Tag: Dartmoor

Meldon Reservoir to Black Tor… & Back

Meldon Reservoir to Black Tor… & Back

I like to research potential walks for my Photography Day Trips to Dartmoor that I offer.

At the week, I headed of to Meldon Reservoir in search of a circular walk. I didn’t quite manage the circular part due to running out of time, but it still made for a great walk with lots in interesting things to see.

The walk in total was 5 miles long, and took about 4 hours. This is due to taking lots of photos, and having the kids in tow! Starting from Meldon Reservoir I headed up the up the path opposite the car park and up towards South Down.

It gives a great view of the reservoir and the dam from there.

You then walk through and area with lovely wind swept mossy trees.

Further along and after stopping for some food, I headed to the top of South Down and was met with an amazing view and some ponies!

I looked South West towards Sourton Tors and saw the sun just breaking through to light up the fields in the distance with the Tors behind.

Back down the hill and along the path again and headed towards the end of the reservior, there was a great view of Vellake Corner and where I was heading towards, Black Tor.

Looking left gave a lovely view of the reservoir with great reflections.

Heading down to Vellake Corner and I was aware it was going to be quite marshy, but due to recent rain it was also very muddy and the paths and by the time I’d got down there my walking shoes were covered in mud, then washed by the stream and finally mostly submerged in the marshy areas. I don’t think the kids were impressed, but they didn’t moan.

Walking over the weir gave a great view of were I had come from.

Over the weir and turning right, I enter a small wooded area with some amazing moss covered trees. A little like Wistman’s Woods, a very small Wistman’s Wood!

At the end of the wood, there a stone enclosure that you have to go around and navigate a load of rocks and marshy ground, but it created a great foreground for a photo of Black Tor in the distance.

At this point I realised that we wouldn’t have time to navigate the circular walk so I decided to head back along the way we came, but edge along the bottom of Homerton Hill and cut across to the bridge and up the steps.

Getting back on to South Down the sun was starting to get lower in the sky and warmer the clouds, giving this lovely view of Sourton Tors again.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk covers squares B6 & B7

These photos and more will end up in my Dartmoor Photos Gallery

If you fancy visiting Meldon Reservoir, here is the walk I took.
I parked in Meldon Reservoir and walked across the road and up the side of the reservoir.

Belstone’s Maidens and Tors

Belstone’s Maidens and Tors

Last week I had the chance to get back to Dartmoor, so I thought I’d head back to Belstone and go in search of the stone circle called, ‘The Nine Maidens’ then get up close to one of the Tors. This was going to be about a 3 mile circular walk, nearer 4 if I included the distance from the moor to the car, but I was prepared for it.

I was too prepared as it happened, the temperature went up and wind dropped so I found myself too wrappped up. I think I’d prepared for winter, or at least very cold Dartmoor winds!

I headed onto Belstone Common via a different entrance which ended up being a long steep hill! Not what I’d expected to start the walk, but there was no turning back! Once onto Dartmoor again I followed a ‘footpath’ which gave me a great view of the Tors and where I was eventually heading for.

I found the Nine Maidens next, these stones date back to the Bronze Age. I thought they were taller, but neither-the-less, it was still impressive to see this circle that dates back so far in time. The Bronze Age started about 2500BC until 800BC!

After the stones I followed the footpath further and found a stream. Taking this shot was straight towards the sun, so a little blown out in the sky, but I left it in the photo as I liked the aircraft contrail.

Next on my list was to try and get to the top of the hill next to the Tors. This would be a first for me. The route wasn’t straight forward, a rocky climb, but these rocks are so big they made a sort of climbing path around them.

A tough climb, but worth the view from the top at Higher Tor and a great place for a bit of lunch at the half way point!

As well as a great view, you also have up here, near Higher Tor, The Logan Stone and Irishman’s Wall. I realised these wall was what I was searching from at the bottom when I first visited, but I never got that far.

