By Gemma Stewart
It’s unsurprising that this is a well-visited little corner of the moor, certainly since being made famous as the setting of the farmhouse in Speilburg’s 2011 film, War Horse. It’s not difficult to see why this location was chosen.
My first sighting of Ditsworthy Warren House was actually a long while after seeing the film. I approached from the carpark below Gutter Tor, taking the surfaced track, and marvelled as the house and surrounding trees appeared slowly on the horizon.
When the weather is nice, the ‘garden’ behind the house is a beautiful place to sit, looking out over the Plym and to Hentor Meadow beyond. I can’t even begin to imagine what living here in the 19th Century would have been like but on my first visit, as well as many visits since, I’ve loved the deep sense of peace and stillness that the semi-remote location has to offer.
From the farmhouse itself, it is just a short walk on to Drizzlecombe, where you can see the tallest standing stone (Menhir) on Dartmoor. On standing next to this impressive assembly, you can’t help but be enthralled by the history of it all. I understand that it had to be resurrected in more recent years, but to think that this stone has a story, a purpose over 4000 years old is somewhat humbling.
From Drizzlecombe, you can take Edward’s Path back to the carpark at Gutter Tor, through the grounds of the Scout Hut to avoid Gutter Mire. This is another pretty spot to sit and take in the scenery and is seemingly a popular picnic spot in the summer.
After having visited the Ditsworthy area on foot, I decided that I wanted to return, in the saddle, and ride along ‘the War Horse trail’. I have now done this on a few different occasions and by far my favourite route is to set off from Cadover Bridge and head towards Great Trowlesworthy Tor. The going is a little difficult if it has been wet, but I was lucky enough to discover a track during the glorious weather we had in late June last year.
Behind Great Trowlesworthy Tor, I was able to take a small track down into Hentor Meadow and continue down to the ford. By this time my pony, Roly, was only too happy to paddle across and we posed for the obligatory photo infront of Ditsworthy Warren House, along with one of the local residents!
If you have never been, I thoroughly recommend a visit, particularly if you have time to ride/walk/climb up onto Eastern Tor (directly behind the farmhouse) and admire the views in all directions. Unfortunately, I have not walked this route with my ‘proper camera’ and since the responsibility of carrying it is way too big for a small horse – these phone snaps will have to do for now.