Solo Ivybridge to Okehampton Dartmoor walk – Day 1

Day 1's short walk of 8.3km with 510 mtrs ascent and 230 mtrs descent. Click for larger version.

Day 1’s short walk of 8.3km with 510 mtrs ascent and 230 mtrs descent. Click for a larger version.

Day 1 of this walk was a little odd for me in that it was only around 8km long.

During the planning stage I had an intense desire to investigate and camp at Piles Copse. This Copse was the target of the previous Dartmoor walk, but on that one I had decided to walk right past it so that I could camp nearer to Ivybridge – the final destination at that time.

I knew that the downside to picking Piles Copse as a camp spot was the relatively short walking distance, butย my wish to visit the place seemed to override all practicalities!

Whilst on the walk itself, I had briefly tinkered with the idea of going right past it again so as to put in some extra Km. But in the end I decided that such a decision could wind up being a regular one. One that would ultimately result in me never visiting the place. So in this case I had put my foot down and decided to stick with the plan!

Weather wise I had been expecting cold, wind and rain, but was pleasantly surprised by it on Day 1 as only one of these things had materialised…

Anyways, I will let the pictures tell the story of day 1’s travels:

I get off the train in good time. I had picked the only carriage with no heating and was surprised at how much warmer it was outdoors...

I get off the train in good time. But it seemed that I had picked the only carriage with no heating and was surprised at how much warmer it was outdoors…

All kitted out and fresh at the start of the journey. I couldn't believe how fortunate I had been with the weather :)

All kitted out and fresh at the start of the journey. I couldn’t believe how fortunate I had been with the weather ๐Ÿ™‚

Dartmoor! One of my all time favourite places to visit. I always try to go there at least once a year!

Dartmoor! One of my all time favourite places to visit. I always try to go there at least once a year!

The first part of the walk involves following some trails to get me onto Dartmoor proper...

The first part of the walk involves following some trails to get me onto Dartmoor proper…

I soon get to the gate marking the boundary of Dartmoor. It is here that the journey really begins!

I soon get to the gate marking the boundary of Dartmoor. It is here that the journey really begins!

The first task of the day is to climb Western Beacon! I find the climb exceptionally easy. It looks like my walks to the Cairngorms this year have improved my fitness :)

The first task of the day is to climb Western Beacon. I find the climb exceptionally easy. It looks like my walks to the Cairngorms this year have improved my fitness ๐Ÿ™‚

Once I get up there the views Southward towards Ivybridge are pretty good.

Once I get up there the views Southward toward Ivybridge are pretty good.

After Western Beacon, it's a case of heading Northward toward the next hill - Butterdon Hill!

After Western Beacon, it’s then a case of heading Northward toward the next hill – Butterdon Hill!

A Dartmoor pony starts to take an interest in my activities. I'm guessing that they are used to visitors giving them food.

A Dartmoor pony starts to take an interest in my activities. I’m guessing that they are used to visitors giving them food.

Up ahead is the top of Butterdon Hill!

Up ahead is the top of Butterdon Hill!

The hill has a trig point marking 364 mtrs elevation, a decorated cairn and a boundary stone!

The hill has a trig point marking 364 mtrs elevation. It also has a decorated cairn and a boundary stone!

I soon leave Butterdon behind me. This is a silhouetted view back toward the hill with the sun behind it.

I soon leave Butterdon behind me. This is the silhouetted view back toward the hill with the sun behind it.

Up ahead is Hangershell rock. At the time I thought this was 'Flat Stone' as I had thought that the trail was taking me directly Northward...

Up ahead is Hangershell rock. At the time I thought this was ‘Flat Stone’ as I had thought that the trail i was on was taking me directly Northward…

A close up of Hangershell Rock!

A close up of Hangershell Rock!

I pass the rock and continue Northward. My trek should intercept the Two Moors Way, which I intend to cross with the intent of following some boundary stones Northward.

I pass the rock and continue Northward. My trek should intercept the Two Moors Way, which I intend to cross with the intent of following some boundary stones Northward.

Here's the intercept, but I'm not staying on Two Moors Way. Instead I head off track to follow the numerous boundary stones Northward.

Here’s the intercept, but I’m not staying on Two Moors Way. Instead I head off track to follow the numerous boundary stones Northward.

I'm surprised at just how many boundary stones there are and wonder what kind of boundary they were supposed to be marking?

I’m surprised at just how many boundary stones there are and wonder what kind of boundary they were supposed to be marking?

One of the boundary stones has a cross engraved in it and is called Hobajon's Cross. The stone itself is very old - from the Bronze Age!

One of the boundary stones has a cross engraved in it and is called Hobajon’s Cross. The stone itself is very old – from the Bronze Age!

The walk is really pleasant. The weather is great, the going is easy and dry and I have many wonderful boundary stones to examine as I head Northward.

The walk is really pleasant. The weather is great, the going is easy and dry and I have many wonderful boundary stones to examine as I head Northward.

Soon the boundary stones take me back to the Two Moors Way trail...

Soon the boundary stones take me back to the Two Moors Way trail…

I will only be on Two Moors Way for a short distance as I will soon need to hang a left up ahead toward Sharp Tor which is visible top left of the picture.

I will only be on Two Moors Way for a short distance as I will soon need to hang a left up ahead toward Sharp Tor which is visible top left of the picture.

Given the rain we have had I'm really surprised that the ground is so dry. I was expecting to have wet feet on day 1!

Given the rain that we have had I’m really surprised that the ground is so dry. I was expecting to have wet feet on day 1!

Sharp Tor!

Sharp Tor!

The marvellous view Southward from the direction that I had walked.

