High Down - River Lyd - Tin-Streaming - Great Nodden

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This is a superb walk into the past, both geologically and industrially speaking. After a walk across the High Down area of Dartmoor you descend through the relatively recent Wheal Mary Emma tin-mining area down to the banks of the River Lyd. This is one of the shortest rivers on Dartmoor at just about five miles in length.

As you walk up the side of the tumbling Lyd you visit an evocative memorial to a soldier killed in the First World War, lovingly maintained and visited by the local parishioners of nearby Lydford every Remembrance Day. The views up to the line of tors high above the Lyd to the east are wonderful, with the Widgery Cross standing out against the skyline at the top of Brae Tor.

As you make your way up the side of the Lyd there is an enormous mound of a hill, a very different shape to the usual tors and plains of Dartmoor. It is that of Great Nodden (properly spelled Noddon), part of the metamorphic aureole of slate and softer rocks that surrounds the granite plateau of Dartmoor. Nowhere on Dartmoor is this difference between the granite and the metamorphic rock more clearly visible.

Under the huge mass of Great Nodden is one of the largest areas of medieval tin-streaming on Dartmoor, worked many centuries ago. The evidence of tin-streaming is all around you and this walk takes you right through the middle of the area and also offers you the chance to explore locating old miners' caches (see additional information), where tools and liquor were hidden as well as offering a degree of protection for miners in sudden bad weather. Onwards you go, fording the Lyd, up to the line of a horse-drawn tramway and later steam locomotive track leading up to the moors high above you. Here there were peat works and other enterprises. Although disused now for decades, the path of the lines are clearly visible. The views from the track all round are wonderful.

The return takes you right over the top of Great Nodden and its cairns at the top. As you descend steeply, the old tracks and tramways are clearly visible as is the Lyd below you. This relatively easy walk ends with a stroll across rights of ways through fields and finally back across High Down to your car parks.

Although generally an easy walk, moderate in places, after heavy rain crossing the Lyd the second time via a ford at the far end of the tin-streaming area could prove difficult and you may have to detour further up the river for a point to cross.

England - South West England - Devon - Dartmoor


Ancient Monument, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Moor, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Waterfall, Wildlife

Walkingworld members near this walk

Distance away
15.6 Miles
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29.9 Miles