So, following the Irishman’s wall all the way down was my way back to complete my circular walk. At least is was a shallower walk down than the other side.

This route gives you are great view of the opposite hills and on the footpath below, a view of Yes Tor.

This was my last photo in this trip. It had taken 2.5 hours, well I did take lots of photos! In all I came back with nearly 50 panorama and vertorama photos which will be slowly working their way on to the site.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk cover squares B9, B10, C10

I’ve now setup a gallery just for my Dartmoor Photos

If you fancy visiting Belstone, here is the walk I took.
I parked in Belstone Car Park and walked through the town to the moor.

There is a pub, The Tors before you get to the moors and a Tearoom (only open Friday-Sunday), otherwise it is just moors and the walkers.

A Foggintor Visit

A Foggintor Visit

In my continuing exploring of Dartmoor I have recently found out that very close to where we visited in August was a quarry with a small lake or pond in the middle.

So, as it was half term and time to get a bit of fresh air, we headed in search of the quarry and other interesting things.

Dartmoor just doesn’t disappoint. Firstly you have the views…


You just can’t not take photos when given this as a view.

Secondly you have the interesting features and Foggintor definitely has them. Following the path, actually it’s old railway track, the regular flat stones with 4 holes are bit of a give away, but more path these days, you head towards an old settlement area. Then this disused ruin of a building from the time when the quarry was in use.

Opposite the building is an opening, through what was a big part of Foggin Tor mound, you see hight cliff edges. Stepping of the big chunks of granite strewn around the ground you pass through the opening into the quarry.

Although not a massive quarry, it was one three great quarries on Dartmoor and is big enough is still to impress. I know I was! During the 1840’s it supplied the granite that was used to build famous London landmarks, like Nelsons Column and London Bridge. Locally it was used in the construction of Dartmoor Prison.

It’s view on a day like today, was definitely worthy of a panorama photo.

I found it a bit tricky to get to the quarry floor beside the lake, so we gave that a miss. There are just views everywhere and so we explored the surrounding area for about another hour before heading back to the car.

Sadly we couldn’t stay till sunset, but I was still stopping and taking photos on the walk back, capturing this one with the sun starting to warm up the view.

This is a nice straight forward walk to this quarry with lots of photo opportunities on route.

I’ve taken more Panoramas and Vertoramas that can be viewed in their relevant galleries.

If you have the Dartmoor 365 book, this walk covers squares M6, with the Quarry in N7

Panoramas

Panoramas

Since moving to Devon, I’ve been inspired by the landscapes and the beaches and this has reignited my landscape photography. I’ve now started to take this one step further. The landscape is so amazing it needs more than just a 6×4 ratio photo.

When I visited a part of Dartmoor back in February I took my first panorama photo for years.

The result was just, WOW, so this panorama was quickly followed by another from a trip to Brentor

Then another in Brixham, of the harbour, which I think worked really well,

As you can see, there is a difference between the top 2 panoramas and the one above. This is purely the orientation of the camera when the photos are taken, IE, landscape, or as in the latter, portrait.

Even a photo of a local cornfield in a panoramic format give it a lot more impact.

A recent trip to Stourhead I knew would produce a great opportunity for a panorama photo. This image is made up from 12 landscape format photos stitched together to great this amazing view of the lake.

Museums are also good places for panoramas as you can’t really get everything into 1 shot. Although lighting can pose a problem, especially if you are not using a tripod.

This is one from the Fleet Air Arm Museum, made from 5 images.

Finally beaches, and what better way to show off their magnificent views!

Now viewing these in this blog post is all well and good, but the size is a bit limiting, so why not view the panoramas page and view them full size.

Exploring Belstone

Exploring Belstone

Wanting to explore more and get to see our new surroundings we headed out to Dartmoor. This time to a place called Belstone to get on to Dartmoor. This area like many, has a few Tors on it. One called Belstone Tor.

