This walk: 2019-9-25.
Cold East Cross (formerly Ham Hill Cross), Teign estuary,
parish (and manor) boundary stones incised with A (Ashburton), B (Buckland) and EPB - Edmund
Pollexfen Bastard, Lord of the Manor of Buckland in the Moor, English Channel, sheep creep, Buckland Beacon
and the Ten Commandments Stones, Jubilee Stone, parish boundary stones,
Welstor aka Well's Tor, Welstor
Rock, Welstor Common rifle range, quarry, bullet-stop, maidenhair spleenwort, 200, 500
and 600-yard markers.
Walk details below - Information about the route etc.
On the way to the walk, approaching from the A38 via Owlacombe and Halshanger Crosses and The Lost City of Stormsdown, you pass over .....
Rushlade Bridge and the older clapper bridge beside it over the River Ashburn, at SX 74465 73803.
On the first reconnaissance walk, 2 September 2019, a diversion of 230 metres (250 yards) north of Cold East Cross car park .....
The prominent PW 1746 stone at SX 73951 74485, erected at the junction of the three manors of Halshanger, Buckland and Rushlade, by Philip Woodley (Woodleigh), whose family held Halshanger Manor, from 1586 to 1925. It appears that a stone has stood here since 1683. It is also on the Ashburton / Buckland parish boundary. It stands about 50 metres (55 yards) west of Dry Bridge which is on the road north to Widecombe or Haytor and over a gully that floods after rain.
From near the Cold East Cross car park, a zoomed view to Teignmouth f, 20 km (12.5 miles distant).
The first EPB 1837 Buckland Manor stone encountered on the walk, at SX 73913 74153, erected by Edmund Pollexfen Bastard, Lord of the Manor of Buckland in the Moor. His Parliamentary record is HERE, with no mention of Dartmoor. He is mentioned in the description of the Cross at Buckland Manor. The stones were erected to mark the boundary of Buckland Manor in 1837, a year before his death. Also, on the Ashburton / Buckland parish boundary, with A and B on opposite faces .....
A = Ashburton (B = Buckland) parish boundary stone at SX 73913 74153 ..... has EPB on the left (quite rough) face but no 1837 .....
On the reverse side, a hard-to-see B (Buckland).
EPB stone at SX 73770 73932, the face towards the camera has EPB 1837 incised into it .....
..... with a "B" on the left face to signify Buckland parish and .....
...... an "A" (in bottom half) cut into the right-hand face to signify Ashburton parish. These may old and new boundary stones left together.
Double i.e. old and new A / EPB 1837 / B manor and parish boundary stones beside the Welstor Newtake wall, at SX 73734 73858 ..... The Welstor Newtake wall was built in 1771. Source: Mike Brown (2001) Guide to Dartmoor, CD-ROM, Dartmoor Press, Grid Square 7362 7376.
A = Ashburton-facing face .....
B = Buckland-in-the-Moor facing face.
The English Channel, shimmering in the distance, with the photograph taken against the sun.
Hob's Mark, aka the Devil's Hoofprint, at SX 73580 73526 .....
Context, for the hoofprint. This is a story cannot be told ..... I haven't finished making it up yet!
Approaching some pine trees at SX 73585 73361. I have read somewhere that this planting of trees was a sign of human occupation and perhaps there was a dwelling here but there is no sign of it now? The photograph was taken leaning over the newtake wall .....
Taken from the same location as the preceeding photograph, this photograph shows Buckland Beacon .....
A zoomed view of Buckland Beacon: the Commandments Stones are out of sight on the left flank, almost at ground level.
Remains of two cairns near the newtake wall?
Having passed the trees, here is a sheep creep .....
..... through which you can "make like a sheep" - no posts and barbed wire on this side of the wall !
Paired needles indicate Scots pine .....
Another view of the trees and the wall behind them .....
This is an impressive piece of walling, some of those stones are big.
The Commandments Stones - the two stones with the lettering .....
The two flat-faced stones in the centre of this photograph are The Ten Commandments Stones, see this Legendary Dartmoor link for details. The stones were commissioned by William Whitely of Wellstor, Lord of Buckland Manor, in 1928, in celebration of the rejection by Parliament of a proposed new Book of Common Prayer that was deemed too popish by many. There are two dates on the stones: 15th Dec 1927 and 14 June 1928, that are the dates on which the revised book was rejected. When it was realised that there would be room to spare, the third verse of the hymn "Oh God our help in ages past" was added to the second stone. There are 1,547 letters.
One of the stones ......
The other stone .....
