Hemerden, Headen Ramble

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    Name of walk; Hemerdon, Headon Ramble | #1 GC2AHKM
    Where: Ivybridge
    By: sharkin136 and Maintained by: Felixmycat
    Walked by: dartymoor, 10th December 2011
    Caches on Trail: 24
    Additional Caches attempted: 1
    Caches Found: 24/25 (All of series, failed at extra)
    Distance: 7.24mi
    Duration: 4 hour, 11 minutes
    Going: Very varied from open moor, very very wet fields and woodland and tracks.
    Muddy and soft in places. One long steep hill to start and a shorter one towards the end, otherwise reasonably level and good going with a short road section along a very quiet lane.
    Track: http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/lzbytYiz42s

    Good bits: Some great views, generally easy going, a few interesting bits and the odd surprise.

    I wanted to do this one for a few reasons – it’s a good long walk, it’s not overly steep, it took in some modern mining history and some old mining history. I wanted to do it soon because the local news had said the Tungsten mine was due to re-open and as this trail went right through it, it was a good chance to see it before it gets closed off again!

    I’d grabbed one cache as a drive-through on the day of the letterbox meet, and started on the east side of the loop at #16 so this walk is starting there, where there’s plenty of parking on the side of the road.

    Arrived at dawn and soon off down the road. Up the quarry road and soon left that into a quiet track for the first of the caches. From here, across the stream, through some very untidy fields that were sopping wet (probably still damp in summer), and badly signposted by the council. Fortunately the caches are so placed as to make it easy to find where the trail goes. Up across the fields and into some nicely spaced oak woodland which, unusually, was like a bog underfoot. Very unusual and quite heavy going up the hill. More rubbish from the farmer, but soon away over the top and some blue sky above and around. The trail took me to some lovely ruins. Then out of there (with some photos) and across to open moor – spooking a herd of about a dozen roe deer.

    Now out onto the open moor, it’s easy walking around and down to the official start of the trail. Again, a little wet, but not over yer boots wet, just squelchy.

    Finding #1, it was now about 10am and I spotted two names with today’s date! Geocachers ahead of me! Cornish Gazza and God of Biscuits. Would I meet up with them?

    More moorland (although technically outside of dartmoor, but that’s clearly a political decision so as to allow the clay pits to work). After a mile or so, into a very narrow and extremely muddy and overgrown lane for half a mile (with more deer alongside) until it pops out onto tarmac. A nice little walk then through quiet lanes (yet more deer!) until you climb up and onto tracks, and soon onto the modern ruins of the Tungsten mine. This was quite a sight as the path goes right through the middle. Met a chap coming towards me who turned out to be God of Biscuits looking for a lost dog. Quick chat and then up to the top of the hill where I met up with Cornish Gazza and some friends he’d found to search for the lost Charlee (later found at a nearby pub over 24 hours later!)

    Carried on and was caught up by Biscuits who joined me on the route back to the car. Actually my first walk with another cacher (bored wives don’t count)!

    We tried the extra puzzle cache of GC33N10 (Stirling Bomber Memorial Stone – very poignant bit of history) but it wasn’t where I worked it out – saw later it had migrated, and it was the only DNF). Finally back to the car just over four hours later (no really long stops) and a good-bye to Biscuits who still had half the loop to finish. (Gazza completed the circuit but was very late around after spending hours looking for the dog)

    This, I think, is one of my favourite all time geocache walks. Enough of a challenge for the relatively unfit me to be pleased with, and being able to find every cache on the series is also unusual and very nice. All the caches were well maintained and with good coordinates (a couple were hard to find in the woodland, but that’s GPS’s for you!).

    Definitely recommended.

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