Skylarks, a Dartmoor run and a day out from Wheatland Farm

#30DaysWild no 12. Ian’s wild moment today was a fell run across the north moor above Meldon reservoir, Dartmoor.

After a morning of cleaning the eco lodges, Ian managed to slip away for a few hours to join the Okehampton running club on their Marylin Madness Dartmoor run. It’s a 5 mile fell race starting and ending at the reservoir dam. Meldon is about 18 miles from Wheatland Farm and there’s a car park with loos. It’s a good spot to explore Dartmoor from.

It was beautifully sunny, and the skylarks were out in full force, singing their hearts out. Paying attention to the wildlife was definitely part of the day, with the route avoiding areas important for nesting birds and starting at the top of the dam, not the bottom via the steps, for the same reason.

Of course, you don’t have to run! This would make a lovely walk with picnic spots in high places. So we thought we’d note the route here, in case any of our eco lodge guests want to try it. See the accompanying image. Cross Meldon dam, and start on the track just the other side. Head along the track, until you get to the first big ‘corner’ where the reservoir has an inlet. Stay on the track to double back in a sweeping bend and head up to Yes Tor. Then you go across to High Willhays (the highest point in south west England). By then you’ll be ready to descend to Black Tor and back to the start point via Homerton Hill, before finishing at Meldon reservoir.

BTW the course ascent is about 415m and the record is 37 minutes 22 seconds for men and 44 minutes 2 seconds for women. This is an annual run, so if you try it and love it, maybe you can join the actual event next year.

#30DaysWild Previously

This time last year: we were planning to lobby our MP about wildlife matters

This time in 2019: The friendly Wheatland Farm blackbird was benefiting from a big bowl of mealworms. The same bird is still around (or one equally friendly…and we’re still putting out some snacks.

This time in 2018: Large skippers were at the pond. We have them in good numbers this year too.

This time in 2017: We’d got the Wheatland Farm air quality results back from a national survey we took part in – and we were gloating.