Wayward Wanderers Walking Group

Dalwood-Yarty Valley-Heathstock

October 19, 2009, prb, Comments: 0

An eventful afternoon

The recent sunny weather having come to an end, the weather for this walk at least stayed dry, albeit cloudy and overcast.  At the appointed time the group set off from the ancient Tuckers Arms in the centre of Dalwood.  We first headed eastwards, and once we had left the road through the village, started climbing steeply over  farmland to the lane skirting the summit of Danes Hill.

We continued further in an easterly direction, first down a track, and then through a field, heading downwards towards the floor of the Yarty valley.   Halfway down this field we realised that we were not alone.  A herd of young bullocks came over the brow of the hill and had lined up facing us, a little like a battle group of Red Indians.   Although they were probably inquisitive rather than aggressive, they put the wind up one of our party sufficiently for her to escape through the boundary hedge.  

Rejoining the track and then the lane along the west side of the Yarty, we stopped for some group photos on the old stone arch Beckford Bridge, before taking the footpath through the fields on the east side of the river, heading northwards towards the Yarty Farm complex.

Having reached the middle of the hardstanding around the farm we could not identify the path leading from there to the block of farm workers' dwellings above the  farmstead, it being seemingly hidden within a tree belt.  As a result we turned tail and took a permissive path eastwards and up the valley side to the woodland of Yarty Copse  at about the 125m contour and above.  Once in the tree belt we took a bridleway northwards until we encountered a concrete track at the northern end of the trees.  Taking this downhill,......

.......... it led us back to the block of  farm workers' dwellings we sought.  These were constructed in the 1930s, by a Col Dugdale for his farm workers, seemingly in the style of a French chateau, or so we were told.   The block is certainly distinctive, but a French chateau?

Taking advice from residents there we returned to the correct path leading us northwards to Waterhouse Farm and Old Orchard.

From here, we turned to the south-west down a road closed to wheeled traffic by dint of severe erosion.  This led us down to the river.  Here there were two streams to cross.  The first was served by two narrow footbridges, which had to be accessed by walking along the stream edge, and thus would not have been very user- friendly in wetter conditions.  A short distance further on we had to cross a concrete-floored ford.  Again we were thankful that the water level was fairly low.   Even so one of our party had to remove his shoes and socks to get across.

From here we climbed steadily past Three Ash Cross up to the hamlet of Heathstock, where we chuckled at the sculptures of native animals adorning one of the cottages there, and particularly the descriptiive rhymes some of them carried.   Only one is shown here.  Most surmount the garden wall to the south.

On the homewards stretch now, we turned to the south, following the lane for 2 km  to Lower Corry.  This stretch was uneventful, although we did encounter another herd of inquisitive bullocks.  This time we had a hedge between us and them.

At Lower Corry we turned onto a footpath which took us through fields alongside the Corry Brook back directly to Dalwood, and quickly back to the cars.

This was a varied, interesting and enjoyable walk of a little over 6 miles.  It had both hilly and level sections, woodland and fields, paths, tracks and lanes, and more than its fair share of little incidents.  It was led with her characteristic flair and vivacity by Bev.  Adrian was also in charge but in reality he could do little else but follow, being fully occupied holding onto Bobby, the placid but very very strong 12 stone English mastiff they have currently "borrowed".

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