can.
I will also report back (probably in March) on how much the charity walk raises too.  I seem to recall this information being fairly normal, broadcast in the last Letterbox update before the Meets.  This is no longer the case - reasons unknown.  Thanks again to everyone for your support with this walk!

Caves & Tunnels - A tour

I figured that a bit of information about the selected Caves and Tunnels used as part of my Charity Walk wouldn't go amiss.  The lucky 13 chosen are just some of the far higher number on the Moor.  A few of those I picked are perhaps a little obscure, so here's the run-down.
No.1 - Potato Cave Where?  For the image, I used the Potato cave close to Combeshead Farm, near Down Tor.   What?  Many old Dartmoor Farms had potato caves - man made caves, dug into areas of soft, decaying granite, and used for the storage of potatoes or more... ahem... illicit produce.
No.2 - Grenofen Tunnel Where? Grenofen, between Horrabridge and Tavistock. What?  Designed and built by esteemed engineer, 'Greatest Briton' candidate and South West England fan, Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1859.  Grenofen Tunnel is about 0.2 miles long, and formed part of Brunel's Devon and Tavistock Railway.  Renovated using EU cash in 2011, it is now is an important landmark on the Drake's Trail, a national cyc…

The Caves & Tunnels of Dartmoor

'The Caves & Tunnels of Dartmoor' is the title of my latest Letterboxing project: a Charity Walk sited this month, and out on the Moor until the end of March 2018.
I have never sited a charity Letterbox walk, so the whole experience so far has been fascinating.  Let me explain.  I had a desire to do some good.  To raise some cash for a charity which does work on Dartmoor.  I had an idea for a set of interesting boxes.  I have a passion for the environment and conservation.  It seemed obvious to choose a wildlife charity, and Mid Devon Bat Rescue - based near North Tawton - stood out.  This charity is run by volunteers, helping lost, injured or orphaned bats.  It's large enough to care for a significant proportion of Dartmoor (a line from about Tavistock to Newton Abbot northwards in fact) yet small enough that funds raised by a charity walk will make a real, tangible difference.
My caves and tunnels themed stamps were suitably appropriate.  Kari, who runs the charity …

Challenge 8: ✔️ Achieved

Wow.  Where do I start with this one?  I really wanted to do this challenge.  It might even have been the first one I came up with.  It has taken a great deal of thought and planning as I had many things to consider:
Personal circumstances.  I have a busy job, with a busy home life, and I'd need to have 2 consecutive days to spare, considering my family's needs too.  When I put the idea to my wife she joked that I'd probably have the best night's sleep in months.
Plans.  It needed to work with the other pre-planned events and challenges, which kinda set a schedule.
External factors.  I needed decent weather and good health on my side.
Once these were dealt with, I needed to decide where to go and where to camp.  For a long time I'd planned to plonk my tent on the summit of Belstone Tor, and spend 2 solid days scouring the slopes finding as much as possible.  I concluded that this was a bit dull.  I considered the Pera…

Rumbling on

The longest running saga in Dartmoor planning rumbles on.  No - I'm not talking about the eviction battle at Steward Community Woodland.  I'm talking about Yennadon Quarry, on the outskirts of Dousland near Burrator, and their intentions to expand.
If you've seen this quarry in the past decade, you'll appreciate how the boundary pushes hard against the surrounding fence, providing livestock, dog-walkers and Letterboxers alike airy cliff-edge views deep into the workings from Yennadon Down.  As early as June 2008, the quarry operators have been investigating - through official channels - the potential for expansion.  Their intention is to expand North, increasing the size of the quarry by roughly a third.  Opposition to the plan cite concerns regarding, amongst other things, the increased noise levels, traffic, dust, plus the impacts on local ecology, common land, and water run off.   Up until now, committee rejections, conditions applied, repeated delays and red tape …

Challenge 7: ✔️ Achieved


As you probably know - or guessed - I generally Letterbox alone.  This month's challenge, however, meant getting someone out on Dartmoor, Letterboxing with me, in a Letterboxing lesson of sorts.  I selected someone very close to me to take on their first Letterboxing trip. I'm confident they'll become regular Letterboxers, and I'll do all I can to support that.
Who was this newbie? My 9 month old son, obviously!
I wanted to make sure it was a day to remember - not forget, so a day of decent weather and not too far from the car was chosen.  A route of 3 miles seemed right.  A comprehensive picnic lunch was packed, as was clothing for all seasons too.  There was even some space left over for ink pads and postcards!

We went to King's Tor and Swelltor, parking at Yellowmeade Farm.  This was a novel experience for me. Junior Challenger was comfortable in his Littlelife backpack, and I was comfortable carrying him, but Let…

Sell, sell, sell

It might be coincidence, it might be intentional, it might be something in the water, but Postbridge businesses are suddenly up for sale, WITC notes.

The East Dart Hotel, the Post Office Stores and Beechwood B&B are all up for sale currently, and the village seems ripe for investors.  The East Dart Hotel has 14 bedrooms, bar and restaurant (and a Letterbox).  It is a substantial property, and yours for £425,000.
The Post Office Stores - popular with locals and visitors alike - comes with the 4 bedroomed house next door.  It has been owned as the family business of Annie & Gerald Smerdon for 17 years.  I don't know why they are moving on, but you can take on this busy establishment for £340,000.
Beechwood B&B gets a 5-star 'Excellent' rating at  Its a 7 bedroomed, 19th century house, with grounds "incorporating a feature pond with waterfall and views to the front over Higher and Lower White Tor", which sounds delightful and is my pers…

Challenge 6: ✔️ Achieved


This series is now off the Moor.
Sandy Way

Mardle Head

Rounders Hole
Petre’s Bound Stone

Ryder’s Hill Summit

Ringleshutes Mine
Holne Town Gutter

Visitors books - Revisited

In my previous post I mentioned that the Plymouth & West Devon Records Office held far more than just Cranmere Pool visitors books.  Ducks Pool, Fur Tor and Crow Tor books are stored at the office.  There may be even more that I haven't identified.  I requested to see some noteworthy books from each of these Letterboxes.
Here are some details of what I found:

Ducks Pool
"William Crossing Memorial.  By kind permission of the Duchy of Cornwall, for use in conjunction with the above [stamp], this book has been placed here for the signatures of visitors by Dobson's Moormen. [23rd] October 1938"

Located under a giant rock at the head of a tributary of the Blacklane Brook, Ducks Pool is another permanent fixture on the Moor, and place of pilgrimage for many Letterboxers.

I had requested to view the first visitors book, placed in the box by the 10 named Moormen. Ducks Pool received regular visits - especially from the Moormen themselves, but this hardbacked book remained o…