Walk your way to wellness

Life has been busy. When is it not? Today was the day to stop, lift my head up from the to-do lists, inspect a map and hop in the car to a new place.

Today the place is a wide open one, where the wind whistles a tune and the sun plays hide and seek with the clouds. It’s rugged and wild and ancient and beautiful. It’s Dartmoor.

We parked at Shipley Bridge and ambled towards Avon Dam. The area holds onto its industrial past with remnants of tin mining, peat workings and china clay still evident today including remains of Zeal Tor tramway used to transport peat and clay from Red Lake.

The water of the Avon babbled endlessly as we strode out, counting kestrels riding the thermals as we went. Ferns and trees. Reservoir and river. Gorse and granite. Damp air. Huge skies. Blazing sun.

Look carefully as you go and you’ll discover more of our past: a Bronze Age settlement and a stone engraved with names of local huntmasters.

We spied Red Lake’s distinct ‘volcano’ in the distance. Could we make it? Would the light last? No. No, we’d come back another day, next time earlier and better equipped for a long day’s walk.

Instead, our legs and lungs burned as we lunged upwards and climbed to Black Tor. Here, we stopped. We looked around. We watched squally showers glide across the land. We picked out distant tors and shores.

Devon unfurled herself like a beautifully detailed map, contours rising and falling in all directions.

The land was calm and full of natural wonder. A piece of wilderness in an otherwise busy world.

Why not try going somewhere new in your downtime? It need not be far, but escaping to a fresh landscape can do wonders for your soul and your Instagram 😉 

Em x

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I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

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