It started with a Tweet. I was scrolling through my Dartmoor feed and came across Fred Hutt, the Park Ranger (@NTParkeranger to you Twitter fiends). I asked him for suggestions of places to go on Dartmoor and he – very kindly – suggested that we head to Whiddon Deer Park (near Chagford) and take a walk around.
We decided to go that weekend and after spending ages trying to find it on Google maps, I Tweeted Fred back to find out where it is and he was kind enough to send me some detailed instructions.
We drove down narrow country lanes, parked up outside the gate above and wellied our way through the puddles.
The walk took us through some boggy wetlands and up a steep hill that the kids did very well traversing. Here we found beautiful trees, bluebells peaking out of the earth and a wonderful view across Dartmoor. I should point out here, that I think we went the hard way and there was probably an easier route.
Feeling like I’d stepped into a Bronte novel, I sat down and got wrapped up in the incredible beauty of the moors in springtime, listened to the birds and admired the beautiful twisted trees.
We had a picnic on an overhanging rock until a couple of ramblers came upon us and asked how to get to the path that leads through the Deer Path. To which we replied that we didn’t have a clue, we were just heading to the top (the blind leading the blind).
Hubby took a recky to the very top (it was very steep for little legs), he came back reporting that it peaked and the view is outrageous so we plodded onwards and upwards. The kids did fantastically I have to say! At the very top we found a small hut in a walled garden and we sat and took the view in while the kids played house.
From here we could see Castle Drogo in the distance and through a break in the wall we found a pathway that led down the hill and back to the flat land. After a short walk there was another break leading to an avenue of trees, and on the other side of the wall we discovered two sculptures that looked to me like Celtic tree stumps. These I later found out – after asking the Oracle (Twitter) – are the work of sculptor Peter Randall-Page and they are called ‘Passage’.
Through the trees we found a den to play in and made our way to the low path and back to the Bessie (our camper).
The kids were getting a bit tired by now but we stopped for a quick splash in the river before climbing in the camper and heading home.
If you fancy taking the walk yourself you can find a bit more information and a handy map here or you can ask Fred, the very knowledgeable Park Ranger.
Thanks Fred 🙂