The Commandments Stones were originally inscribed in 1928. They were re-cut and painted black in 1995, renovated in 2009 when they were re-cut and left unpainted (judging by the photographs linked below from 2010) and now re-cut and repainted in 2017.
The inscriptions can be seen clearly in these photographs from 2010 ...........
The photo-montages of the stones show some distortion due to using a camera with a relatively wide-angle lens - some joins are not perfect! You can navigate around the large images using the keyboard arrow keys. If you are viewing in full screen mode (F11), you will need to press F11 again to access your browser "Back" button to return to this page.
Clive Gunnell's book, My Dartmoor (1977), Bossiney Books, St. Teath, Bodmin, pages 24-27, recounts how W. Arthur Clement, an Exmouth man, cut the Commandments after dressing the two slabs that Mr Whitely, Lord of Buckland Manor, had selected. The work was to commemorate the rejection of a Revised Prayer Book by Parliament. It was to include the dates of the reading of the Bill, 15th December 1927 and 14th June 1928. Work started on 23rd July, 1928, and finished on 31st August, 1928. He worked 9½ hours a day, in all weathers. During this time he slept in what sounds like a cow shed in woods below the Beacon. It isn't recorded if this was part of Buckland Hall or perhaps Mr Whitely's own Welstor.
Clive was a popular presenter on Westward Television (franchise period 1961-1981), for instance: the 1969 story of Jolly Lane Cott, at Huccaby, Hexworthy, possibly the last house in Britain to be built in a day, in 1835. An interesting story. When filming was done, I bet he was in the Forest Inn - he was a "character", much missed. He died in 2006, aged 80. Scroll down the screen on the link for the "Watch for free" icon.
Just above the Commandments Stones, about halfway the top of the beacon, is an angled flat rock that was inscribed in 1935, known as the Jubilee Stone .....
The rucksack is at the top of the stone .....
Another view .....
Photograph taken 19 Sept. 2019 .....
Photograph taken 9 June 2010.
Seen from Buckland Beacon .....
Church of St. Peter, Buckland, SX 72040 73143, largely hidden by trees, 1.46 km (0.9 mile) distant ..... with its famous "My Dear Mother" clock face.
Buckland Court, 1.43 km (0.9 miles) distant .....
Church of St. John the Baptist, Leusdon, 2.55 km (1.6 miles) distant.
Warren House Inn, 10 km (6 miles) distant, with Fernworthy Forest behind.
Ausewell Rocks amidst the trees 1 mile and
||A38 - hill near Lower Dean 5 miles to near Dean Prior 6 miles|
– conspicuous at 7 miles
with the meanderings of the river 1 mile
TOWER (behind a tree) 1 mile
Tor 9.5 miles
- the lonely, distinctive low mound of turf on its summit,
Warren House Inn, with Fernworthy Forest behind 10m
Hameldon lifts up its great rounded form 5 miles
Honeybag Tor 3½ miles
Chinkwell Tor 3 miles
Bell Tor 2.9 miles
Bonehill Rocks 2.7 miles
less than 2 m iles
Haldon high land
12 m iles
72° to 180°
72° to 180°
Further to the
R. is The Channel, with the
coast line from Beer Head
(31 miles), near the mouth of the Axe, to the estuary of the Exe.
From Exmouth we trace the coast downward to the Bolt Head (23 miles)
and Bigbury Bay, when intervening hills hide it from view.
town lying in the valley 2½ m iles
An Ashburton/Buckland parish boundary stone at SX 73558 73037 ± 3 metres, about 75 metres downhill from the stile, called Gray Mare or Longstone?
Mike Brown (2001) Guide to Dartmoor, CD-ROM, Dartmoor Press, Grid Square 7354 7302, says: The plain stone on the Buckland / Ashburton parish boundary standing beside the Welstor newtake wall is today called the Grey Mare, and has probably been known by this name for some 150 years or more. The name is in fact very much older, for a bond mark called Gray Mare is recorded as having stood in this vicinity as early as 1593.
Mike Brown and Dave Brewer both concluded from old records that Gray Mare was down the hill and below Stidwell Spring. It is suggested that Gray Mare disappeared during the building of the newtake wall in 1771. The next stone up the slope is Stidwell Spring (is it still there?) and then is the stone above, called Longstone. Source: Dave Brewer (2002), Dartmoor Boundary Markers, Halsgrove, p. 106-109.
William Crossing (1912, reprinted 2001) Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, Peninsula Press, Newton Abbot, page 346 (bottom of): calls this stone the Grey Mare. NB - All spellings as printed.
Looking back at Buckland Beacon, with some people looking at the Commandments Stones for scale.
Approaching Welstor, SX 73745 73006 ..... there is also Wells Tor that cannot be seen from here .....
