Wayward Wanderers Walking Group


September 13, 2010, prb, Comments: 0

Fine afternoon; good vibes

Quite a large group assembled in the Steamer Quay car park at Totnes........... 

..............for the start of this walk, including several the regulars had not seen for a while, a factor which increased the scope for interesting conversations on the way round.

Setting off, we headed first for the road bridge over the River Dart and then turned left at the Seven Stars roundabout and into The Plains..........  
Continuing from there close to the river, just after the Steam Packet we entered Baltic Wharf.  Part way through this commercial area we struck off right onto a field footpath.   This continued on the pleasant side of the Wharf's western boundary, but soon we left the wharf area entirely behind.

The path continued in a generally southerly direction close to the western bank of the Dart along the bottom side of some very steeply sloping fields, 
........patches of woodland, and past a herd of cattle, .........   .............gradually moving slightly further away from the river's main channel. 

Eventually we joined a track, but soon afterwards the public right of way became a field path that climbed up - very steeply - to the right.   This tested most of us, but eventually, relieved, we all reached the stile at the top.  Fortunately the climb eased off as the path turned left into the woodland.  Soon we reached a surfaced road and the entrance to the Sharpham estate.   Someone had thoughtfully provided a permissive path on one side of the road which we all took in preference to the tarmac until it came to an end just before the edge of Ashprington village centre.

We paused here briefly to admire its lovely buildings, ........

...........but then took the lane up to the right towards Ashprington Cross.  By now we had gained some 100m of elevation above the river and every now and again expansive views could be had through gaps in the roadside hedges.  Turning right at the crossroads we continued gently upwards for another kilometre, shortly after which we left the lane and onto a field footpath to the right.  This entailed a steep climb up steps from the lane and then over a stone stile and a wooden fence into the field.  Once into the field some of the most expansive views of the walk opened up.  Visibility today was excellent.  Besides seeing the sea to the east, Belvedere tower at Haldon to the north, some 30 miles distant, was also visible, which I for one found surprising.    

There was another difficult field boundary crossing this path, this time a wooden stile, an old stone slab stile, and a wooden fence, which some found challenging.  Soon, however, we left the field path by another stile............ 
...........by which a bird's eye view over Totnes could be had,  ........

...........and joined a narrow lane.  This headed downhill quite steeply, and very soon we reached the outskirts of the town, and then the Steam Packet Inn.  We retraced our route  across the Plains and Totnes Bridge, ..............

............and back to the Steamer Quay. 

Before returning to the cars we all paused at the cafe for some welcome refreshments.  While there one heard a grouse from one walker that he had managed to get round the whole route in his shorts without getting stung by nettles, only to brush up against some shortly before the end.   That is singularly unfortunate, but it does remind me of the old Chinese proverb:  "He who dislikes being stung by nettles should not wear shorts."

Despite this, he and all the others on the walk thoroughly enjoyed it.  We thank  Tomi for giving us all a very pleasant afternoon. 

We covered about 5.8 miles in all.  The track for the route has been uploaded to GPSies and can be access from this link:

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