The O Brook

17/10/2014 - 12:39


"If you want sternness and loneliness you may pass into Dartmoor. There are wastes and wilds, crags of granite, views into far-off districts, and the sound of waters hurrying away over their rocky beds, enough to satisfy the largest hungering and thirsting after poetical delight.'  

William Howitt




The O Brook, or Wo Brook, is a relatively short & very charming tributary of the West Dart River on Dartmoor in Devon, England. It is a place of wonder to explore, a thin corridor of racing moorland waters bouncing over a plethora of granite ledge waterfalls and moss, lichen & fern carpeted boulder gardens.





There are the occasional calmer pools too at the end of sections of rapids, deep enough for a wild swim on a day when the river is not running at full pelt.





An earlier form of the name was Ocbroke, which apparently meant "Oak Brook", though oaks are now rare in the area.




It is said that in the medieval era that the valley of the O Brook, on Dartmoor, was home to an infamous dragon. Tin miners were fearsome of the place and many folk of the moors would detour this place by many miles. Farmers were said to have lost many animals over the years and it was reputed to have eaten a few weary travellers too.It is said that at some point that the folk of the moors caught the dragon, bound him from head to claw and drew it to its doom in the River Dart in the main valley below.




The sinuous brook is bounded by wild trees such as birch, willow and rowan stretching out close to the river and ensconcing it at times too. It is in places quite inaccessible with bracken and gorse deterring clear views, but those thickets beyond which one can hear the distinctive sound of aerated tumbling cascades make the inquisitive person want to explore what lies round the next corner.





Care is needed at times when navigating the upstream banks (above Saddle Bridge) as the ground is very boggy after rain, often becoming a mire, though the diverse array of mosses are no doubt grateful for such quenching.








Margaret et John
17/10/2014 - 14:03
Beautiful photographs and wonderful descriptions added to capture the mood of the setting.
Brenda Hillier
14/01/2016 - 09:28
Lovely photos of a part of Dartmoor that became very precious to us. Picnicked by Saddle Bridge, wandered downstream under the trees, and then swam in the pools of the West Dart at the bottom. Collected chanterelles here too. Lovely place.

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