Scene looking back at Buckland Beacon .....
Welstor Rock out in a sea of gorse .....
Welstor Rock - zoomed photograph - I couldn't find a path to it.
The next part of the walk looks at the old Welstor Common Rifle Range .....
The building above is shown on the 1886 25-inch OS Single Sheet map at the top right corner, seemingly in front of "Targets"! The rest of the firing range is shown down the lower right edge of this 1886 25-inch OS map, which also shows the junction known today as Cold East cross.
Devon & Dartmoor HER - MDV114604 - Rifle Range on Welstor Common, includes: "A rifle range was established on Welstor Common in 1861 for use by the Ashburton Rifle Volunteers and represents the earliest recorded military training within the Rippon Tor PAL (Premier Archaeological Landscape). It continued in use until at least 1886 when depicted on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map, but by the time of the Second Edition (1905) it was absent, although William Crossing refers to it in his 1912 Guide to Dartmoor."
The Rifle Range is described on the Old Ashburton web site, under The Rifle Volunteers (one page) and The Rifle Volunteers (continued). The second page has most information (Hint - use CTRL + F to search for Welstor, press Return to run down the page to see mentions). The page starts with mention, in 1861, of the 500 and 600 yard competitions, which are ranges on this range seen on today's walk. The text is excellent in its detail.
Pastscape - Second World War Firing Range - 1939-1945 - there is a WW2 Rifle Range nearby on Halshanger Common
A 2015 Survey of the Rippon Tor Premier Archaeological Landscape mentions Welstor Rifle Range briefly on page 40, saying it was used until at least 1887.
To the south of the building is a disused quarry, labelled as Old Sand Pit on some maps.
Welstor Common rifle range states: The target storehouse/shelter with its massive stone wall facing the firing lines. This rifle range was created in 1861 for the use of the Ashburton Rifle Volunteers. It was in use until about 1900, the 1905 OS map does not record it. There is very little evidence on the ground with the exception of this structure which was near the west end of the stop butt. There is a partially collapsed corrugated iron roof inside. the small quarry to the southwest appears to post date the rifle range.
It has been suggested that the building was originally a workmans hut or an explosive store for the quarry (captioned as a Sand Pit on old maps, so not needing explosives). Appeared on the first edition OS 1886 OS map that showed the targets etc. for the rifle range.
Maidenhair spleenwort, Asplenium trichomanes - a lime-loving fern growing on old mortar.
View from near the impossible-to-find (possibly-disappeared) 200-yard markers for the rifle range on the downslope track up to the line of pine trees, seeing a little of the wall with the big stones.
The group on the Rifle Range - it wasn't as sunny as previous days.
Gateway in the wall at the 200-yard mark for the rifle range. Somewhere here was the also-disappeared Ashburton Golf Club (1910 to mid-1920s) .....
|"On Wednesday 16th February 1910 Mr J T Barker presided at a meeting in the Market Hall to discuss and consider the proposed golf club for Ashburton. The chairman stated that a committee had already been appointed to try and find a suitable location for the course and as a result a large portion of land on Welstor Common had been obtained. It had been generously offered by Mr Parnell Tucker at a nominal rent, he was also willing to erect a clubhouse which could also be rented. The area had been inspected by several experts and a professional all of them were strongly in favour of the location."|
Iron gate hanger.
The track back towards the car park, most of Welstor Common seems to be taken over by Gorse (or "furze").
Sheep creep and genuine solid step stile, at SX 73834 73827, beside the Ashburton Road that runs down to Deadman's Corner .....
The sheep creep .....
The magnificent solid stone step stile. Then, a short walk to the car park.
MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.
© Crown copyright 2016 Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.
This car park for the walk, marked by the yellow cross and the P symbol on the map. is reached by .....
1. An easy route from the EAST from the A38 exit to NEWTON ABBOT / WIDECOMBE (follow Widecombe) - the car park is right beside the 4th cross-roads, over the road and on the right.
2. Another appproach is from the WEST (Postbridge) through Widecombe following the HAYTOR / BOVEY TRACEY B3387 signs. Climb the hill out of Widecombe, pass the turning to HOUND TOR (on the LEFT), at the next junction (no sign post?) - BEAR OFF RIGHT towards Ashburton. The car park is at the NEXT CROSSROADS (on the RIGHT).
3. Another approach is from BOVEY TRACEY,
passing HAYTOR, and TURN HAIRPIN LEFT at the next road junction, towards
ASHBURTON. The car park is at the NEXT CROSSROADS (on the RIGHT).
Distance - 3.4 km / 2.1 miles