Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Walking from Lemonford campsite to Rora Wood and Liverton

One aspect of our current campsite, Lemonford, that most
Vintage tractor at Liverton 
attracted us to it is its proximity to Dartmoor and, therefore, potentially good walks. We set out on one a couple of days ago which Dave had plotted from our new Ordnance Survey Landranger map 191. Starting from Lemonford and walking in to Bickington, we crossed over the River Lemon and took the second left, passing under the A38. We then passed a turning to Yeo Farm, instead taking the bridleway towards Goodstone Woods. I wondered if Yeo Farm was a contributor to Yeo Valley, but couldn't find any connections mentioned online. There is a beautifully picturesque Bed and Breakfast called Owls Rattle on the junction. (They're not taking bookings right now though)

At a fork, we took the right-hand footpath towards
I never get bored of bluebell woods 
Ramshorn Down. There was a little uncertainty leaving the first field. It turns out that through the leaning metal gate is the correct route! The narrow wooded path follows a pretty little stream for quite a way, emerging at Coombe Farm where a protective collie dog didn't allow us much thinking time. We should have gone straight ahead uphill, but actually took the right fork along a rough road away from the farm. It didn't really matter as we then rejoined our footpath by turning left at the tarmaced road and completing a triangle. Our track to Ramshorn Down, after a short distance on the right, climbed up onto open moorland with stunning panoramic views in almost 360 degrees. We spotted Lemonford below us and looked over to Haytor where we previously walked a couple of weeks ago.

View to Haytor (you'll need to squint to see it though!) 
Descending towards Rora House, we passed either several little or one huge equestrian establishment. There are numerous tyre jumps by the sides of tracks too. The three-way junction where we turned down to the House only has signs pointing in the other two directions, but it is marked as a right of way from the other end. Rora House is an elegant pinkish coloured building, unfortunately obscured by scaffolding at the moment, and is a religious retreat for 'Regions Overseas, Regions Around'. I think the house must have been named first!

Liverton hamlet, on the far side of Rora Wood, is picture
Song thrush egg (?)
postcard pretty, although a possible scrap metal merchant on the outskirts spoils the effect. I think the vintage tractor pictured above was his though. We ate our picnic lunch perched on a road bridge just before the village, and then followed the road through as the farthest point of our circular walk. Returning around the other side of Rora Wood, we climbed steadily uphill along forestry tracks and paths. There are lots of options here and the Wood seems popular with dog walkers. I am not sure of our exact route, but we ended up coming back to the three-way junction and retracing our steps to Ramshorn Down, now with those expansive views in the other direction. There are two tracks marked on the map to cross the Down. We had come up from the Coombe Farm direction and so headed back along the other track. This entailed climbing over a stile prior to a short but very steep downhill section after crossing the road. I didn't like this bit at all, but had we done the route the other way round we would have had a very steep uphill and Dave certainly wouldn't have liked that!

We returned along the same woodland path as we had taken on the way out. There are a couple of places where unofficial small diversions around fallen trees or muddy patches make the path vague for a while. Our whole route was about six miles and we were delighted with the range of environments we saw. Were we staying here longer, we would certainly do more walking from Lemonford as it is a great base location. The little roads are very quiet and there are plenty of small villages and hamlets to discover as well as Dartmoor itself.


  1. Sounds like a fabulous walk! Nothing like wandering through woodland. I hope a beautiful, thriving, baby came out of that Thrush egg!!

    Danielle xo

    1. Me too! We saw a couple of the broken eggs on the ground but, of course, no sign of the birds themselves. I need to learn to walk more quietly!