Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dartmoor: The Tors and Rocks on Easdon Down, and Manaton Rocks

Figgie Daniel

As I left Newton Abbot town centre on the bus and it started to rain I knew that today would go wrong somehow, it always does. I still kept Easdon Down in my mind for the walk, however. It did go wrong, slightly, or did it? Anyway, let's start off on a high though to say that some of today's tors were great! 

Starting off at Barracott, near Manaton, I headed along the bridleway and onto the open moorland. Scrambling through gorse and ferns, as I expected, I could see my prize ahead. Easdon South Tor, first noted by Steve Jenkins, is a stupendous tor. It is easy to summit and the multiple caves and shelter provided make for a charming find.



Easdon South Tor

Easdon South Tor

Easdon South Tor

Easdon South Tor

Easdon South Tor
Easdon South Tor

Whooping Rock is just over the brow over the hill. There is a small path that takes you to this curiously named granite outcrop. It has a nice logan stone and it completely reminds me of Crow Tor, how the tor is shaped.

I didn't linger long though, as the wind picked up. I was more drawn to Easdon Tor, where I was heading next, that could be viewed with its summit triangulation point.

Strange rock below Whooping Rock

Whooping Rock

Whooping Rock

Whooping Rock. The logan no longer rocks.

Easdon Tor is a lovely tor, although to be honest the views and trig point capture more of my attention than the outcrops themselves! The outcrops at the summit are quite lowly and are more prominent from the west where the hill drops down steeply. Gosh, it was windy today!

Easdon Tor

Easdon Tor trig point

Easdon Tor trig point, Whooping Rock below right

Easdon Tor

Usually, I stay a little bit longer to admire the views of Yes Tor and Hamel Down. But the weather couldn't decide on its plans, so I took that it wouldn't clear up.

Now, after noticing a group of granite boulders on Google Satellite Imagery, I thought it'd be rude not to visit. I arrived at some clitter of a likely ruined tor, but three decent granite outcrops/boulders still surviving, well away from Easdon Tor.

I felt that they were worthy of a visit, so I dubbed them Langdon Rocks, after the farm nearby.

Langdon Rocks

Langdon Rocks

Langdon Rocks

Langdon Rocks

It was now time for me to make for Easdon Hill, on wide tracks, trying not to disturb Sheep. I reached the col and struck for the summit.

Easdon Hill is not known for housing a granite tor, but there is one, albeit a diminutive example. Again had the weather been better the views would have been beautiful!

Easdon Hill

Easdon Hill

Easdon Hill towards the tor

Figgie Daniel, my next target, is similar to Bowerman's Nose, both in name and appearance. The latter is much more well known, but Figgie Daniel definitely had something fascinating behind it.

Outcrops beside Figgie Daniel

Figgie Daniel

Figgie Daniel

Figgie Daniel

Guilty again I had noticed another substantial looking outcrop that I had to visit from Google Earth. Glad I did because it was more interesting than Langdon. I love the largest outcrop here, like a smaller version of Wittaburrow.

For want of a tag, I named it Bowda Tor, after the old farmstead some way to the north-east in the woods. The reason we name lesser-known tors is, undoubtedly, for people to visit. It certainly does encourage the tor bagger to else why would you be in such a neck of the woods, in ferns?

Bowda Tor

Bowda Tor

Figgie Daniel

Not wanting to negotiate being temporarily misplaced, I returned to Figgie Daniel to drop down on a 'good path' beside a treelined wall.

There is a definitive path down to a field wall, near Barracott Farm. From here on everything goes COMPLETELY wrong for me!

There was an opening into the private land, where I suppose an old gate used to be. I went for it, up and over, around trees, stinging nettles, ferns. My GPS reassured me that I was on track, and it felt great to get closer and closer to this sadly forbidden outcrop.

I found the highest outcrop, covered in moss. Comparing the image with both Tim Jenkinson's and Paul Buck's - it was clear I had come at the wrong time of year!

Barracott Tor was first mentioned a while back by Peter Sanders and photographed by Tim Jenkinson. I feel that this private tor 100% needs to be on public land, as it just becoming mercy of the bracken. Hopefully us tor baggers can help to ensure it is known, although I have no plans on a revisit anytime soon!

Gateposts

Bluebell

Barracott Tor

Barracott Tor

Barracott Tor

In the hope of making this a circular walk, and being stubborn, I thought there had to be an easier way to get out of this fern forest!

I tried to make for the footpath to Luckdon, to take the road near Manaton Rocks. There are holes in the ground everywhere, made by Badgers. I was getting well-fed up of being stung and of the issue with ticks.

Eventually, I came to dense woodland. Checking my GPS, I was near the road, but with a field in the way. I'm not a fan of trespassing myself, but an open gate meant for a light trespass. I ignored the Sheep and made sure I was doing no harm or distress along the way.

On the road, I realised how lucky I hadn't hurt my ankle. To put it simply... I'm an idiot!

A necessary shortcut :-)

At the bottom of Langstone Hill, I cut across the field to the public footpath into the woods. The woodland and path to Manaton Rocks reminded me of Shaptor Wood: that being twisty, with boulders, and steep in places.

Across some deep mud, nearly lost my foot! Outcrops became apparent, as I found out, this was not the surprise I was expecting. Manaton Rocks has a signed footpath right to the summit! This is now one of my favourite Dartmoor views, with Haytor Rocks and Lustleigh Cleave most obvious.

Manaton Rocks

Footpath for Manaton Rocks

Manaton Rocks

Manaton Rocks

Back on track, more outcrops became apparent. Mossy boulders before I crossed a couple stiles to enter Manaton, with its lovely church.

Manaton Church

I had time on my hands, so I went in search of ''Fernstone Tor'' - an obscured granite tor in the woods, on private land. The house was clearly labelled, the tor not so much.

In here?

I gave up to get the bus at the car park.

This walk sounds like it was a long one. In truth, it was only 4 miles. However, it was adventurous and for once I would not recommend this walk to anyone!