The marvellous view Southward from the direction that I had walked.

This is the view to the South West from Sharp Tor. The stream is the River Erme.

This is the view to the South West from Sharp Tor. The stream is the River Erme.

Down below to the West is my primary objective for today - Piles Copse!

Down below to the West is my primary objective for today – Piles Copse!

The climb downward is a pretty steep one. I'm pleased to note that there is a gap in the boundary wall that surrounds the Copse - this makes access much easier.

The climb downward is a pretty steep one. I’m pleased to note that there is a gap in the boundary wall that surrounds the Copse – this makes access much easier.

I soon get to the boundary of the Copse itself. At this point I don't know what to expect as I have never been here. I'm hoping that there will be somewhere to pitch a tent!

I soon get to the boundary of the Copse itself. At this point I don’t know what to expect as I have never been here. I’m hoping that there will be somewhere to pitch a tent!

Travelling through the leafless Piles Copse was quite eerie. There doesn't seem to be any sign of a good place to camp. So I start making alternative plans...

Travelling through the leafless Copse was quite an eerie experience. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of a good place to camp. So I start making alternative plans…

But as I get toward the Erme River, things open up and the ground flattens out to make a perfect camping spot!

But as I get toward the Erme River, things open up and the ground flattens out to make a perfect camping spot!

People have obviously used this place to camp in the past. I have to admit I'm not a fan of this style of open fire - I think it ruins the land. If people are going to light fires why not do it in a fire pit, then replace the turf afterward?

People have obviously used this place to camp in the past. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of this style of open fire – I think it ruins the land. If people are going to light fires why not do it in a fire pit, then replace the turf afterward?

Whilst the weather is good I take time to scout the river out as I will be fording it early the following morning.

Whilst the weather is good I take the opportunity to scout the river out as I will be fording it early the following morning.

A good friendly notice!

A good friendly notice!

This is the Southern extremity if the little island that I found myself on. I decide that this is probably the best place for the attempted fording the following morning.

This is the Southern extremity of the little island that I found myself on. I decide that this is probably the best place for the attempted fording the following morning.

The first task of the day is to put up the tent! I was a little surprised at how many people walked through the copse - I was hoping I would be in a nice isolated place, but alas.

The first task of the day is to put up the tent! I was a little surprised at how many people passed through the copse – I was hoping I would be in a nice isolated place, but alas…

The Water-To-Go bottle is put through its paces to get the water that I need for camp.

The Water-To-Go bottle is put through its paces to acquire the water that I need for camp.

The Akto Tent - all ready for a quiet evening by the River.

The Hilleberg Akto Tent – all ready for a quiet evening by the River.

The obligatory view out of the tent. I know there are websites out there that specialise in these views as several of my pictures have ended up there!

The obligatory view out of the tent. I know there are websites out there that specialise in these views, as several of my pictures have ended up there!

It's not around an hour before sunset, so I take the opportunity to get the evening meal on.

It’s now around an hour before sunset, so I take the opportunity to get the evening meal on.

And tonight's meal is a Mountain House Chilli Con Carne - one of my favourites!

And tonight’s meal is a Mountain House Chilli Con Carne – one of my favourites!

After the meal I use up the remaining daylight to read my ebook reader. Luckily for me it was late enough that I saw no more visitors.

The night ended up being a cold one, but I slept like a log!

That’s it for day one of the journey.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I’ll see you all next year ๐Ÿ™‚

Laters

RobP

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About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Camping, Day Walk, Hiking, Wild Camping. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Solo Ivybridge to Okehampton Dartmoor walk – Day 1

  1. Robin says:

    There are some good places to camp at the northern end of Piles Copse

    • RobP says:

      To be honest I thought at the time I was a lot further North in the copse than I really was. I will give the Northern end a look as from the map it looks like I missed out on exploring most of the copse.

  2. Andrew W says:

    Nice walk that. I did the same journey 1.5 years ago. Camped further along in the very same copse. Not so many people there but a lot of midges at the time.
    The next 2 days walking are rather fine.
    I ended being bitten by a horsefly on day 2 and stung by a Wasp in Okehampton. But it was August.
    Looking forward to the next couple of days.

    • RobP says:

      You sound pretty unlucky with regard to the local insects! The copse does make an excellent location to camp. I think next time through I will take a closer look at the Northern end ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Andrew W says:

        We went past on the higher track then dropped back down.
        That was because we missed the 1st track, but as it worked out, apart from bracken and a steep descent through the woods we ended up at the North end in a great little spot.

        Day 1

  3. RobP says:

    Just looked at your blog, it looks like you have a lot of TGO’s under your belt. When I get some free time I’m going to have to read about your experiences. It’s a shame WordPress blogs seem unable to follow blogs by other systems.

  4. Paul Byrne says:

    Not been to Dartmoor which i must put right. Another vote for Mountain House Chilli. I always pick spicy meals as at least there will be some flavour!

    • RobP says:

      Dartmoor is a great destination as it is the only place in the England where one can wander freely with no trails. This really invokes a great sense of freedom, especially in the Northern Moors.

      I agree on the food front – plus I like hot food too, so that’s an added bonus.

    • Martin Rye says:

      Dartmoor is wonderful Paul. Andy and me had a walk planned there last summer but things got in the way. Done a few walks there myself. Planning a return soon and Mr Walker is joining me. Day 1 looked good Rob.

  5. Jane says:

    Looks like a terrific walk. I love this open country where you can see far into the distance. Dinner looks delicious as well. Best wishes for 2015. Keep walking and sharing your pics and experiences. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Pingback: Year in Review 2014 | Uk Backpacker

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