Eleven of us gathered at Meldon car park, where we could get a distant glimpse of Meldon Viaduct in the morning haze. However the reservoir itself remained hidden till we started our walk – and then suddenly there it was. We all stood on the dam, taking in the views (the first of many view stops on this walk).
We walked along the edge of the reservoir for a short while until we reached the next view point for a stop. Then we climbed gently upwards and along a path that gave magnificent views of the dam and the valley beyond. Eventually we descended to one of the abandoned quarries.
We walked by the Red-a Ven Brook before descending to the West Okement River and across the footbridge to the Meldon Pool and the nearby lime kiln.
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 the pool is 40 metres deep.
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.
The rest of the walk was on tarmac paths and included a view of an extensive quarry that provided the aplite rock used as track ballast for the London and South Western Railway, and a view of the railway workings and old carriages that served the quarry. It’s an atmospheric scene that would make a good film set.
Before crossing Meldon Viaduct, we walked down steps to a viewpoint where we could admire the engineering skills required to construct the viaduct – first built in 1874 for a single track railway, and later widened to accommodate two tracks.
We walked across the viaduct with its amazing views and back along The Granite Way to our cars.
Then it was a short drive 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.