Location: Ditsworthy Warren House
- Date: Tuesday 1st March
- OSGrid: SX584662 (E258422 N066241)
- Travel: 40 minute drive 15 minute walk
- Style: Tents
Right off we go, round 9! Destination Ditsworthy Warren House. The house itself was made famous by the film Warhorse, you might have seen it? There’s some pretty impressive pictures of set filming on the internet if you fancied checking it out. The term warren however, derives from the 1500’s as a word used to describe a rabbit farm, and it can therefore be assumed that at some point Ditsworthy was home to many a rabbit. This can be seen with the undulating hills, where all the rabbits would have once lived.
But let’s start at the start. We headed towards a car park near the scout hut, just below Gutter Tor. To our surprise the car park was packed; more wild one nighters perhaps? Assuming it wasn’t the WON fan club, we went to investigate the commotion at the nearby scout hut. Turns out there was a rather large officer cadet training excise taking place. After a quick chat with the Major Richardson, it turned out there was over 150 troops sprawled over the surrounding hills. He assured us we wouldn’t be in the way.
If you ever need information on the military ranges, you can find out here.
A bit of extra advice from Major Richardson saw us avoid a particularly boggy route, and take the track just above the car park. It was a rather simple walk straight up to the front door of Ditsworthy House, made ever more exciting by the flickering flashlights on the military exercise, twinkling in the darkness. The house itself is off limits, so while it’s nice to have a good look around, just remember you’re not supposed to camp on the grounds. So pick yourself a nice spot somewhere near by! Even if you wanted to camp there, the local horses had clearly marked it as their own and didn’t seem to be in the mood for sharing.
Tents were (relatively) quickly set up, which left plenty of time for the best part of the trip- PANCAKES! These came after a pretty dismal dinner to say the least; a Mexican bean soup, which under the supervision of a certain someone end up tasting of nothing but ash, and a cold, slightly wet quiche. The pancakes were, however, nothing short of glorious and it you fancy seeing how it was done on the moors, check out our Facebook video
Feeling suitably fed after the pancake extravaganza, we sat back and watched as the sky opened to reveal a beautiful starry night. Wanting to truly nail the camping stereotype, Stu had brought his recent birthday gift, a harmonica and gave us a few cheerful tunes and some classic Bob Dylan. It was strongly agreed that if nothing else, a WON band would be formed from this project. Stay tuned….!
It was however, getting late, so we retired to our tents. Yet no sooner had our heads hit the make shift pillows, the stamping of many feet and the unmistakable sound of gunfire could be heard. We were definitely in the middle of something. No matter, I was certainly out like a light bulb.
Signs of improvement were there in the morning, a record 26 minutes from the first alarm to walking away from the site- even if we did have a Mr. Botterill on the team. The tactic was to start taking down the tent with him still inside.
As we walked back to the car park, a flare was fired from the military exercise, signalling the end of their evening activities too. And we were absolutely right… We had perfectly timed it so as we arrived at the car, all 150+ cadets were assembling with their kit for their morning brief….
…which they then left in the road….
…to go for a run…
…while we hid it the car…
But even with this set back, we were home at 8:30, just in time to get to work and my all important morning lecture. Another successful Wild One Nighter!
Stu. I love pancakes, and don’t limit myself to having them on just one day a year, but I’ve never made them on a camp stove before, or in the middle of a military training exercise for that matter either! So much fun! The house itself is super attractive and makes for awesome photography, especially when the stars are out so don’t forget your camera.
Joe. The best bit about WON is making memories and that has definitely been achieved this time. I think I’ll look back on my first pancake making session on Dartmoor for many years to come. Plus, the house does make for some dramatic photos and who doesn’t love a bit of drama?
Top tips from the trip
Pancakes are possible! They will make every situation better.
Check to see what military activities are taking place on Dartmoor. If you see something, it’s always worth checking.
A harmonica is a wonderful thing! Bit of a cliche, but well worth the entertainment in terms of weight:value! (Not very useful if you’re trying to keep a low profile though!)
Did we mention bringing earplugs?