Standing on an an ancient tor which was once a volcano with amazing views over Dartmoor and West Devon is one of the world’s most stunning and best located churches. The church of St Michael de Rupe stands within the Dartmoor National Park in Devon. This church takes in some amazing views including Dartmoor and West Devon. Cornwall, the sea around Newton Abbot and Exmoor can also all be seen in the distance. The church was founded in 1130 and is the fourth smallest parish church in Britain. It also claims to be the highest church in England which is still in use. The church which can be seen today dates from the 13th and 14th century however it is built on the original 12th century foundations. Brentor Village’s main church is a more recent 19th century building with the dedication of Christchurch which can be found in the village however St Michael De Rupe Church still remains the parish church with the parish of Brentor being bordered by the parishes of Coryton, Lewtrenchard (by a margin), Lydford, Mary Tavy, Lamerton, and Milton Abbot. Although there is this church (which is much more easily accessed), Brentor Church is still in use for services. Brentor Church is 37 feet long and 15 feet wide with a tower containing five bells of a height of 40 feet. This church is truly amazing and definitely is worth a visit, even if you’re not on Dartmoor. Music by Adrian Von Ziegler –
You tube music is in the link below the image
After watching the Brentor You Tube Last Year, I dearly wished to visit St. Michael de Rupe on Dartmoor. Our journey began in the market town of Tavistock on a quiet Sunday afternoon, taking the easiest route through the tiny villages of Peter Tavy and Mary Tavy towards the vast open moorland. It’s an enchanting route through narrow lanes lined with wildflowers, trees and quaint old houses, and occasional picturesque pubs.
Dartmoor is entered through wide wooden gates, where sheep graze carelessly beside the road without a thought to the traffic. The famous Dartmoor ponies graze nearby. These beautiful creatures show no fear of cars or visitors; some are tame enough to allow you to stroke them. The colour of the ponies are varied from all black, to black and white, brown, or brown and white or all white. Extremely pretty, with long manes, thick eye lashes, woolly tails, that sweep the ground, they are much beloved by everyone that visits.
Lost on Dartmoor
Down the road some two miles, we come to an old gate and sign that marked the entrance, official one that is, to Brentor church. It’s baffling because the climb up to the little ancient church looks easy, but it is deceptive. It can be dangerous if you take a wrong turn and I did.
So anxious was I to begin the climb up to the church, I left my handbag in the car but grabbed my camera. Entering the old gate, a couple were walking toward me.They stopped to talk. They said the climb was easy enough, to just follow the upward stone path, “It’s no sweat”, they smiled. I took their advice, stopping along the way to take photos but that was my undoing. By not concentrating on the path, I found myself on the shadow side of the hill. I knew I had lost my way when I saw the large rocks and boulders in front of me. The daunting prospect of climbing over those made me want to turn back but the church looked so near! I continued on but an eerie feeling came over me, for I was circling the Tor where no path existed. Which way to go was now something to consider. It was late in the afternoon.
Finally reaching the point just below the summit, a faint path appeared before me. Phew! What a relief! Then the church came into full view once more so I trudged on. But then, between me and the church’s refuge, more giant rocks stood tall and foreboding. I had lost the path again! In the distance, I could see several people walking along the church boundary, but they were too far away for me to call to. The wind was pretty high at this level and my legs ached. I sat down on a rock to catch my breath. The views all around were awesome.Certainly, I lost no time in taking plenty of photos. The photos below are from there.
The gorgeous views kept me captivated. Then the sun rays disappeared behind the church -and it occurred to me that “late afternoon” was turning to dusk. I didn’t want to leave but leave I must. So I got up from my rock seat, shook myself down and began the descent. But the strangely compelling beauty of the moment kept my attention on those views, again I found myself far from the entrance from where I had begun my climb. Instead, I found myself in a bog-filled field that stretched out for miles.
So here I was – lost again! Time was passing fast, the thought of being left out on Dartmoor away from anyone, filled me with dread. I trudged on for half an hour when a road came into view. Not only a road, but a white house appeared in the distance! Now I had a landmark. So with as much speed as I could muster, I walked in that direction. But I took a wrong step and slipped into a shallow bog and lost my shoe! Recovering it was not easy; the soggy mud stuck to the shoe. ‘Darn it!’ I thought to myself but managed to slip it on. With a very uncomfortable gait I walked briskly on. Eventually, I came to a farmer’s gate. Ahh! at last a way out and onto the road!
The gate was locked! Darn it! The area was anything but safe for curious tourists and a firm ‘no entry’ sign was clearly visible on the road side. What to do? The thought of climbing over the gate came to mind but by now exhaustion had set in. Then I struck lucky. The old lock was one I knew and when I pressed my thumb onto the steel spring-loaded lock hard enough, it gave way. Freedom at last! Yay, I was back to civilisation! A ‘B’ road where surely cars would pass. None did, but the white house appeared just ahead.
The house was quiet – no answer came from my relentless banging the door. But as luck would have it, a car approached and then pulled over. “Are you okay?” A kindly man asked. Breathlessly, I answered that I was not. He said, “Lost? Where is your phone?” I told him I didn’t have one, nothing but my camera. A look of alarm crossed his face but then came a kindly smile. “Never mind, jump in. I will take you back to the church entrance.”
This is where I had left my husband who now anxiously waited with a search party. What a day and what memories. It was all worth it.
Until later Eve