Okehampton Ramblers recently took advantage of a bitterly cold but beautiful winter’s day to walk up to Cranbrook Fort from Fingle Bridge.
Thirteen members layered up in warm clothing to keep out the keen wind on this walk of just over 7.5 miles.
It was well worth the slog up the steep path through Charles Wood for the panoramic views from the Iron Age hillfort at the top.
Built sometime between 500 BC and 0 AD the hillfort is roughly square and measures 160m across internally, enclosing an area of 13 acres. The construction is a simple bank and ditch. The site was excavated in 1901 when two hut circles were found along with pottery fragments and part of a quern (a simple hand mill for grinding corn, typically consisting of two circular stones).
The hillfort contains the remains of 30 clearance cairns formed by clearing the hillfort for farming. Finding a sheltered spot out of the bitter wind for coffee was impossible so the group didn’t linger very long.
A short stretch of lane took them to Butterdon Down then on through fields passing close to Willingstone Rock, a giant conical split boulder, before they turned into woodland again.
The walk was notable for the number of quite tricky fence-like stiles clearly designed only for those with longer legs!
A quiet lane beside Willingstone plantation led to a track up to Wooston Castle Fort from where the walkers appreciated the spectacular views over the Teign gorge. From this viewpoint they took the track down through woodland to return to Fingle Bridge along the riverside path.