Saturday 2 December 2023

Dartmoor: Ryder's Hill from Cross Furzes

Outer Pupers

Significant snowfall the day before and into the evening meant that Dartmoor, or at least this southern part, was white. Those who know me know that I adore the white stuff but I appreciate that it is like marmite, with some people quite rightly preferring to stay indoors in the warm.

Cold it may have been but with four layers on and a hat, I was good to go. Whenever snow hits Dartmoor one must act responsibly to avoid becoming a 'snow tourist', someone who typically visits Dartmoor when it has snowed and causes havoc for those who live and work there by parking irresponsibly and not knowing the limits of their vehicle. Therefore I stayed well off the popular areas and refused to drive across the moor itself. Instead I drove up the lane to Cross Furzes, above Buckfastleigh, which is local(ish) to me and close to the high moor without putting myself at risk.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Dartmoor: A Hot Walk to Cater's Beam (11.48 miles)

Fox Tor (Fox Tor Mires)

The following account is taken from my post on the DARTMOOR 365 Facebook group on 07/09/23:

One Tuesday in September it was very hot. Naturally, I always seem to choose the most exposed areas when it's like this. I set off from Whiteworks and, after crossing the Strane, ascended Strane Hill. On the crest of the hill I turned right to find the DPA stones, which delineate the proposed reservoir boundary. The Dartmoor Preservation Association purchased the land here from South West Water in 1985 with funds secured by the late Miss M. Loveday Trahair. Read more here.

Friday 17 February 2023

Sharpitor, Lustleigh Cleave; One of East Dartmoor's Grandest Tors

Sharpitor outcrop on summit ridge

For some reason this evening I feel compelled to devote a blog post to a single, but absolutely magnificent tor. Sharpitor is that rockpile, a humongous ridge of rock standing proud at the far south-east end of the Lustleigh Cleave high ground. My main reasoning for dedicating this post to the tor is that it is, in my view, one of the most underrated of all tors on Dartmoor, and that is in spite of the fact that it is very clearly named on Ordnance Survey (OS) Maps.

Friday 7 October 2022

Dartmoor: Abbot's Way Walk 2022 (22.7 miles)

South Hessary Tor

On Sunday more than 420 of us, or 78 teams, set off from Buckfast Abbey between 7:15am - 8:30am to walk the 23-mile Abbot's Way to Tavistock. Run by the Tavistock & District Outdoor Education Forum with the help of countless volunteers, I was to complete this route with Amanda Ellis and Fiona Rothwell. Our team name was 'Mafiam' (can you work out why?).

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Dartmoor Photoshoot with Glavind Strachan Photography

Tree below Shelstone Tor; looking up the West Okement Valley

Paul Harris, better-known by his alias, Glavind Strachan Photography, is a local photographer based just off the north-west edge of Dartmoor. His photography is very varied, specialising in portraiture, landscapes and other subjects; but for me, it has been his landscape photography that has left me spellbound on every occasion for the last few years - it really is captivating.

His work is instantly recognisable as being predominantly moody which, for me, is what Dartmoor is most renowned for. It is this very weather that has given Dartmoor an infamous reputation, the site of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Hound of the Baskervilles' and Great Grimpen Mire, based off of the notorious Foxtor Mires. This aspect makes Dartmoor the place that it is, but few, if any, photographers in my opinion successfully capture this evocative landscape better than Paul.

Saturday 18 June 2022

Pre-Order My New Book!

The Front Cover

I have just written my first book, ‘East Dartmoor’s Lesser-Known Tors and Rocks‘. Do you want to learn more about East Dartmoor? If so, this book is for you! It is now available to pre-order.


Have you ever wandered around the eastern part of Dartmoor and stumbled upon outcrops that appear to be nameless? Well, fear not, as this book will act as an invaluable guide. It will teach you about the history of the rocks and showcase a tremendous collection of references to a number of obscure publications – quotes that are yet to appear in print.

East Dartmoor’s Lesser-Known Tors and Rocks by Max Piper is due to be published by The Dartmoor Company in October 2022 as a paperback book comprising over 330 pages. It also includes over 230 photographs.

You can pre-order your copy now from Paul Rendell. Please specify if you would like a signed copy from the author himself.


