Tuesday, 28 June 2011

To Moretonhampstead and back

I like the sign for the Royal Oak inn at Dunsford, Devon. I don't know who painted it, but the psychedelic-era retro style is surprising to see in a very traditional village: yet it works. I especially like the way the word "Dunsford" is incorporated into the tree roots.

I photographed it while the bus was stopped on the way back from Moretonhampstead (we were visiting my mother-in-law in hospital there). The 45-minute bus trip from Exeter (the Country Bus 359) is worth doing, as it goes through remarkable countryside. First climbing from Exeter, through rolling foothills with deeply-cut valleys, as far as Dunsford, it then reaches a striking escarpment - see Geograph - when it crosses the River Teign at Steps Bridge, and continues to climb up one side of the wooded gorge of the Teign past an alpaca farm before dropping slightly to Moretonhampstead, which is in a kind of bowl-shaped plateau with views of Dartmoor's uplands beyond.

Devon. Digital Elevation Map
Landmap Project via Internet Archive.
The whole terrain is highly explicable geologically: see the geological map of Devon. As far as the Teign, the road is crossing Carboniferous sandstones, and the escaprment is the edge of the outcrop of Dartmoor granite. It's so handily reachable from Exeter that we'll definitely go back to walk there some time.

As the DEM (left) shows, Devon is extremely hilly, with rapid elevation changes. The flood plain of the Exe (Exeter is the yellow dot) is about the only moderately large flat part of Devon.

- Ray


  1. Evocative ... a new set of spectacles through which to view country over which I've often walked and cycled in the past.

    And the Dunsford inn sign is new to me ... I must get there and see it, some time! :-)

  2. Greetings from Royal Oak, Maryland.
    The Royal Oak

    Throughout Britain, there are hundreds of pubs and hotels called "The Royal Oak", a name also given by the Royal Navy to several warships. Both pubs and ships are named in honour of a particular tree in the grounds of Boscobel Hall, Shropshire. This tree is famous as the hiding place, in 1651, of King Charles II.

    I didn't know that, I thought it referred to the "Charter Oak"
    which is actually in Connecticut but does involve Charles II.

    That guy got around. Sorry about his daddy.