This is about as level as it gets on Dartmoor – an easy two miles to Buckland Beacon and back, taking in a beautiful view and the intriguing ten commandment stones.
Heading onto Dartmoor on an overcast day is akin to meeting a lover after a long period of separation – you’re not sure whether you’ll receive a sunny warm welcome or cold and misty indifference.
On occasions such as these (overcast days, not long lost lovers) I’ve learned to be prepared with the correct equipment or do a short walk – this time it was the latter.
I had recently seen some information about the ten commandments being carved into granite stones at Buckland Beacon (SX 735731) and wanted to see them for myself.
It was under a mile from the car park at Cold East Cross (SX 740742) to the beacon and I’m happy to say that the clouds lifted slightly to give me fantastic views over a wooded valley.
Buckland Beacon sits on a hill above the pretty village of Buckland-in-the-Moor and was used as a fire beacon. An inscription near the top reads: “Buckland Beacon. A beacon fire one of a chain lit here by the Parishioners of Buckland-in-the-Moor in celebration of their Majesties’ silver jubilee May 6th 1935. And the people shouted and said ‘God save the King.” Buckland Beacon was part of the fire chain of beacons for both the Millennium and Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations.”
The ten commandment stones sit to the left at the base of the beacon and have weathered a bit since they were carved in 1928, commissioned by the then lord of Buckland, Mr William Whitely of Wellstor. There have been a couple of restoration works done on them since then by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.
After enjoying the view and fine craftsmanship just follow your route back to the car, but if you wish to extend the walk then you can pop down and see Buckland-in-the-Moor up close.
There is a beautiful church here, St Peter’s Church, with an unusual clock face – instead of numerals is the wording ‘my dear mother’. This was also created by Lord Whitely.
However as the clouds were coming back in I decided to leave that for another day and abandon my fickle lover for a cup of tea and a slice of cake at Princetown.
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• When walking on Dartmoor please ensure you take the right equipment with you, eg, waterproof, walking boots, water, a map, plus your common sense.