Eight Year 12 students have recently returned from this year’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Practice Expedition which saw them travelling to Dartmoor for four days of navigating, camping and walking in the heart of the National Park.
Based in Princetown, the group were able to practise their navigation in weather ranging from near horizontal rain to clear skies and sunshine. The route took them from Walkhampton Common via sites of Neolithic hut circles, 17th to 19th century tin mines at Eylesbarrow and up to Princetown.
Saturday brought with it stories of a fox stealing all of Ted’s food from the porch of his tent but much better weather conditions, which cheered the group. The route then led away from area around Dartmoor Prison and over to the edge of the military firing ranges at Beardown Tor.
Students then walked east through Wistmans Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and ancient oak woodland in which they learnt how hard it is to walk over the ‘clitter’ (large granite boulders strewn over the floor). Our students then walked over Longaford Tor and down to the former gunpowder factory of Powder Mills before heading south via more ancient monuments such as Dunna Bridge Pound. The night was spent wild camping above Hexworthy.
The final day of walking started with a challenging route across open moorland to Combestone Tor, avoiding the 3500 cyclists on the Dartmoor Classic Sportive! The group found their way down to Dartmeet and entered the enclosed section of the moor. Heading north for the rest of the day they arrived at their end point, Ephraim’s Pinch, tired but glad to have completed the route.
The eight Year 12 students have learned much about their skills, strengths and weaknesses and demonstrated excellent teamwork. In August, seven students from this group will travel to Mid-Wales for their assessed expedition. We would like to thank Dr Camacho for helping with the supervision of this vital part of the students’ Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme.