Eleven of us gathered at Meldon car park, where we could get a distant glimpse of Meldon Viaduct in the morning sunshine. However the reservoir remained hidden till we started our walk – and then suddenly there it was, a magnificent view – just slightly tainted by the rain and wind that decided to plague us for the rest of our walk.
Nobody’s enthusiasm was dampened by the weather, despite it testing our wet weather gear, and the conversation flowed as did the West Okement River below us.
We were all wowed by Meldon Pool and its emerald green water reflecting the carved rock face that formed its background. This was once a limestone quarry, and we walked to the nearby lime kiln where all eleven of us were able to shelter for a while and learn some interesting facts about the area from our walk leader.
Refreshed, we carried on, gently upwards and eventually to our picnic stop where we admired the view of the dam in the distance, framed by various Dartmoor tors. (We saved our picnic lunches till we returned to our cars).
Nearby was a viewpoint where we could admire the engineering skills required to construct Meldon Viaduct – first built in 1874 for a single track railway, and later widened to accommodate two tracks.
Due to the weather, we decided to omit the part of the walk that affords a view of an extensive quarry that provided the aplite rock used as ballast for UK’s rail track and the myriad of railway workings and old carriages that form an atmospheric scene that would make a good film set.
We walked across the viaduct and back along The Granite Way to our cars for lunch. Then nine of us drove to The Pump and Pedal at Sourton Down – a pub that has recently been converted to a really friendly bike shop, pub and café- for coffee and cakes.