Dartmoor: High Willhays trek

Meldon Reservoir

This was a pretty 7 mile circular trail which began at Meldon Reservoir and included a climb to the summit of High Willhays before descending to the West Okement River.

Meldon Dam

We parked in the Meldon Reservoir car park which had plenty of spaces. We paid £3 per car for the day and toilets were available. From the car park we made our way to Meldon Dam and walked across admiring the views of the reservoir and the valley. The dam was constructed in the early 1970’s and serves a population of 200,000 people.

Meldon Reservoir
Meldon Reservoir

From the dam Mike, Russell, Roza, Chris and I went through the gate and up a grassy slope towards Yes Tor.

Passing cattle and ponies of Dartmoor National Park.

Chris

The path became steeper and rockier as we approached the summit of Yes Tor which at 619 meters is the second highest peak in Dartmoor.

Making our way to High Willhays

The summit of High Willhays is 621 m and the highest peak in Devon and the Dartmoor National Park.

Shortly after starting our descent towards the river we stopped for a peaceful and relaxing lunch where we took in the magnificent views of the Okement River Valley.

Black-a-Tor Copse

Growing through boulders at an altitude of 380 meters, the Black-a-Tor Copse is one of three ancient high altitude woodlands on Dartmoor. The climate has stunted the growth of these small English Oak trees and thanks to the strong winds blowing through the valley some of them also lean east and west. The copse is also home to 44 different species of moss and rare lichens.

Following the Okement River
Meldon Reservoir

We followed the grassy track which eventually led us back to the reservoir and the car park.

Cream tea

Flo didn’t participate in this walk however we had a lovely surprise when we returned to the holiday house as she had brought fresh home-made scones from a local farm shop together with jam and clotted cream for us all. Cream teas are a speciality of Devon and Cornwall and are served in many tea rooms across both counties. This was a treat as we sat in the sun in the sheltered courtyard of the Sandmartins holiday house.

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