Behoofed in South Devon

After yesterday’s soaking we decide an easy day is in order. Coldharbour Farm CL has stunning views and we are surprised no one else is on the site at the moment. It is a cracking spot to spend time relaxing. In between admiring the scenery I work all morning whilst Lynnie makes good use of her new rotary dryer then we head off for a walk.

We always try to take at least one walk from the site we are on. Usually this is achievable without encountering busy main roads and this is definitely the case here.

From the site we walk to Coldharbour Cross and go straight across to follow the lane to a junction where we turn right and walk a few hundred yards to the car park for Blackdown Rings. It is now time to explore a bit.

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Blackdown Rings is the remains of a Norman hill fort dating from around the 12th century. This Country is littered with hill forts, they are all interesting, this one especially so because unusually it has a Motte and Bailey. These were Norman Terms for describing castles, the Motte was a raised earthworks for the castle and the Bailey an enclosed courtyard surrounded by ditches and palisades.

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The information board by the car park explains that prior to the Norman Castle there was an ancient hill fort on this site. The Blackdown Rings are owned by the Arundell Charity, Loddiswell, founded in 1591 by Sir Matthew Arundell ‘for the good and behoof of the parishioners of Loddiswell’.

Something is missing somewhere in our education because neither of us know what ‘behoof’ means. But by the wonders of the modern age we are enlightened through the magic of the Internet and find out it is ‘for the benefit or advantage’. We certainly feel that we are being “behoofed” by this wonderful site!

After wandering around for a while we head back up the road but instead of turning left to go towards Coldharbour Cross we take a permissive path that is directly opposite. This leads past some farm buildings and then downhill. This permissive path does not feature on our OS map and there are no waymarkers, so coming to a firmly tied gate we assume that we are in the wrong place and decide to head back to the road. (Further up the road a helpful notice has a plan of the permitted route and we see that we were in the right place!)

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We now walk back towards Coldharbour Cross but before reaching the crossroads take a footpath on the left that takes us through a field where horses have made the wet ground decidedly difficult to negotiate. This brings us to a stile besides the B3196, we cross the road and enter the small car park for the nature reserve.

Andrew’s Wood Nature Reserve is run by the Devon Wildlife Trust. The information board states it was previously known as Stanton Moor an open, wet and boggy place. In times past the area was farmed but then abandoned and became a habitat for wildlife. It’s name changed to Andrew’s Wood when the family that owned the land donated it to the Devon Wildlife Trust.

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We are keen supporters of the Wildlife Trusts and other organisations that secure land for the ‘behoof’ of future generations. If it were not for these many worthwhile organisations our countryside would be far worse off and vulnerable to development.

We look at the map of the site and choose a route that should lead us to a footpath. When the board described this as a wet and boggy place I assumed that was in the past, but it is an accurate description of it today. We are thankful for the sections of raised walk ways and navigate with care across many other areas.

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It is a wonderful place, a bit early to get the benefit of the spring flowers but even so well worth the effort. Eventually we reach a gate at the bottom that should lead to a footpath and we follow a track up towards Higher Wizaller Farm. It may be a footpath, but there are no signs. We are not entirely certain we are on the right route (apologies to the landowner if we were not), but eventually we reach a stile so can’t be far wrong.

Over the stile we are on the farm track and walk along until we reach a road. Here we turn right and head back up the road to a junction where we turn left and then after a couple of hundred yards turn left again to take the lane back to Coldharbour Farm.

My Suunto Traverse calculates our mooch about at four and a half miles. It has been an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, proving that you don’t need to travel far in this Country to find interesting things.

To view this walk on OS Maps Click Here

To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map OL20 – South Devon

15th April 2016

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)

 

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