Three Moors Way, 29 May – 2 June 2023

I walked the Two Moors Way in fine weather from Monday 29 May – Friday 2 June 2023. This is a brief record.

Day 1. Arrived Ivybridge station at around 19:30 on the bank-holiday Monday. I’d not downloaded the sliver of map that covers Ivybridge, which was a mistake that led me to faff around the station for too long, but eventually I found the route onto the moor. As I rose in height I was hit harder by the chilly north wind that was blowing up to a gale. The plan was to camp near a stone circle somewhere around SX 63769 64419, which involved a hack across moorland to the circle and then a return to the river. By now the gale was a full pelt and I decided I’d like some shield, so I erected the tarp I had with me as best I could in the rapidly diminishing twilight. Surprisingly this held till morning and did the job of providing some relief.

Day 2. A fine day involving a long old slog over Dartmoor. Thankfully the route takes in some of the eastern fringes of the moor around Scorriton and Widecombe, which provide interest and feature to counter the sometimes monotonous higher flat moor. That was redeemed today by the fine sunshine, bright blue skies and strong contrasting colours. Slept near the South Teign river at around SX 68076 85820.

Day 3. Chagford for supplies and then over the edges of the Dartmoor National Park and into the more rolling Devon farmlands. There’s some lengthy stretches of road walking, but these weren’t too bad, there being little traffic. Again, lovely weather and stunning countryside. Occasional villages allowed for resupply. I stopped at SS 78494 08390, thinking I was not near anyone. Amazingly at midnight a bunch of noisy, brutish farm vehicles turned up in a neighbouring field and started reaping – the hay I presume. This went on for three hours. After reassuring myself I was well out of the way and not about to get squished, I slept fitfully, before they finally departed.

Day 4. Second breakfast in Witheridge. I think (wrongly as it turns out) that this may be the last shop till Lynmouth, so stock up on bananas and bread. I get into Exmoor towards late afternoon, and spend a long time trying to sort out the downloaded maps on the iPhone – without success (do this at home). Somehow I get onto the high route at SS 85788 32009 which takes me above the river Barle, so I correct this by dropping down to the river along a bridleway. There is a knee-height ford to cross, but in a moment of good sense, I decide to leave that till the morning and stop on the western side of the river. Almost immediately a mountain-biker comes past, but he’s friendly and non-intrusive. But about half-an-hour later a farmer on a quad sweeps along the other side of the river. As there’s no livestock there at all, I rather suspect he was checking for wild-campers, it being an idyllic spot. I keep my head down, and he doesn’t see me at SS 85370 33499.

Day 5. Fording the river turns out to be easy – even in bare feet. Then a brisk walk to Withypool, where it turns out there is a shop, but I skip this. Then a lovely mixed walk moving between farmland and moor, until eventually reaching the steep sided wooded coombe that brings me into Lynmouth just after 3pm. With train strikes, a nightmarish journey home, which ends with me needing to be picked up from Bristol by the support team.

Two Moors Way. Highly recommended. A great mix of terrain and a good look at lovely Devon countryside. I managed it with just the OS maps on my phone and following a GPX I’d downloaded. There’s more information on the walk’s website.