STARTING from Bickington, Graham James led 17 Newton Abbot Ramblers on a circular walk to Ilsington and surprise, surprise the weather on Wednesday was dry and there was even a bit of sunshine. A welcome change after the recent drab weather., writes Sarah Buck.

Ramshorn Down hill was soon climbed and although early in the walk it was decided to stop for coffee and enjoy the view.

A recently placed polished and engraved granite stone indicated places and views in each direction. The weather was good enough to see far and wide. Penn Wood and Rora Wood were next, before following green lanes to Ilsington.

There is lots of interest in and around Ilsingon church where lunch was taken. A niche above the fine lych-gate contains a statue to St George and in the churchyard a tombstone reads ‘It was desired by her who lyeth here interred until the Resurrection that her bones should not be moved’.

Simms Hill is the venue for one of the most severe hill climbs featured in the Motor Cycling Club’s annual Exeter Trial. The 185 mile trial starts in Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford and features six significant climbs before finishing at the Passage House Hotel in Newton Abbot. The group was pleased to tackle the climb without motor vehicles, but saw from the sign at the hill top that the event would run three days later.

The 14.5km walk was completed on roads to Higher and Lower Sigford and through Goodstone Woods – all without a drop of rain.

John’s Sunday A walk from Buckfastleigh was similarly lucky with dry weather when 22 walkers went from the town car park along Town Mill Leat which provided the original source of water for the town.

During the Industrial Revolution Buckfastleigh was a hive of industry with water power from the Rivers Dart and Mardle as well as Dean Burn driving woollen, paper and corn mills and supporting a tannery. The mills are long gone, but the Devonia is Britain’s oldest established sheepskin tannery and still employs traditional processing techniques.

A long climb out of Buckfastleigh was rewarded with some typical moorland walking on Skerraton Down and fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. Lunch was taken at the start of Lambs Down where the National Park have carried out works to provide a series of small dams to slow down water flowing from the moor and thus help prevent flooding lower down the catchment.

Dean Burn was crossed by a clapper bridge where walkers were intrigued by the dates 1705 and 1872 (or is it 1972?) inscribed in the top. It is understood there is another date of 1737 on the edge, but this is covered by moss.

A short stiff climb to Cross Furzes led to the road and a mainly downhill route back to Buckfastleigh completing the nine mile walk.

For more information about the many other walks offered by Newton Abbot & District Ramblers see