Over the years since we’ve been here we’ve walked all over these moors and we feel we know them pretty well. On days like today, when we don’t want to think too much and we need to be sure that our route will be passable (not too wet or muddy), we have a “standard loop”. It’s a circular walk that’s long enough to give the dogs a good run out (a couple of miles I suppose) and we can be pretty sure that we won’t encounter anything that we can’t deal with. Last time we did “the standard loop” we were walking on ice. This time it was gloopy and muddy but, apart from a couple of very small detours round water, it was clear of nasty stuff.
It takes in some amazing sights and however often we see them we never get enough of them. Not only can’t we get enough of them but they change every time we walk. This is one of the things we see. It’s Stowes Hill with the Cheesewring Quarry biting into its side. Granite quarrying went on here for centuries and, although most of the quarrying ended the best part of a century ago, there have been occasional forays over the years, the most recent of which was in 1984. One of the other local granite quarries is being worked at the moment although as far as I know, they’re not taking uncut stone, just the stone that was cut a century ago and has been lying round on the hillside ever since.
The quarry is called the Cheesewring Quarry because of the rock piles at the top of the hill which are said to look like apple cheeses piled up on top of one another as they do when they are crushing apples to make cider.
The landy tracks are made when local farmers bring food and water up to their stock when conditions are bad on the moor. These ones are going basically towards Daniel Gumb’s cave. Daniel Gumb was a local stonemason here and he lived in a cave on the side of the quarry with his family. He has legendary status round here, partly because he carved mathematical symbols into the granite around the entrance way to his cave. Even though you can supposedly still see the entrance to his cave, it’s actually been moved because the quarry works destroyed the real cave.
The sights we see on “the standard loop” are part of this area’s unique history. Some of them are the reason why we live on a World Heritage Site and why it’s a conservation area with SSSI status. Many are 19th century but we also pass three stone circles that are believed to be four thousand years old. There have been people living on this moor for millennia. We’re just little ants in the passing of time.