So, I had the intention of trying to find it. We did however have the weather against us, with just an hour or 2 between the rain. Approaching Okehampton we get the amazing views of Dartmoor in front of us and we noticed it has snow! Ok, it was patchy and higher than we were probably going to get, but it was still snow!

Now, I obviously don’t know this area at all at the moment, so starting out with one idea of going to the Tor and actually getting to it, or indeed finding it is really by luck, but it didn’t really matter. As sooner as you step on the moor, it is instantly amazing!


So we just followed the first ‘path’ we found an headed off in that direction.


Quite quickly the views open up and you can see for miles into the distance. We headed in the general direction of what looks like a mountain range and what was one of the highpoints in southern england.


Wanting really to find the Tor, we passed a couple walking. Infact the only other couple walking that day that we passed. They said head straight along this path until you find something that looks like a wall, a fallen wall, more like a pile of rocks and go right following it.

Hmm, we either didn’t walk far enough to find the ‘wall’, or couldn’t work out what was rocks and what was wall…


So we admired the views and I took a couple of Vertorama shots. This is like a Panorama photo, but vertical instead of horizontal.


Now snowing a bit and fighting with the water on the lens we turned around and headed back to the car admitting defeat and decided we needed a slightly better day to find this Tor. As usual though, stormy days make for a really great photos. They can be a bit of an exposure nightmare with blown skies and dark foregrounds, but you can try and get a medium and then edit later, thank to the power of shooting Raw.


The snow also added to the impact of the shots and it not something I normally get to photograph much. But living this close to 3 moors really gives me a better chance to see it and photograph it!


Next time I’ll give it another try to find the Tor and maybe do a little more research as to where it is, but the main thing was to get out, get a walk and hopefully get some great photos.

First Month in Devon

First Month in Devon

Well, we have now been living in Devon for about a month. Have we enjoyed it? Oh yes! Is it different? Very!

You have to plan ahead more. This is mainly because we are now a bit remote and don’t have shops on our dropstep any more.

What we do have on our doorstep though, makes up for it!

We have lots of open space.

which has made for some great sunsets, which are either just outside my front door, or a little walk around the village.

The dark night skies have enabled me to experiment a bit more with my night photography. I can take them from the back garden and although there is a street light in the distance I can turn a little to remove any light from the photo. I’ve included a little light in this one as I think it adds to the photo.

One of the main reasons we chose where we now are, was its location. We are quite close to all sorts of places, the Moors and the coasts. So we have been out exploring.

The rough sea and rocks of Bude are very dramatic

And next to Bude, Widemouth Bay, which is also very impressive, (I’ve added more Widemouth Bay photos to the Landscapes Galleries)

and Westward Ho! which took us totally by surprise.

Finally, one of the Moors, which I have to admit I have been most excited about visiting. We went to Dartmoor, or should I say the very edge of it.

It was still impressive and I think the first time I have seen close up or crossed a dam.

So, exploring our new area is definitely fun and is going to be a great adventure!

First Visit to Dartmoor

First Visit to Dartmoor

One of the places that I really looked forward to visiting when we moved to Devon was Dartmoor.

But where…

Dartmoor is massive! I asked a few people on the #DartmoorHour Twitter feed and got some suggestions.

At the moment we are a bit restricted by a pram but we gave it a go.

So, we choose Meldon Reservoir for our first visit. Initially it was easy going on a stone path, then the dam itself. It then got a bit more tricky down the edge of the reservoir.

After our initial attempt, and our little one deciding she wanted out of the pram, we started afresh carrying her.

The views over the reservoir were pretty amazing as were the surrounding views and the dam too!

There were of course also sheep wandering around?

You can’t walk all around the reservoir these days, do we decided we should head up and see the views. It’s quite steep and can be a bit of a slog if you head directly up it like I did (I wanted to get to the top).

However, ‘the top’ wasn’t quite the top and the kids were running out of steam, so we headed back down and left the ascent for another day.

Windswept and a bit tired we headed back to the car.