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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Car Tour 1 Rugglestone Inn

Having left Buckland in the Moor we carried on climbing higher and higher, with the roads becoming narrower and narrower. The guide book took us down some out of the way lanes, avoiding what count around here as the wider roads.

Not far from the Inn we had to carry out an emergency stop as sheep around here are quite entitled creatures, considering how vulnerable they are to denting and scratching in an encounter with a car. I suppose prior to shearing they at least have some quite serious packaging around their torsos.

As we were in no hurry and were quite amused by the fact that they were in no hurry either we waited for about fifteen of them to cross one by one. My first thought in cases like this is what goes through their minds when they decide that the thousand acres of grass on this side of the road might be slightly better than the thousand acres of grass on the opposite side. I suppose as grass goes I have to grant that they may be connoisseurs.

We eventually arrived at our next stop as advised by the guide book, The Rugglestone Inn. The Rugglestone Inn turned out to be one of our favourite pubs as we soon realised. It has a lot of history and is a former farmhouse as are most ancient rural remote British pubs.

The original pub had been further up the hill, but a group of farmer's wives reputedly ran out of patience with their absent thirsty menfolk and one night they burned it down. That was back in 1823. That was also around the time that the famous Ruggle Stone which was a natural rock formation which consisted of one large stone atop another was vandalised by youths to stop it rocking, which until then it had done. Weird rock formations like the Ruggle Stone were treated as important sites of superstition as recently as Medieval times. Many had myths and legends attached.

After the original pub suffered it's arson attack the license moved to the present site and this is the original Old Bar below. It used to be listed as the smallest pub in England. Since then other rooms in the farmhouse are now used by the pub as a dining room and a new bar, so it is no longer the smallest.

The pub also rent out the tiny barn in the garden as holiday accommodation, Rugglestone Cottage. It has it's own small garden and lies next to the stream. The pub kitchen will also deliver food to your door if you decide to stay here.

The rest of the grounds are pleasingly left to do their own thing.

This water trough next to the stream is carved from granite and surprise, surprise, my camera caught what appears to be a small trout in the stream, unnoticed by me at the time. See if you can spot it, well camouflaged in the gravelly bottomed water.

This nameless brook finds it's way to the sea via the River Dart further downstream as does most of the water this side of Dartmoor.

Cast into this old mangle is the name R Kernick, Widecombe in the Moor. Some research revealed that R Kernick was a country store and petrol station going back to at least 1890 in nearby Widecombe in the Moor. It is likely that this item was made for them by a foundry, for them to retail rather than actually being made by them.

After a spot of lunch and a welcome drink at The Rugglestone we carried on our tour, once again following some very remote back lanes, even ending up driving through a farmyard at one point. This meant another emergency stop, this time for a herd of cattle. Like the sheep, they were in no hurry and unlike the sheep we would not have argued the point with these stocky beasts so we loitered along behind them until they got to some new pasture that satisfied them. No farmer in sight by the way, these guys were very much in charge of the road.

Coming out of Widecombe we missed the right turn mentioned in the book, mainly because it didn't look like a proper road, so we had to carry on for quite a distance before we could turn around and back-track. It's just as well we missed it first time around because as we approached the now left hand turn an enormous juggernaut squeezed it's way out of this almost road ahead of us. If we had not missed the right turn when we did we would have been going up when we met this behemoth coming down.

Juggernaut - I actually know the origin of this word as I grew up in India and it wasn't an uncommon experience as a child for my Dad to wake us kids up in what seemed to be the middle of the night to go and see wonderful stuff that we might otherwise not have witnessed. Thanks Dad for caring so much about life's experiences that you wanted to share them with us. So it was while summering in Mahableshwar that we were all rolled out of bed one night to be taken down into town to witness the Juggernauts being wheeled through the streets for a festival.

BRITISH a large, heavy vehicle, especially an articulated lorry. The word juggernaut comes from the Hindi 'Jagannath' meaning 'lord of the world'. The word is further derived from the Sanskrit 'jagati' meaning 'he goes' and 'natha' meaning 'master'. At an annual festival, statues of the god Krishna, his brother and sister are pulled around the town on heavy carts. The term has come to mean any large, heavy vehicle.

So we wended our way on the tour and finally emerged near our destination of Postgate. The countryside opened up again and we emerged by a perfect picnic spot by a babbling brook and an ancient stone bridge probably built a thousand years ago

I had been planning on building a quick dam while we were pulled up at the side of the road, but this equally ancient wooden sign explained that I was not allowed to build a dam here. Damn! Foiled again. It seems that this water, Walla Brook, is an important salmon spawning site so no dam building today.

Just look at this little beauty of a bridge. If you have seen my post on Postbridge you will recognise what I think I recognise which is what was more than likely a clapper bridge when it was first built, pillars supporting granite slabs. If you have no idea what I am talking about then check out the Postbridge link. It would have been for pack horses and not cars and could have been modified more recently by being widened and having walls added. This is only a theory based on the unusual design.

This is the description of the Walla Brook - The Walla Brook rises near the Warren House Inn and flows south for some 4 miles (6 km) to join the lower East Dart River near Babeny.

Such is my wandering and snapping over Dartmoor now that I find I already have posts relating to these places, see the links. This Car Tour 1 was a circular tour ending back at Ashburton, but as I explained in Part 1, I am ending the posts on this tour here for the very reason that I have covered the rest of the tour already, elsewhere.

Next to the Walla Brook are some great examples of Dartmoor walling, using the natural materials to hand, namely massive granite boulders. These walls fascinate and intrigue, as there is no real understanding of how old some of them are and especially how they were constructed without the heavy machinery we use today. Even with the powerful machines we have at our disposal today we would find this hard work.


David Nurse
David Nurse
Apr 13, 2022

Another enjoyable trip.

Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Apr 14, 2022
Replying to

Yes, we are deciding which tour from the book to do next.

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