Top critical review
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Good book - if you have GPS
on 21 September 2011
I ordered this book from Amazon, along with an OS map, for a walking holiday on Dartmoor. We tried three of the walks, and I must start by saying how pleased we were to have such beautiful starting points for our expeditions. However we found the directions very unclear at times, sometimes standing for ten minutes trying to work out what the directions meant and then having to find our own way back to the car by luck, guesswork and trying different routes. Also the times given for the walks were generally underestimated by more than half.
For example, on the Grenofen Bridge walk the book directs you to go down to cross a cinder track and then continue down to a grassy dip. Do not do so! Turn right onto the cinder track up through some trees, or the helicopters will be out looking for you.
As another example, on the walk past St. Raphael church you are first of all directed to go through a couple of gates and turn right down an obvious grassy track. Unfortunately this splits into two obvious grassy tracks, If you veer down the left track [and I don't suggest that you do] you will find yourself going down through a boggy field to a cattle-mired slough in front of some trees and puzzling over your OS map [you did bring an OS map, didn't you?]. Later on the same walk you are directed to cross two sets of stepping stones. When we went the river was running high and both sets of stones were submerged. We were able to detour the first, but the only way to get over the second to our nearby car - without retracing the whole route - was to wade waist deep through the river with our boots strung round our necks. It was a wonderful bonding experience to have survived the endurance test of this six hour expedition, but it was not the pleasant hour and a half introductory ramble described.
I still like this book, and I may try further walks from it on our next trip, but will either have GPS, or, as we learned to do by the end of our holiday, use the OS map and compass first, take the directions with a pinch of salt and just use the guide book for a starting point..