Autumnal Escapes

An Autumnal Adventure on Dartmoor

An Autumnal Adventure on Dartmoor

Late afternoon found me weaving my way through Dartmoor towards Drewsteignton and Sojourn, my home for the weekend. As I approached the tiny village, I easily found the cottage and parked up in the private parking space before opening the garden gate. Instantly, I was immediately greeted by the beautiful walled garden, with a winding path leading to the pretty thatched cottage.


Eager to get inside, I let myself in and found myself in the living area, a cosy space with a comfy sofa, dining table for two and a wood burner that I looked forward to lighting after a days' exploring on the moors. Wandering through the house, I was delighted to find the wonderfully equipped kitchen, complete with a fantastic hamper filled with lots of goodies and a bottle of bubbly, which made me feel even more welcome. I went upstairs to find the bedroom with its comfortable king sized bed, then walked through to find the shower room and then the stunning copper roll top bath which I looked forward to using after some long walks. 


After I settled in, I cooked myself a steak dinner and made myself at home for the evening, reading a good book, listening to some music and enjoying a good few tipples... The owners of the property had also kindly provided a choice of gin and rum as a nightcap, which of course had to be sampled!


The next morning, after a great night’s sleep, I prepared breakfast and took it out into the garden, where I soaked up the peaceful surroundings, accompanied by the sound of birdsong and the nearby water feature. 


Donning my walking attire, I packed my bag and set off for the day – first stop, Castle Drogo, the last castle to be built in England with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside. Built in the 20th century, the architect took this masterpiece's inspiration from Dartmoor's landscape and it's clear to see in its impressive features. I spent a good couple of hours soaking up the atmosphere and history, and enjoying the pianist who kept everyone entertained, before venturing out into the grounds to explore the pleasant gardens.


After a couple of hours, I jumped back in my car and headed to the ancient Fingle Woods, one of my favourite spots on Dartmoor and a relatively short drive away, for the first of my planned walks.


I parked up and took myself off down one side of the River Teign, following a leafy path under the canopy of trees, before crossing the iconic Fingle Bridge and walking back up the other side, not before stopping at the Fingle Bridge Inn for a late lunch and a welcome pint of local ale. Although I bumped into a few people out enjoying the countryside, the woods are so vast that I often felt as though I was completely on my own, which was incredibly peaceful.


After a day of exploration, I retreated to Sojourn where I made myself a snack before climbing into the incredible copper bath for a well-deserved soak whilst listening to a SONOS playlist from the tablet provided in the cottage. Afterwards, I made my way back downstairs, lit the fire and opened a bottle of wine, before retiring to the sumptuous king-size bed for the evening.


Next morning, I savoured an alfresco breakfast in the garden before heading deeper into Dartmoor via North Bovey. I enjoyed a coffee in Princetown before my walk, a huge loop of many miles through beautiful landscape dotted with Highland cattle and ponies, which ended at the summit of King's Tor, where I was rewarded with breath-taking views across the depths of the moors.


As dusk set in, I made my way back to Sojourn, excited to use the pizza oven after another day of exploring beautiful Dartmoor. I prepped my meal and dined alfresco in the Bower House, soaking up the quietude of my surroundings. After dinner, I lit the fire in the sitting room and settled down for a cosy evening with a hot chocolate, made in the fantastic Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser.


I woke on the final morning, sad that the weekend had passed so quickly, but so pleased to have made the most of my time in this beautiful property. I sipped a freshly brewed coffee in the serene outdoor reading nook, soaking up the peace of Sojourn’s blissful garden one last time.


I packed my bags and said farewell to the cottage but wanting to make the most of my time on Dartmoor, I made some fly-by visits, starting off with a breakfast in a café at Moretonhampstead, before stopping off at Ullacombe Farm Shop. Here I had a wander around the shop, stables and farm, where I met a new four-legged friend, who I named George the goat!


From there, and wanting to burn off my delicious breakfast, I decided to climb up the fantastic Haytor Rocks – which was made even better with a break in the clouds, revealing the wildly beautiful countryside that surrounded me as well as a vigorous breeze. Upon my descent, I sat for a while watching rock climbers in training, enthusiastically making their way up and down the rock face.


Next, I drove to Widecombe-in-the-Moor, just a short distance away, where I meandered around the village and took a peek in the church before having a hearty lunch of pie of the day in The Old Inn.


Westward bound, I stopped off at the famous Wistman's Woods, via Two Bridges, where I clambered around the edges of the ancient forest to get a peek of the mystical, moss-covered rocks within. To protect the uniqueness of these woods from erosion (especially the moss and the lichen), people are no longer allowed inside, but you still see the ancient beauty of the trees and rocks from the edges.


From Wistman's Woods, I continued my walk on towards Higher White Tor where I did a circular route - again, the views were outstanding with birds of prey circling above, and just what I needed to end my weekend in Dartmoor.


Sojourn is a fantastic base from which to explore Dartmoor, an ideal home for a single person, but equally perfect for a romantic getaway. It's relatively easy to get to most places on Dartmoor from here, and it's an easy drive from Exeter should you wish to fly and hire a car. It's a lovely cottage whatever time of year you go, with the stunning garden and outside living spaces perfect for warmer months and the cosy wood burner for when it's cooler.

Feeling inspired? Uncover a wildly magical Dartmoor adventure here.


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