Name: Benets Cross, Challacombe & Grimspound
Distance: 6 miles
Features: Bronze Age stone row and village, tin mining remains, ruined medieval settlement
This walk starts by one of Dartmoor's best known granite crosses, perched on high moorland and looking like its been bent by the wind. We descend from there into a lovely sheltered valley where the tin miners have been hard at work many centuries ago. In these gullies, trees have sprouted and there is plentiful birdsong as well as the gushing streams. In spring there are usually cuckoos calling. We pass a whole array of tinmining ruins as we walk down the valley, then loop around on Challacombe Down (where bluebells will be in flower in May/June). This is a long-established farm with many rare breeds grazing and a ruined medieval hamlet in one of its fields. From here we walk up one of Dartmoor's loveliest valleys, its slopes still marked by medieval farming strips and prehistoric field boundaries. On the far slope is a Bronze Age village with the remains of massive perimeter walls and hut circles. Above is Hookner Tor with massive granite piles and spectacular views. After climbing up to the tor, the route takes us back past the old farmhouse and over to a prehistoric stone row, then up to Birch Tor and back through the "Four Aces" enclosures - the last traces of the legendary Jan Reynolds.