After our little ramble on Haytor, the walking bug had well and truly bitten us in the arse again.
When I was younger, Autumn half term would inevitably be spent in a little cottage in the Lake District with my family. We would go up with our grandparents and spend days out on the blustery hillsides surrounded by the cacophony of colours that is Autumn, with afternoons for pottering around little towns and lunches spent in cosy pubs with roaring fires.
Now, as soon as the weather starts getting cooler, I'm desperate to get outside (although the horrific rain we've been having in Exeter is making me rethink that sentiment!)
A few weekends ago, Michele and I decided to head up to Postbridge for another walk on the tors. We stopped off at the visitor centre, bought a book of walks that handily listed one that started from the visitor centre and set off into the sun.
We traipsed through Bellever Forest, torn between wanting to stop and admire the soft light playing across the mossy roots of the trees and wanting to beat the estimated walk time in the book (walk 6 in Bradwell's Longer Walks on Dartmoor with an estimated time of 4 and a half hours if anyone's interested!)
Following the path, we emerged back out of the forest and started heading towards Bellever Tor beneath shifting clouds.
Bellever is actually one of the highest tors in this part of Dartmoor so the views stretch for miles and are spectacular, particularly on clear days. The area is also full of ancient sites, with evidence of various Bronze Age remains scattered throughout the landscape.
It was pretty windy up on the tour so we didn't hang around for too long!
The next part of our walk took us straight across fields towards Dunnabridge Pound, another Bronze Age site.
I didn't take any photos of the pound itself - it was an area enclosed by a dry stone wall where animals would have been kept after being rounded up by the bailiffs for illegally grazing on Duchy land (the rebels...)
There was also a small sheltered seating area inside but, keen to stick to our goal of beating the estimated walk time, we powered on!
The next stretch of the walk was one of the prettiest I've come across on Dartmoor so far.
Rather than being an impressive viewpoint across miles and miles of moorland, it was a short walk through a wooded valley alongside a gently bubbling stream.
Here, we had rejoined the main roads and cars grumbled along the stony road into the nearby carpark. Hot drinks were passed around in thermos flasks and excitable dogs bounded through the trees.
After rejoining the road and crossing the bridge, beside which stand the remains of an older clapper bridge, we began to drag ourselves back uphill and away from the river.
And then we definitely managed to get ourselves lost.
Which caused a few cross words to be exchanged between us, to say the least!
We were supposed to look out for a stone with the letter 'C' carved into it and then shortly after there would be an unsigned grassy track heading straight into the fields (I know, not the easiest instructions to follow). Michele was striding ahead, taking us further and further up the hill, even though I could see from the map that we didn't need to reach the peak of the slope before taking the elusive track.
If there's one thing that makes me grumpy, it's having to walk up hill unnecessarily. Which I repeatedly told him. Luckily he has better map reading skills than me and so had managed to find an alternative route back onto our path. But still.
After traipsing through some fields, wading through some mud and ambling down some pretty old lanes resplendent in orange and gold, we were brought back to Postbridge and the famously pretty pair of bridges.
We had managed to knock 45 minutes off the estimated time of 4 and a half hours, even with our unplanned detour and regular photo stops! Hooray!
To celebrate, there was only one thing for it.
A pub stop on the way home.
I can't quite tolerate the idea of going home after a walk without a half of ale and a packet of cheese and onion crisps, so we stopped off at the Warren House Inn for my post-walk vice and sat beside the fire which is said to have been burning since 1845!!
Despite not wanting anything, Michele proceeded to help himself to my crisps. Which may explain the extreme resting bitch face I seem to have been suffering from...
I was happy, honest!
The Warren House Inn was a really cosy pub and I'm very sorry we only stopped for a short time. The menu looked pretty good with a vegan special on that day - no fancy gastropub fare but simple, home-cooked pub food.
It'd be an excellent stop for any trip to Dartmoor, whether you're walking across the moors or simply sightseeing from the car. The views from the pub itself aren't that bad after all.
But we were both in desperate need of hot water and soap so we bundled back into the car and headed back to Exeter.
Although not before we had been greeted by some of Dartmoor's finest!
I wonder if these are the kinds of vagabonds that illegally graze on Duchy land...
Is anyone else a hiking fan? Where are your favourite places to hike near your home?