Medium, 7.1 km / 4.4 miles, 50 m total ascent
This walk does not enter any of the Military Firing Ranges.
Route Special Concerns:
This walk is an enjoyable stroll through some woodland that mostly follows the course of the River Bovey through the lower part of Lustleigh Cleave. It is a special place to walk and is fairly level although there are occasional sections of path that are rocky, slippery and sometimes fallen trees to negotiate. It can also be muddy after a wet period so good walking boots or wellies are advised. Therefore, this walk is placed in the Moderate category, though in summer this could easily be downgraded to ‘Easy’. This route is not wheelchair or pushchair friendly.
This walk does not enter any of the Military Firing Ranges.
The starting point is the fair-sized car park at Pullabrook Wood that can get busy so get there early if possible! The route is clockwise (although if you so wish you can do it the other way around!), first taking a wide track through Pullabrook Wood that gently ascends to Old Manaton Road. From here you head down to the curious boulder known as the ‘Pudding Stone’ (with its benchmark) before crossing the Becka Brook and following the River Bovey upstream to the unique ruin of a clam bridge, which is a 365 item, before heading up the hill to visit a lesser-known tor and passing the rather nondescript ruins of Boveycombe to another 365 item – Hisley Bridge. The next stretch is a lovely stroll on flat ground through a meadow before hitting the road and heading back to the car park after viewing the interesting inscription on Drakeford Bridge. As refreshments go, there are none on the walk or at the car park, but the nearby village of Lustleigh (barely a 5-minute drive away) has its own pub (The Cleave) and tearooms (Primrose Tea Rooms).
- Leave the car park by passing through the gate at its southern end, noticing an information board, entering Pullabrook Wood. This is a simple track to follow, keeping left at a track fork, before reaching a gate and memorial plaque at Old Manaton Road.
- Turn right here, heading down the road which was the original road to Manaton; now, it is used by walkers and dirt bikes. Once you are at a slight bend in the track, where a minor stream is crossed, head over to the gatepost to the right to view its benchmark.
- Further along, at a track junction, you will see a small, rounded boulder to the right and this, appropriately, is known as the ‘Pudding Stone’; on its surface is an OS benchmark.
- Continuing on Old Manaton Road, you will soon espy a wooden bridge on the right. Take it and follow this public footpath through Houndtor Wood. It is narrow in places but once it runs alongside the River Bovey it is a joy to walk.
- This path is quite a long stretch of this walk and nearing the end of it the surface becomes a bit rocky and eroded, after passing through a gate, but don’t be disheartened since you should hear the sound of a fine waterfall (really cascade) which is a nice spot to sit awhile. From here, keep going until you get to the bridge where you can tick-off the Lustleigh Cleave square for Dartmoor 365.
- Here there is a modern bridge but it is the adjacent clam bridge that commands the attention; it is narrow, winding and only has a wooden handrail on one side. Use at your own risk!!
- Cross either of the bridges and head up the hill to pass a curious upright boulder in the path, and keep right at a path junction. The path ascends gently and some of the trees here possess a fascinating selection of mushrooms.
- Eventually a small tor should appear on the left, unimpressive at first, but leave the path to stand at its foot and you should be impressed. This is the Bottom Tor of Lustleigh Cleave, first noted by Tim Jenkinson and documented on Tors of Dartmoor. It is a huge lump of granite.
- Back on the path, you will soon need to bear right to leave a lesser track, but as there is no fingerpost you will need to keep a good eye out. If you are using OS maps on your phone, I would advise you look at your position to find this public right of way.
- Once found, descend through the woodland, passing through another wooden gate where the ruins of Boveycombe might be visible depending on the season. This ruin is very old, broken and overgrown which makes spotting any remains quite tough.
- This track is very clear to follow here, passing a memorial plaque on a wooden stand, before coming to the bottom of the valley where you keep right to reach the second 365 item of this route – Hisley Bridge. This is a beautiful packhorse bridge, cobbled, and beside is a ford and memorial bench.
- Once you have admired the bridge, keep on the same side of the river and follow it downstream, entering Rudge Wood and its meadow which opens out into a stunning, grassy plain. Through another gate (yes, a lot on this walk!), you enter an open field, often occupied by sheep, that takes you to a gatepost by the road.
- Turn right, then right again at a fine fingerpost at Ivy Cottage, before crossing Drakeford Bridge, on the north parapet of which is an inscription at the top of the arch. I hope that you have enjoyed this wander around the lower end of Lustleigh Cleave and, most importantly, don’t forget to tick-off those Dartmoor 365 items and Dartefacts!
- PUDC (Paignton Urban District Council) Boundary Stones, Venford Reservoir, Holne Moor
- Refreshments, Facilities & Accommodation
- Rock Basins
- North Bovey/Manaton Parish Boundstones
- Not Yet Visited Dartmoor B.M.s
- Not Located Dartmoor B.M.s
- Named Tors, Hills & Outcrops (for Baggers!)
- WD (War Department) Stones
- Tinners' Huts
- Dartmoor B.M.s
- Contour Rings
- Dewey Hills
- Leats' Points of Interest
- Found Dartmoor B.M.s
- Stone Rows
- Prehistoric Sites
- Car Parks
- Historic Sites
- Stone Circles
- Standing Stones
- Land Features
- PCWW 1917 Markers
- Water Features
- Dartmoor 365 Map
- Trig Points (Trigs that can still be found!)
- PCWW 1919 Markers
- PCWW 1932 Markers
- Apple Crushers
- Hut Circles