Sunday, 15 July 2018

Dartmoor: The Tors East of Peter Tavy

Smeardon Down Tors

Today was always going to be a hot one, not least the fact that although a short walk, we had to be mindful of not only ourselves but also the Dogs - they do not like the heat and it really can be dangerous for them. Nevertheless, taking this into consideration, probably less than we should've, we parked up below Little Cox Tor near Higher Godsworthy, to start the walk.

First up, across an open field, Sharp Tor (Peter Tavy). I liked this one, a small non-granite tor perched near the top of the hill with a commanding view of the distinctive and conical Brent Tor, and over Eastern Cornwall. I should add that this is a first for me, in that every tor today was not granite, but Dolerite, a more jagged rock with sharper edges and no rock basins. It was nice to have a change for once.

Sharp Tor

Sharp Tor summit

Sharp Tor

Sharp Tor

We took the Godsworthy stroll, as it is known, to the summit of Great Combe Tor. Not my favourite, but still worth a visit because the location is nice nonetheless. 

Great Combe Tor

Great Combe Tor

Great Combe Tor

Great Combe Tor

The ferns, or bracken as I prefer, proved a real challenge when descending to Colly Brook. My GPS marks a track down the east side of the hill, to Colly Brook. Nothing there except bracken city, so we made our way back to Great Combe and eventually found the track that opened up to the small reservoir. 

The footpath winds around a couple of bends where you come to a spectacular sight; the Colly Brook Clam. This small bridge sits perfectly above the tumbling stream and is a great place to chill. As others say, it is like a tropical rainforest, especially in this humidity! If you don't fancy clambering the rocks for photographs, then there is a well-placed bench adjacent to the footpath to relax.

Colly Brook

Colly Brook Clam

Colly Brook

Colly Brook

The path was obvious now, as it meanders through bracken into a denser woodland, below a favourite; Little Combe Tor. This tor isn't as obscured as I expected and houses some marvellous types of moss, in addition to the boulders at the top of the wood, by a wall.

Little Combe Tor

Little Combe Tor

Little Combe Tor

Little Combe Tor moss

We exited ''The Combe'' and found a spot for lunch, under a canopy of trees. I spied Little Boulters Tor and failed to seek out a way to reach it. I could see a large track above it, so opted for that option after bagging Furze Tor. 

The only revisit of the day and Furze Tor was better than last time. The summit is okay and the views are mediocre. What I dislike about the tor are the outcrops, in comparison to the beauties above and below, it lacked interest. However, it sits conveniently by a wide track!

Furze Tor

Furze Tor

Furze Tor

Furze Tor

Whilst the family continued to Setters Tor, I contemplated a route up to Boulters Tor. It was easy, or lucky, for me to find a path to the summit. I like Boulters Tor, built into a wall, and is a very striking tor indeed and easy to visit from the car park below.

Boulters Tor

Boulters Tor

Boulters Tor

Boulters Tor

On this plateau, the way to Smeardon Down Tors is easy, but I had another bag to attain first; Little Boulters Tor. Another pleasant outcrop on the valley side with good views of West Devon, not my local area of Dartmoor! 

Little Boulters Tor

Little Boulters Tor

Little Boulters Tor

Next up, Smeardon Down. What a place! Magnificent views of both the countryside and the high north moor. There are too many outcrops to count. Wild camping is actually permitted here, in a break in the bracken, and there are many flat spots to pitch up.

Smeardon Down Tors

Smeardon Down Tors

Smeardon Down Tors

I retraced back past Boulters Tor and onto the track up to White Tor to veer off after a wall to the lowly piles of Set Tor. This is an interesting tor, for the rock type is darker and more like concrete slate, with sharp edges almost black in colour. I think it's still Dolerite though. 

This tor is quite extensive in terms of outcrops, all scattered over the area of short-cut grass, and the views are excellent!

Set Tor

Set Tor

Set Tor

Set Tor

Set Tor

Wedlake Tor is a smaller tor named by Tim Jenkinson. It is small, but the geology, location and views still make for a visit. It is best viewed from below as to show the small rock face there. The Sheep seem to also like this one!

Wedlake Tor

Wedlake Tor

Wedlake Tor

Wedlake Tor and White Tor

Boulder below Wedlake Tor

Down at the stream and through a couple of gates, we contoured up beside a stone wall at the base of Cox Tor back to the car park, getting a beautiful view of Roos Tor and Great Mis Tor.

Colly Brook Ford

Helpful!

Hawthorn?

Roos Tor

A really good day, but too hot for the Dogs really and so if planning to walk in this heat, do it in the woods and/or lower the mileage: the 4 miles we did took 3 hours; 1 hour will be plenty!

Two Bridges to cool off