A stunning walk along the River Teign
Friday 20th September 2013
Here's young Austin taking a look at the shallow stream that crosses the pathway alongside the River Teign
beyond Rushford Bridge near to Mill End, Sandy Park 2 miles downstream from Chagford. From where we live, it's
at the start of our riverside walk up to Castle Drogo. Last Saturday Rob suggested we take a walk up the Castle
for a closer look at the scaffolding that's recently been put in place ready for essential work on the leaking roof.
The excellent Distance Measurement Tool on the Google maps website tells me that the distance covered
is 2.04931 miles (one way). See the red line above. This is a brilliant way of finding out how much you
have walked. Give it a try. Grid reference for Rushford Bridge is SX 66 78, ref for the Castle is SX 72 90
Anyone who has been to Chagford Show will know exactly where this walk starts. Through the main
show field and following the river as gravity pulls it off the Moor, there's much to see in any season,
from Spring lambs to ........
....autumn colour galore. The mountain ash is laden with berries right now, and clumps of wild heather is
showing itself off framed by bracken that's starting to turn colour. The gorse above it has a seemingly perpetual
display. I've taken pics of it in the worst Winter weather, still showing it's pretty yellow pea like flowers.
The walk is well signposted by wooden fingerposts. At the end of the second field, go through the kissing
gate and head off left, starting to climb away from the river. Past Gib House, onto a single track tarmac drive,
over a cattle grid and in about 200 yards turn right through another gate with Castle Drogo signposted.
Keep your eyes peeled here, we once had a herd of deer suddenly appear in front of us from nowhere.
They were on the move too quickly for me to get the camera out. A group of around 16 or so coming down
from high ground, headlong over the tarmac lane, then up to the road proper and leaping up to higher
farmland beyond. We stood transfixed, as they rushed into our lives and out in a matter of seconds.
I'm high on Hunter's Path. There are wide ranging views from here as far as Haytor Rocks and Kestor Rock.
Spread out below is a fantastic view of trees that line the banks River Teign. One can almost hear Richard Attenbourough's nasal voice telling you that "Here in the canopy we can observe the evolutionary growth of..... "
and I'm pointing to just below me, dozens of housemartins flitting in and out above the packed gorse bushes, picking
off flying insects in the heat of the day. In and out, round and back. No traffic noise here, and in a few months time
you can guarantee, the stag deer will be bellowing their mating calls across the deer park on the opposite bank.
We're almost at the top of the path ready to turn left and into National Trust land. Topsy covers about 4 times
more than we do by the time she has gone ahead, turned back, got waylaid by rabbit holes and dog scents.
Just one more set of steps and I'll have to put her on the lead as we approach National Trust land.
That's quite some climb from start to finish. Hang on what am I talking about ? Call that a climb ?
These 3 hardy individuals know all about climbing, as they wrap yet more scaffolding around the castle.
It took from 1910 to 1930 to build this the last castle to be built in England. The property boasts 913
windows containing over 13,000 window panes ! But despite efforts to make the building watertight,
the rain high up on this escarpment continues to find it's way in. The leaking roof is the main culprit,
so considerable work is about the be carried out. Hence the cover up job.
We took a look around the outside before heading off to the tearoom for a reviving slice of treacle
tart and pot of tea. The head gardener was conducting a tour round the gardens as we passed by.
If you've never been to Castle Drogo, the gardens and the tea room on their own are well worth a visit.
My tip : If you treat yourself to lunch at the start of your walk or a cream tea at the end, or better still BOTH !
then I know that the Mill End hotel will be happy for you to park in their car park.