A Travellerspoint blog

Tour 1 ~ Dartmoor to Home

Short but sweet

View Tour 1 ~ Exmoor and Dartmoor May 2019 on Thor Geriatruck's travel map.

Despite the strong wind really buffeting the van last night, I slept really well. I didn't even hear David get up in the night.

When I look out of the window of the van this morning, I see a herd of cows. They edge nearer and just stop and stare. Like cows do.


The immediate area around the van also sports a number of pheasants, a deer, a horse and foal and in the distance I can hear a cuckoo. Heaven.

Burrator Reservoir

We stop for a quick stroll at the reservoir dam before continuing on our way this morning.


Later we pass through Princetown and Postbridge as we drive across Dartmoor.

Desolate scenery on the moors

Wild ponies

Dartmoor Prison near Princetown

I really want to stay out another night in Thor, but we have run out of water, and although we could fill her up at Exeter service station where we stop for lunch, we decide to head for home.

Blackbury Camp

On the way we make a small detour to Blackbury camp, a 4th century BC hillfort.


What an amazing place! Noting is left of the original fort itself, just the mounts and the outline, but with my vivid imagination I soon fill the place with people, peasants, livestock, merchants, produce and living quarters. I also speculate who, if anyone, they were protecting their wealth and lives from. I try to imagine myself in their shoes at that time.


The area inside the fort is now a beautiful wooded glade, with stippled sunshine reaching the grassy plains and rampart mounds carpeted with bluebells. I walk around the area a couple of times – first just to take it all in and later with a couple of cameras in hand.



Just as I arrive back at the parking lot, I see two ladies arrive with three lively dogs. Too busy trying to control the dogs, the driver forgets to apply the handbrake, and I gasp as I see the vehicle rolling uncontrollably towards the deep moat. I breathe a sigh of relief when disaster is averted by a strategically placed wooden post. Phew.


Our last stop is again on the Mendips for a final cup of coffee, this time near Velvet Bottom.

Arriving back home we reflect on Thor's Maiden Voyage and I am pleased to say that I absolutely loved it; much more than I thought I would. David is still feeling a little apprehensive about driving such a huge vehicle, but we both thoroughly enjoyed the wild camping and the self-sufficiency.

Roll on many more adventures in Thor.

Posted by Thor Geriatruck 04:27 Archived in England Tagged landscapes lakes horses old camping devon rv campervan caravan cows services ponies dartmoor moorland thor exeter glamping motorhome somerset princetown motor_home camper_van bluebells national_trust thor_the_geriatruck adventure_before_dementia maiden_voyage mendips motor_caravan exmore geriatruck burrator burrator_reservoir blackbury_camp hillfort ancient_fort dartmoor_prison Comments (1)

Tour 1 ~ Exmoor to Dartmoor

Wonderful bluebells

View Tour 1 ~ Exmoor and Dartmoor May 2019 on Thor Geriatruck's travel map.

It was an interesting night, disturbed by strange dreams (thanks to the Lariam we are still taking from our trip to The Gambia last month); the fact that is was a new bed and a new experience; too much to eat and drink (nearly half a bottle of rum plus around a third of a bottle of wine); and every time David moved, turned over or went to the loo, the van shook.

This bottle was full when I started last night

I initially wake at 6am, but unusually manage to get back to sleep again after going to the loo. I finally get up around eight o'clock.

Bickleigh Mill

First stop – Bickleigh Mill to buy a post card and use the facilities.


Exeter Services

Needing to check the tyre pressure, we pull into Exeter Services where we take the opportunity to use their facilities and buy lunch: Greg's sausage rolls; but they have no caramel custard doughnuts. Boo!

Being such a large vehicle, we have to park Thor amongst the caravans and huge trucks. Feeling concerned about being blocked in, when the truck in front of us drives off, David decides to move Thor into that space. What I forgot and David wasn't aware of, is that I'd left the step just outside the door. Fortunately the driver of the van behind us notices, and comes running up to us with it. Doh.

Next stop is a lay-by along the A38 Exeter Express Way for coffee, where we can really feel the traffic going by, buffeting Thor with each vehicle.

