Pinkworthy pond

Pinkery pond
Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Pinkworthy (pronounced Pinkery) pond – a short walk on Exmoor.
Birds – stonechat and buzzards.
Position – Exmoor – Challacombe – Simonsbath road – park at Goats Bridge.

Time – 2 hours.
Supplies: The Black Venus pub and stores in Challacombe.

I love this walk and I am always trying to get people to come out with me to do it when I am staying at my mother’s in North Devon. For some reason I often end up doing it in winter. Last time I went out with my brother from Belgium and it was a complete bog on top and we went up to armpits in mud. This time I was alone and it was a cold winter’s day with a bit of frost around. Never mind because you can imagine that you are Johnny Kingdom up here looking for deer. I reckoned it would be a good day for photography. I had spent the morning chopping logs so had earned my keep so to speak. I packed a thermos of hot coffee and a sandwich and set off. It was very cold so I had several layers including my new undersocks and an old quilted waistcoat that my mother found in my wardrobe.

I have been reading recently a book about Henry Williamson and Tarka the Otter. Williamson wrote that Tarka had visited Pinkworthy Pond so I was interested to see if I could see any sign of otter. I was inspired by a nature detective book set in the Lakes: Lake District Natural History Walks (Paperback) by Christopher Mitchell. I had a scout along the perimeter of the lake looking for clues but it was too cold and I didn’t have a magnifying glass so decided to leave this until another time.

Park at Goat’s Bridge – there is a little layby just after the bridge.
Turn up the track towards the Pinkery centre and follow the track up by the small river Barle. Look out for stonechats as you go up this way as I often see them and today was no exception. They appeared by the road – one perched on some twigs by the road and kept flitting around me. As you get nearer the centre look for a footpath that strikes off to the left and skirts around the centre and a wind turbine complete with information board. Set off up a hill bearing to the left to reach the river again and a style. Once through the stile we are really up on to the moor. Soon on the right you will pass some pools that in the summer are packed with frogs. Further on look out for the path veering off the right up the hill. If you carry on straight you will come to a halt and have to back track. As you climb higher, you will see the dam of Pinkworthy pond ahead. The water streams out of a tunnel and it is possible to walk through the tunnel to the lake but I have never tried it. Then through the stile at the top of the path to reach the pond or small lake that has been dammed. A good spot to take cover from the wind is down near the water outlet.

You now have a choice of different routes.
Turn left and climb up to Woodbarrow gate. It is really boggy up here but today it was frozen over so the going was good. I went through the stile at the top to the barrow and sat looking out over the moor and it really is a peaceful yet desolate area looking out over a vast plain of moors towards the sea. I sat and ate my sandwiches and drank a welcome cup of tea. The piece of malt loaf went down a treat up here. The wind was so cold that my fingers were freezing. I have these new gloves that are fingerless with mitten covers that can be velcroed back so that you can operate your camera. They are good but if you leave the mittens off your fingers freeze quickly.
After the barrow I turned left and headed down again following the wall with its windswept trees. I saw a deer along here and took some photos. Johnny Kingdom would be proud of me. The path reaches the road and you turn left to head back to the car park. I used to always walk back the same way but I quite like this diversion and it makes a good short circular walk. But there are some different ways of doing this walk so route B for the more adventurous. I shall post option B soon….


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