As you all know, I recently went wild camping in Dartmoor and you can read all about our first day here. After a very wet first day and heavy rainfall throughout the night, we woke up and were surprisingly chipper. Our trip was getting cut short due to all our belongings getting soaked. We had a long hike ahead of us but didn’t leave camp un till gone 12 as we settled down for coffee, hot chocolate and toasted bagels before we set off.
On the first day we didn’t see anyone, and we never saw any other people camping. It’s quite every as you’re unsure if people are about or not. Seeing someone in the distance makes you feel a little at ease, knowing that someone else is around and you’re not the only ones in this huge, vast space. During the night we did hear something past, we assume it was some wild ponies as we heard some noise, hoofs and our pots and pans clatter, quite scary but exciting too, being surrounded by nature.
Anyway, we walked down towards the reservoir which was about 20 minutes downhill from us but once we arrived, we realised the opening was on the other side and we didn’t have time to go there so made our way back up the hill to the entrance of the forest. The picture above with the gate is the entrance, it was surrounded by moss covered walls and trees, it looked like a little fairyland.
Just outside of the entrance we hiked up the hill towards the wall but stopped on a big boulder for lunch. It was a lovely view, hills in the distance with sheep and cows grazing, the sun had come out that day but wasn’t hot enough to dry all our clothes, it was a lovely spot. We settled down for some pasta with sausage and it was amazing, along with the view it was the perfect lunch.
PIN IT! PIN IT!Dartmoor has actually been farmed since prehistoric times. A history junkie like myself was so amazed when I finally saw the stone circles (pictured above). There’s evidence of Neolithic remains (c3500BC), Menhirs, stone circles and ruined villages scattered all over the moor. Above are photographs of Grey Wethers Double Stone Circle, some of the stones were restored in 1909 but they have been there for a long long time before that. The exact purpose of stone circles is still unknown, but still a fab site to see. We did walk past Hartland Tor on our way back to the car but we sadly didn’t have time to hike to the top and have a look round.
We ended up wasting 1.5 hours trying to cross the river, the same river we had crossed the day before. From all the rain the previous day the river was higher and some of the rocks we had used to cross beforehand were now under water. We tried various routes before cutting our loses and following two other people on the side we were on.
I’m glad we didn’t manage to cross the river as it was amazing on the other side. The previous day had been quite foggy and therefore we couldn’t really see the view but in the clear day, it was incredible. I adore the picture above, it’s just stunning.
Once we were back at the car, we drank our weight in water. During the hike, as it was a hot day we were using more water than the day before and were running low but we made it back before we ran out. We decided that we would drive to the spot that we stopped at on the first day. Finish were we started if you will. This is when we busted out the marshmallows. I’ve never roasted marshmallows on a fire/stove before and it was so fun. We did have two packets but the ones attached to my cousins bag must have fallen off somewhere, we didn’t realise until we went to put our bags into the car, so somewhere in Dartmoor there’s a full pack of marshmallows waiting to be eaten! We finished with some coffee, and some pictures of the beautiful view. The road into Dartmoor is straight over loads of rolling hills so I suggested watching the sun set before making a move. Best decision ever.
We pulled over at the top of another hill, grabbed some sweets and music and sat on the side of road watching the sun set. M83 (my new favourite band) playing in the background, it was the highlight of the trip. Even now, when I listen to certain songs, it takes me back to watching the sun set below the moors. Looking all around, not a power-line in site, a farm house dotted here and there and miles and miles of rolling hills, Dartmoor is so tranquil, so utterly peaceful and incredibly beautiful. It’s really hard to describe and the pictures really don’t do the place justice, it’s the best trip I’ve ever had. We had our struggles and it was sadly cut short, but we will return one day, for 2-3 nights and explore the rest of this beautiful place.
This trip seriously chilled me out, it relaxed me so much as although I did cry in the tent the night before because I was so wet and miserable, it was all worth it for the second day. Roasting marshmallows, everyone chipping in with their awful puns, having a laugh with my family, it was a great experience. After my Nanma passing, this is really what we all needed, she would have absolutely loved Dartmoor, and I like to think that she was there with us too, especially when we were watching the sun set.
Although this trip was very tiring for us all both mentally and physically, it has really made us want to do more! We were planning on going back next month, however research of other places has got us itching to explore somewhere new, so from the 9th-11th August, we will be hiking in the Brecon Beacons in Wales and I can not wait. Two days in this idyllic place has turned me into a nature loving hippy that wants to explore everywhere and nothing is going to change that.
Would you recommend anywhere to go wild camping? What’s your fondest memory from a holiday?