Sticklepath Beating the Bounds
After a lot of organization and hard work, Sticklepath residents were able to walk the 3rd septennial Beating of the Bounds on Sunday August 17th. Despite the drizzling start to the day, 45 people set off from Finch Foundry on a 7 mile walk across land and property, much of which is normally inaccessible to the public. Led by walk leader Val Barnes and with flag bearers Paul and Janice Grey, Paddy and Tracy Padfield, the party made its way towards the A30, clambering over fences and across ditches along the route.
We stayed relatively dry as we trekked across fields and through woodland, and all survived attacks of flying hedgehogs. After a couple of hours we reached Whitehouse Services, who very generously provided ample tasty hot pasties and drinks to sustain us. The walkers were escorted back along the main road by our PCSO Danielle Moore-Dunstan before turning towards Bude Farm and back along the footpath onto the main road again. A clear path (cut out by Dartmoor Ranger Ian Brooker) led us to the top of the Mount from where we had an easy walk down the hill. Walking along Skaigh Lane and across the cattle grid we eventually came to the scaffolded bridge across the river, erected just for the occasion by Chris Williams.
Once across we were able to hold a ceremony for Beating the Bounds. The oldest resident amongst the walkers (Mike Watson) instructed the youngest, Izzy Rowlands, on the meaning of the boundary stone, signifying the passing on of Parish wisdom from one generation to another. To reinforce the message, Izzys’ head was gently ‘banged’ against the stone. (She didn’t suffer any ill effects!)
Back on Foundry Field we received our certificates and refreshed ourselves with hot drinks and a BBQ provided by Finch Foundry and expertly cooked by Steve Matthews. Stronger sustenance was provided by the Devonshire Inn.
There are so many people to thank for enabling us to undertake this walk. It could not have been done without the support of all the landowners involved – too numerous to mention individually but they all know who they are. But special mention must be made to those who undertook all the hard work of cutting back and clearing paths – Dartmoor Ranger Ian Brooker, Mike Watson, Allen Cruse and Ralph Day; and to Chris Williams and his team for erecting the bridge.