Sunday 27 March 2022

Dartmoor South to North (32.05 miles)


This walk (OK, let's call it a hike) had been in the planning for a couple of months, ever since I started that fundraiser in January. I was not expecting to reach my target of £1000 in 3 days, so when it happened, I had to contemplate actually doing the walk. I waited for a day that I could both do (obviously), but that also had amazing weather. That day was to be 26th March.

Friday 21 January 2022

Visions for 2022

Leeden Tor just after sunset
Leeden Tor just after sunset

Last March I wrote a blog post detailing my thoughts and intentions for 2021, which was certainly a year like no other, I think we can all agree. In that post I outlined several things that I wanted to achieve in that year and this will in part be a summary of how that went, as well as my visions for 2022.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Dartmoor: An Exploration of Gidleigh Woods (9.47 miles)

Extremities of North Park Tor (Lower Gidleigh Tor)

This exploration of Gidleigh Woods was long, long overdue by almost a year. With lockdowns and then being booked up, finding a suitable day for myself, Paul Buck, Tim Jenkinson and Paul Rendell to meet up on was tedious to say the least, but we fixed a date in October and hoped for the best weather-wise - and it delivered!

Monday 30 August 2021

Dartmoor: Fur Tor from Willsworthy Range (16.15 miles)

Fur Tor (Okehampton Range)

The following account is taken from my post on the DARTMOOR 365 Facebook group on 28/08/21:

Yesterday's walk was once again into the deep, remote and stunning heart of the North Moor, but this time I started at Willsworthy Range Car Park. The route was little more than 16 miles in length, had multiple river crossings and negotiated some truly terrible ground but all of that was to be expected - hence why it was undertaken in ideal visibility and after a dry spell.

Thursday 19 August 2021

Dartmoor: 500m Tops West of Fernworthy Forest (9.75 miles)

Lade Hill Tor

This walk, which I did at the very beginning of August, almost killed me; read the full thing to find out why! (It's not clickbait!)

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Dartmoor: Buckfast to Pupers Hill Circular (14.63 miles)

Avon Dam

This circular walk began in Buckfast and the aim of the walk was to simply get out for a decent wander into a quiet part of the National Park. No new squares were bagged, but I did pick up all of the Dean Prior/South Brent Parish Boundstones as well as some new benchmarks and a standing stone! The following account is a summary, and some bits were left out.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Dartmoor: Belstone to High Down - Perambulation Fifth Leg (13.01 miles)

Wispy Clouds above Fordsland Ledge

This was, to put it right there, a walk of much interest, and there was so much to see so I have, for once, chosen to go with what I wrote on the Dartmoor 365 Facebook group (hence the square references) as a summary.

I will, however, include more photos to document the day's outing!

Friday 14 May 2021

Bodmin Moor: The Beacon, Leskernick Hill, Buttern Hill and Bray Down (8.88 miles)

Bryony on Leskernick Hill

This post is another that is long overdue... in fact Sheron Vowden and I did the route in September 2019, so I'm about a year and a half late, but never fear, I'm slowly catching up!

It was a hot day. Sheron had driven us down to the foot of Trewint Tor where we parked considerately at the roadside. We were undecided about whether or not we would leave Trewint Tor till last, but just in case we had little energy by the end we thought it safer to bag it first.

Friday 30 April 2021

Dartmoor: Whiddon Down to Chagford

Throwleigh Church

Despite being little more than 7 and a half miles in length, this walk had a lot to see and I admit to feeling a little tired by the end, not because of the mileage, that was fine, but the overwhelming number of artefacts en route. This was another walk focused at picking up some outstanding 365 squares, and to also visit a new (replacement) cross by Leigh Bridge. Of course, along with all of the benchmarks I either found or did not, I will not be able to include every sight so if I jump about a bit you know why.

Monday 15 March 2021

Bodmin Moor: De Lank Quarries and St. Breward (8.45 miles)

St. Bruerdus's Church, St. Breward

Although this walk was of modest length, at barely 8 and a half miles, I tell you it was one of the most jam-packed walks I have done on Bodmin Moor, with tonnes of cultural interest all around. It was not just about tor bagging but the village of St. Breward and its beautiful historical artefacts. I will try to condense it as much as possible. Indeed, as I write this, I am a year and a day late, but this route had to be documented.

