Yelverton is a scattered hamlet on the western edge of Dartmoor National Park with an assortment of homes, a parade of shops and two or three pubs plus some excellent walking trails.
Two different routes from here have appeared on our Walk & Talk programme and are always popular but as I left home on this grey, misty August morning, I wondered which route we would be following today. Once we had parked up, Drake’s Trail lay ahead and we were soon following Maggie across the leat to cut through Elford Town Farm so that much became clear.
Most of us knew that this sturdy, stone bridge that lay ahead is the first of two that we will be seeing today; built to carry the former railway line across the lane before the line dropped down to run through a cutting parallel with the footpath. But I am getting ahead of myself now as we have yet to join that footpath via a kissing gate but some smart new signage ensured that we didn’t miss it. Two more kissing gates followed carrying us downwards and soon we began hearing running water and the River Meavy came into view. Hoo Meavy Bridge crosses the river so it was here in this pretty spot that we had a break and Barbara was first out with her flask while I followed a Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly around trying to get a photo of this stunning creature with its metallic blue body and darker blue wings and as you can see below, my patience paid off.
In part two we re-traced our steps for a while until we walked beneath another bridge that I hadn’t even noticed earlier and once out the other side, a stile lay off to one side. There were eighteen of us today so it took a bit of time for everyone to climb over and access Mabor Wood on the other side but Margaret’s little dog refused point blank to go climbing stiles despite all our coaching, so he found himself a fence he could squeeze beneath.
We would have to cross two more stiles as we ascended the steep hillside but fortunately the other two were dog-friendly with a bar to lift for canines to gain access to the next section of the footpath. As well as new signage, all the stiles we encountered had been repaired since our last visit but I think most of us were glad to pause for a second breather after we had crossed back over the last one and then traversed the leat and were back on the trail.
All that remained now was to walk back to Yelverton but an unbelievable number of cyclists were all competing for the same space as us. Most exchanged a friendly ‘Hello’ or ‘Good morning’ with us as they passed, but not all and a few totally ignored us as they sped past.
By this time the weather had brightened up considerably and it felt quite humid as there was very little wind about leaving us free to chat and look about as we strolled along; green was the dominant colour and the foliage was looking exceptionally lush wherever we looked. Most of the flowering plants are now setting seed so there was not much in the way of other colours to see, just a few Yellow Pimpernels and Agrimony plants but nothing remarkable happened along the way, it was just a good walk shared with excellent company.