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Walking Dartmoor’s Ancient Tracks - 'The Mariners Way'

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"The ancient tracks serve Dartmoor as do the blood-vessles the body - arteries conducting the life-blood of its topographical history." 'Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks' by Eric Hemery.

Join us for a day walk along part of the Mariners' Way - a fabled ancient route used by sailors to travel between the ports of Bideford on the North Devon coast and Dartmouth on the South Devon coast. There are written records of sailors passing through various farms, villages, pubs, and churches along the way. And it's the route that Uncle Tom Cobley and friends used for their eventful journey across the moor to Widecombe Fair!

At the end of our walk together, we will be warmly welcomed into The King's Arms in South Zeal by the 'Mariners Away' group singing rousing sea shanties. Founded in 2008, the men live in villages and towns around North Dartmoor. We will share a drink and supper together at The King's Arms, purported to be one of the hostelries on this ancient route.

William Crossing's 1909 guide listed 100 itineraries for the walker. And in his capacity at 'The Dartmoor Guide' in the 1950s, my grandfather spent many more years tracing 28 of those routes before publishing 'Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks' by Eric Hemery in 1986. I am inspired to walk in his footsteps as well as the footsteps of our ancestors because of course there have been trading routes across this ancient moorland for thousands of years.


Price: £20 (includes route guidance and a donation to the Mariners Away singers in the form of drinks and sandwiches)

Please note that taxis will be organised from South Zeal back to Swallerton Gate car park and the cost will be shared amongst walkers. Drinks and supper also not included.

Further Information

Time: Meet at 8.45am for 9am walking start. Finish approx 5pm at South Zeal. Followed by drinks and supper together before taxis return us to our starting point at around 7.30pm.

Start Point: Swallerton Gate Carpark (near Hound Tor). Grid Ref SX739792. Nearest postcode for SatNav is TQ13 9XG (approx location only).

Level: 4 out of 5. We will be walking approximately 11 miles at a good pace following paths through open moorland and low-lying hamlets and farms.

What to bring: Sturdy walking boots, plenty of warm layers including hat and gloves, waterproof jacket and trousers (whatever the weather forecast), walking poles if you use them, lunch, drinks and snacks.

Cancellation policy: The event will go ahead come rain or shine. Sorry no refunds if you are unable to attend.

Risk: No liability accepted for accidents or incidents