Sunday 14 March 2021

Visions for 2021

Fox Tor (Fox Tor Mires)

This will be a different post to usual. Instead of blogging about a walk, I will focus on something that I have been thinking about for sometime: what are my plans (or visions if you like) for 2021? We are already in March, so three months in, but there are still three quarters of the year remaining for me to contemplate the future. Of course, as I write this, we are still in lockdown, but things seem to be moving in the right direction, with the rollout of the vaccination in the UK being among one of the best in the world, and now that I'm back at school the current situation, whilst still not stable in any way, is improving, and that can only mean one thing for a tor bagger such as myself: what will I do when I next get back to Dartmoor?

Monday 4 January 2021

Dartmoor: The Tors out of Shipley Bridge

River Avon at Shipley Gorge

Note: Walk undertaken in December 2018, blog post slightly rewritten in January 2021.

I have been wanting to revisit this area for some time, as it has always been a popular family stroll, up to the dam and back. But this time, I was going to bag all the tors and rocks north of Shipley Bridge.

Friday 1 January 2021

Dartmoor: Snowy Stroll to Feather Tor

Windy Post

With these new tier 3 restrictions put into place, it becomes hard to understand what is and isn't deemed 'acceptable' by the vast majority of people because whilst the government have set out rules, they are to be interpreted differently by different people and 'local' is a very difficult word to define. To me, much of Dartmoor is local because I visit there so often, but in truth some parts of the moor are an hour or so away from home, which cannot be defined as 'local'. The first day of the new restrictions people had travelled to Dartmoor from their homes so I felt why not do the same in a considerate manner after picking up some bits and bobs in Plympton for work first? If it appeared too unsafe, we would go somewhere else.

Sunday 20 December 2020

Dartmoor: Around East Okement

Oke Tor

The weather was looking undecided for this walk, undertaken the day before I write this, and one minute it was saying sunny spells and the next intermittent rain. Well, come the morning at home, it was peeing it down and we wondered if it was sensible to head up onto Dartmoor, since high winds of around 40 mph with gusts up to 50 mph were forecast.

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Dartmoor: A Stroll on Hookney Down

Hookney Tor

There are occasions where I hate planning walks because I don't know where to go. Dartmoor is so huge it can become overwhelming at times. I had planned Higher White Tor from Postbridge and then, last-minute, decided to plan a route from Hart Tor on the North Moor - but I soon realised that this would entail the crossing of multiple fords which I wanted to avoid. Somehow, driving towards Postbridge anyway, I chose Hookney Down on the basis that it is an easy walking area full of interesting items.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Dartmoor: Dinger Tor and High Willhays

High Willhays

Heavy snow was forecast for Thursday night and all day Friday, but these are weekdays when I am at school so I had to hold out hope that there would be some remaining on Saturday. The forecast for Saturday was undecided; it kept changing from heavy rain to sleet, snow and even sunshine. The only point of call was to just get up to my desired location and hope for the best, which is exactly what happened.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Dartmoor: Back to Wistman's Wood

Gorse Flowers

The aim of this walk, which was undertaken in September 2019, was to bag a new tor that was noted as a cave by Rob Naylor on 'Dartefacts' as 'Whortleberry Cave'. I thought I would also revisit Wistman's Wood and some of the tors on the Longaford Ridge, though we may not have picked the best day.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Dartmoor: Coombe Tor and Bee Tor (with kind permission)

Coombe Tor (Chagford)

I had been eyeing up these two tors for quite some time now. The great majority of those tors I have left to bag reside on private land, and some are quite deep within so the best course of action for me was to seek the kind permission of the landowners. I am not very accustomed with this, either viewing an outcrop from public land or by making a small, harmless trespass in the form of passing through a gate, for example. I would treat these tors differently; knowing that access to both tors was granted to my good friend, Paul Buck, I was optimistic.

I sent letters out to both landowners and had a quick response from Coombe Tor but not from Bee Tor so, confirming a suitable date for Coombe, I made a voyage to also see if there was any chance of me visiting Bee Tor as well since for all I know I could've sent the letter to the wrong place!

Friday 2 October 2020

Dartmoor: Warren House Inn to Belstone - Perambulation Fourth Leg (13.06 miles)

The Thirlstone at Watern Tor

This was the fourth leg of the Perambulation and a walk we were all looking forward to more than the others since it takes in some great areas and the most beautiful tor on the moor - and no, I'm not biased.