A Solo Wild Camp By The River Taw

I had only been back a week from a wild camp on the moor when the urge to return was already upon me. Sometimes society gets a bit too much for me and the quickest remedy is a solo camp to reset the mind. No planning was necessary for this quick trip as I was returning to a favourite little spot of mine. Finishing work at half past three I left from Salisbury and headed straight off towards Dartmoor. I had packed my rucksack the night before and treble checked all of my kit so all I had to do was get myself there.

It’s only 117 miles from work and I had a traffic free journey arriving by the water treatment works at Belstone at just gone five thirty in the evening. I changed from my work uniform into my walking gear in the car, donned my pack and headed off along the track keeping Belstone Tor on my right and Cosdon hill on my left.

Within half an hour or so I had arrived at my destination and was pleased to find that there were no other people around, and it was just as I had remembered it from a few years back.

A perfect location. Sheltered, flat with a water supply.

Finding a perfect flat spot didn’t prove too difficult and I quickly pitched my tent by the river bank. As I had been at work since seven this morning and had only eaten a sandwich for lunch, I lit the trangia and popped a couple of boil in the bag rations in the pot. I had opted to try something different from my usual vegetarian dehydrated food/army ration packs. This evening I had a foil bag produced in India by a company called Bilash foods, this was a black bean vegetarian curry accompanied by a bag of Ras el Hanout Moroccan bulgar wheat from Marks and Spencers. The indian curry was delicious but I wouldn’t recommend the Bulgar wheat, it was bland and resembled a turd in a bag.

Dinner consumed and my pots washed in the river I decided it was time to fill all of my water containers in preperation for filtration. Even though the river was ten feet away I opted to do this just the once as I was now feeling tired and was quite happy to get into relaxed mode.

Once all of my water for the night was filtered I popped on my new favourite wild camping music on my wind up Mp4 player. Nigel Shaw’s “Dartmoor Symphony”, a mix of classical and new age music which is just perfect for an evening in the wilds. If you haven’t listened to him before I suggest you give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. Idyllic stuff accompanied by a single malt whisky mixed with Dartmoor river water.


After an hour of listening to some peaceful tunes I decided upon a wander around the immediate area to take some snaps before the sun dipped below the adjacent tor.

I came upon this odd structure not far from my tent which isn’t marked on the OS map. Since I have returned home I have carried out some investigations and can find no information on this. So if anyone has any ideas please feel free to enlighten me as a mystery like this drives me nuts!

The sun soon faded away behind the horizon and the temperature dropped a little.


Although not a cold evening the wind had picked up so I spent the next hour relaxing in my tent whilst listening to the River Taw bubbling its way past.

Chilling by the river out of the wind
The River Taw with Steeperton Tor in the distance

It was soon dark so I zipped myself up in my tent and sleeping bag and called it a night. I awoke around four in the morning to some ferocious winds and rain. I turned on my headtorch and stuck my head outside to find that my tent was holding together well. Confident that it was going to stand up to the wind I pulled my hat over my ears and attempted to get back to sleep.

By about seven in the morning I had given up all hope of sleep and made myself some tea. I was packed and on my way back to the car by eight, walking back in winds that according to my anenometer were gusting at 25 MPH. Fortunately the rain had stopped in the early hours.

I was on the road home soon after nine after what was a lovely relaxing evening. Apart from a not so great nights sleep that is. Regardless of the ridiculous wind ruining my sleep this quick one nighter had done its trick. I was heading home refreshed and ready for civilisation again. (Well almost!).

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