On the outskirts of Plymouth, we stop in a Farm Foods car park to meet up with Sarah, a girl who used to work for the same company as me (albeit in the Plymouth office rather than Bristol). While clearing out my dad's house, we came across a loom, and as Sarah is very much into weaving, I offered it to her. Hence why we are here today: to hand it over.

We also stock up on some lunch for tomorrow as well as ice cream for the freezer compartment 'just in case'.

Burrator Reservoir

From his app searchforsites, David found a place for us to stop for tonight, alongside Burrator Reservoir.

As we arrive at the dam, an ice cream van is just packing up, but not before we have bought one.


Before deciding which of the many car parks is going to be our home for the night, we drive around the whole reservoir. It is extremely narrow in places, with Thor touching the vegetation on both sides at the same time.



There are gorgeous ponies milling around too.


And a delightful little cascade.


Bluebell Glade

We return to an area I fell in love with first time round, with a flat(ish) grassed area leading to a sunken section with lovely old trees and bluebells growing underneath.





We struggle to get the van level, and David moves Thor from place to place to try and find a more flat area.

It is too cold and windy to sit outside this evening, and after a very nice dinner of chicken fajitas, we settle in for an early night. There is no phone signal here, which means no internet access.


Posted by Thor Geriatruck 04:58 Archived in England Comments (0)

Tour 1 - Home to Exmoor

The Maiden Voyage

View Thor 1 ~ Exmoor and Dartmoor 2019 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Stocking up a motorhome for the first time is a little like furnishing a new home: you need everything from salt and pepper, through toilet paper, towels, washing up liquid and potato peeler. Luckily (if I can use that word under the circumstances), we have a good supply of everything we need from my late father's house.


The time has come: Thor's Maiden Voyage. We have a plan, albeit rather loose.


A good initial test for Thor is the road leading up to the transmitter on the Mendips, a favourite place of mine for excellent views over the rolling countryside and airport beyond.

The narrow track - thankfully we don't meet any other vehicles

Not much around, only sheep

Bristol Airport at Lulsgate in the distance

My very good friend Lyn has provided us with home made bread pudding – David's favourite – on the occasion of our wedding anniversary.


On the way down the narrow lane, however, we meet a Land Rover with a trailer full if sheep. This small obstacle proves no problem for David – not that I expected it to.

Continuing on our way, we pop into Aldi in Bridgwater to buy some demerara sugar which I forgot to bring from home, before stopping for lunch at the National Trust property called Woodlands Hill.


Chicken Caesar Salad

Today is out 42nd wedding anniversary and I want to serve a special meal tonight. For dessert we are having milk chocolate, salted caramel and vanilla crème brulée with raspberries, which needs time to set; so I assemble it to the point of adding the sugar and leave it in the fridge before we leave here.

Our planned stop for the night is somewhere on the Holnicote Estate on Exmoor, and we check out a few of the car parks before settling on the one at the very far end of the road.


There are great views over the north coast of Devon from here.


The weather is glorious, with Thor acting as a windbreak, meaning we are able to sit outside for a drink. Or three.





We stay outside until the sun starts going down and it gets a little bit of chill in the air.


Time to prepare the anniversary feast.


The table is laid with one of my mum's tablecloths and proper cloth napkins, silver candleholders and a vase with... erm... bramble. I brought the vase, hoping for some wild flowers around, but this was the best David could do.

Steak, pepper sauce, roast potatoes, mushrooms, tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and sweetcorn, plus some decent red wine.

Time to put the finishing touches on the crème brulée. Everyone packs a blowtorch when going camping, right?



And so it is time to retire to our first night in Thor. We decide to make up two beds for the night, giving us both plenty of space and no-one has to crawl over the other one to go to the toilet in the night. The beds feel reasonably comfortable, despite the van being parked on a slight slope.


Posted by Grete Howard 13:35 Archived in England Tagged anniversary camping devon rv campervan thor glamping motorhome camper_van wedding_anniversary national_trust thor_the_geriatruck adventure_before_dementia maiden_voyage mendips lyn's_bread_pudding motor_caravan woodlands_hill creme_brulée exmore holnicote_estate holnicote Comments (5)

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