The Cliff

Why not take a walk from Belstone along the north side of Belstone Cleave towards Sticklepath and you too can, once again, sit and enjoy the fantastic views from ‘The Cliff’. Chris Walpole writes . . .

In the first decades after I came to Belstone in 1963 I would scramble up the rocky outcrop on the northern side of Belstone Cleave which was closest to our back gate onto the moor at Little Gables. Once on top I would be able to enjoy the view up the valley to Great Green and Belstone Tor.  Other more substantial rock faces stretch for several hundred metres from this spot towards the village. Over the years they have all become overgrown with gorse, brambles and small trees so that these cliffs are hardly visible to walkers on the path close below or from the other side of the valley. In fact, ‘cliff’ is an appropriate word for recent research on the website www.torsofdartmoor.co.uk has found that no less an authority than William Crossing called this feature ‘The Cliff’ in his 1905 book Gems in a Granite Setting. It’s a name that should come back into common use.

Last year Paul Rendell, editor of the bi-monthly magazine Dartmoor News, decided it would be a good idea to clear The Cliff. After protracted discussions with Belstone Commoners, the National Park authorities and Natural England, permission was obtained to clear a small part of the rocks. The work was finally carried out on 18 September by members of Sticklepath and Okehampton Conservation Group with Dartmoor Ranger Ian Brooker in charge. The area chosen was the very cliff that I used to climb up all those years ago and which I can now do again.”