Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sunning with the Devil

Exmoor this week - it ALWAYS rains on me on Exmoor  but not this time!

These are Tarr Steps. The longest clapper bridge in the UK at 180ft. Local legend has it that they were placed by the Devil so that he could sunbathe comfortably. Whatever the origins, the bridge is said to date back to 1000BCE or 1400CE depending on who you talk to. It has certainly been washed away and repaired during that time frame - the last time being in 2012

So lunch at the pub first is always a civilised way to start a walk and as this is actually quite a long drive it seemed like a good idea. The plan was to cross the bridge and walk up the River Barle onto Exmoor and tray and find the Caratacus Stone on Winsford Hill.

Being a nice sunny Saturday the bridge was popular with visitors but as is always the way, once you get a couple of hundred yards from the car park, the crowds seem to vanish and within half a mile or so we had the valley to ourselves.

 Well apart from the odd pony or two of course. I think this one needs his fringe cut!

Several uphill miles later ( or at least what felt like it) we found the stone. It's had a nice little house built for it to protect what is left of the inscription from the elements.

The inscription is now very faint but it is possible to make out some of it. It reads" CARAACI NEPVS" or possible CARATACI NEPVS" which translates as "grandson or immediate descendant of Caratacus".

The stone was first mentioned in 1219 and it's little shelter added in 1906.

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