18. Dartmoor: Hexworthy to Laughter Man (Circular) – 5.5 miles – OS Explorer OL28
Wild swimming and varied easy going terrain - apart from tricky stepping stones.
If you’re driving to the start via Ashburton, take the turning to Holne and follow the signs to Venford Reservoir and Hexworthy for stunningly views. Just before Hexworthy take the left turn signposted Sherberton and park-up just before a cattle grid.
Walk back the way you came for a few yards taking a path on your left before a house ahead. Follow this to join a lane to the pretty thatched cottages of Hexworthy.
The lane ends at a farmyard and footpath sign by a gate, then another gate into a field and stone stiles through fields after that. All signposted and ending at Hexworthy Bridge. You can get down to the water here if you fancy a paddle.
Over the bridge, follow the lane passing a dour looking church on your right.
The lane meets the B3357 at a T junction. Turn left. The plantation across the road ends at Huccaby Cottage and a few yards beyond there’s a gate onto the moor by a signpost with two choices. Take the left to Huccaby Tor.
This is now moorland proper, open and windswept. Warning: I once took the right option and got mired in a bog bad enough to have my partner threatening divorce. Fortunately, we’re not married.
From Huccaby Tor you can see two tors ahead. The bigger one on the left is Bellever. Head to the one on the right (Laughter Tor). This trajectory will bring you to a gate through a dry stone wall.
Continue heading to Laughter Tor until you come to a track. At this point Laughter Man, a menhir (standing stone) should be visible. Stuck up about 4000 years ago in the Bronze age, it’s wearing well - that’s granite for you.
To take a closer look, turn right along the track a short distance until you come to a path on your left. Close by the menhir are the remains of a stone row. These rows are usually by cairns, suggesting they’re some sort of monument, although there are also theories about astronomical purposes.