Thursday, 17 March 2011

Exmoor

An opportunity for a couple of days backpacking on Exmoor. Started with a lovely walk the seaward side of The Valley of Rocks, observed by the resident mountain goats. Along the harbourside of Lynmouth and then along Lyn Cleave and then Myrtleberry Cleave, following the Two Moors Way to Watersmeet. Continued alongside East Lyn River to Rockford, Brendon and Malmsmead. Had to make way here for three Exmoor ponies which hurtled past me to rejoin others that I'd passed by minutes earlier.

Then headed south past Cloud Farm and into Doone Country. I saw smoke and flames ahead and was quite concerned until I realised it was controlled burning of bracken and heather. The flames were impressive.

Oare Common looked good for a wild camp but it was too early. Later found a very nice pitch at 794445. No-one passed by to disturb me. Was away by 7.15 and followed a path on the west side of Badgworthy Water and crossed the bridge at 796437 to follow a track which took me by the ruin of Larkbarrow, after which there was a vehicle track south to a road. Here I rejoined the Two Moors Way, passing by Warren Farm. The path just past the farm to Prayway Head started well but involved a stream crossing followed by a long steep climb which was tussocky, wet and muddy. Not good. Having done that, it was easy going by Ravens Nest to the road at Prayway Head.

The track then went by Exe Head and then above a stream in a valley to Hoar Oak Tree. I wanted to head for Cheriton but somehow went in the wrong direction and found myself on the wrong side of Hoaroak Water. Still, it wasn't too bad and I found a bridleway to Stock Common, then Radsbury, East and West Ilkerton, collecting water from a stream for tonight's camp at Caffyn's Cross. It's raining a bit and I can hear a fox barking some distance away.
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