Saturday, 13 June 2009
Dartmoor Day 1
This week I arranged to stay in the heart of Dartmoor, a place called Two Bridges. This is a luxury hotel and was a favourite place of Vivien Leigh the film star. Apparently her room still retains her presence. The hotel is said to be haunted by her. On my first day I went to Okehampton Castle, on the edge of Dartmoor. This was quite picturesque and is said to be haunted by one of the ghost of Lady Howard, who is doomed to drive a spectral coach made from the bones of her murdered husbands. However it is thought to be untrue that she murdered her husbands. Although I think the idea of a coach made from bones is rather fantastic.
I then went to visit Lydford gorge, on my way to check into the hotel. Lydford gorge was amazing. It is however slightly dangerous in places and on the way to the Devils Cauldron - a pool where the waterfall makes lots of noise coming down on to the rocks - you have to hold on very tight to the railing while walking along slippery stones. The waterfall was very beautiful and was a great way to start a visit to Dartmoor. Lydford gorge is said to be the haunt of a white lady, hence the name of the White Lady Waterfall. Although personally I think perhaps the name of the waterfall comes from its appearance, which does look a lot like a white lady?
After we had checked into the hotel, we went for a drink at the Warren Inn. This pub is almost in the middle of nowhere and is possibly the model for "The Slaughtered Lamb" in the film American Werewolf in London. It has a fire which has been burning continuously since 1845.
Close to the Warren Inn is Bennets Cross. The views of the moors from the cross are superb. The weather changed very suddenly, and we were able to appreciate true moorland weather, which can be sunny one moment then heavy mist the next. It very atmospheric to see the way the mist shrouds the tops of Dartmoor's stone tors. This was very eerie and fascinating. We followed the GPS up to Merrivale stone rows, and walked around in the fog, the ground was waterlogged although not dangerously boggy and it was hugely eerie. Merrivale is the second most important prehistoric site on Dartmoor after Grimspound. I was extremely glad I was able to see Dartmoor in the mist because this enhanced the atmosphere and enabled me to appreciate its sublime beauty.