walks for the idle: walk 1.
east okement ramble
This is a delightful and for the most part level walk along the pretty East Okement river. The first part goes under the A30 but you get away from the sound in minutes, as the music of moving water takes over.
The River Okement
This river is a tributary of the Torridge. It arises in the northern reaches of Dartmoor separately as the West Okement and the East Okement, which meet at Okehampton.
From Okehampton or Belstone, take the B3260 Exeter road. You'll see a sign saying Tor Down/ Riding Stables. This minor road leads to Fatherford, with a parking area. Walk up a few yards, go through a wooden gate, then cross a bridge. Turn left through another gate.
This takes you on a route through this walk. The pictures to the right, which can be enlarged, are taken in order from the starting gate to the finish at the open moor. They show you some of the things and places to be seen along the way.
East Okement Valley
Follow the river as it passes northwards to the edge of the moor, through an enchanting valley. Along the western bank lies Halstock Wood which is protected by SSSI status. This is a good example of an upland Sessile oakwood which is home to a wide variety of birds, plants and lichens. In the early Autumn many fungi are also to be seen. The riverside walk from Fatherford is part of the North Dartmoor section of the Tarka Trail.
As you walk on you'll see a succession of tiny waterfalls tumbling over the rocks. The ground is still mostly level, until you get to the stretch just before reaching open moorland. This is short and steep, with a handrail and a view of the large waterfall.
The moor opens out suddenly. If you enlarge the picture of the gate, you'll glimpse a depth of water. Ignore the gate and cross onto the moor via a bridge a few yards further on. Walking on a little will give you a distant view of Scarey Tor.
Avoid returning to Okehampton on the Tor Down road, as the line of sight to the Okehampton bound traffic is obscured by a wall. Traffic here is often heavy. An alternative is to take the sharp left out of Fatherford, which meets the B3260 nearer the centre of Okehampton.