When we were on the top of Brat Tor yesterday Lynnie pointed out the church on top of Brent Tor and suggested it would be a good place to visit. Such words always come back to haunt her, because today I have devised a walk there. To my mind anything within a ten-mile radius can be walked to and I calculate that Brent Tor is around six miles walk away.
Leaving the site instead of turning left at the junction towards Lydford Cross we turn right to walk along the road leading to Hedge Cross. This is a quiet lane and makes for pleasant walking on firm ground. Soon to our right we get cracking views back across to Dartmoor.
At Hedge Cross we turn left and follow the lane to a small parking area and from here veer left along the bridleway following a farm track. Through the farmyard we climb gradually to follow a fenced track that soon enters fields. We keep to the right edge of the field crossing Waddlestone Down and then through a gate to enter a wooded track. This is a bit boggy in parts, but passable without too much difficulty.
As the track approaches a field it gets decidedly muddy, farm vehicles have been carting manure to the field and they have churned up the track. We concentrate on trying to find the least muddy parts, but wherever we tread we are up to our ankles in mud. Eventually conditions improve and we are back in woodland and at a junction of tracks. We turn left and almost immediately left again; this track descends steeply through the trees.
At the foot of the hill we continue on to take a road bridge across the River Lyd. It seems impossible that this slow moving river is the same one that has forced its way through Lydford Gorge.
Joining a tarmac lane we turn right and head up hill. At a bend we leave the road for a bridleway leading into Asheltor Wood. After passing the track of the disused railway line the bridleway heads to the right parallel with the railway line for a few hundred yards before veering uphill. This is one of those hills that just keeps on going. Every time we think we are nearing the top there is another section. We stop to admire the view when we mistakenly believe we are near the top.
At the top the track levels and again we are on boggy land. This walk is turning into a test of how waterproof our boots are! We reach a farm drive and cross this to carry along the bridleway skirting the edge of Bowden Down. On joining a road we walk a couple of hundred yards and then take another lane on the right. In front of is a good view of the church on Brent Tor.
This lane leads to the old Turnpike Road from Tavistock to Lydford. The now closed Brentor Inn sits on the junction, looking in need of restoration. Apparently this was originally a tollhouse, known as ‘Riccard’s House’.
Turning right we walk along the road to reach the entrance to the church of St Michael de Rupe, meaning St Michael of the Rock. The church was built in the 13th Century and is small and basic, as you would expect given its bleak location a top a tor some 1,100 feet above sea level.
We look inside and admire the views from this vantage point but there is a biting wind and this is not a spot to hang around on a day like today. We are soon heading back down to the road.
At the road we turn right, passing the Brentor Inn, and then take a turning on the right to North Brentor. We walk down through the village and cross the disused railway line passing the old Brentor Station on our right. This station opened on 2nd June 1890 and closed on 6 May 1968 it has been converted into a private house, but retains many of the features of the original station.
After going through a gate leading to the moorland road we turn left following a tarmac lane as it skirts the edge of the moor, after half a mile the road turns left but we continue straight on across the moor on the West Devon Way.
Just over a mile later we turn to the left to follow the West Devon Way off the moor and through a gate onto a track to a road. This is the road we walked along a couple of days ago and we turn right back to Lydford.
This has been a cold and muddy wander of just over eleven miles. We could have jumped in the car and driven to Brent Tor, but that would have meant missing the cracking scenery. All I have to do now is spend some time cleaning boots whilst Lynnie rustles up some tea and cake.
16th March 2017
[To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 112 – Launceston & Holsworthy.]
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2017)