Thursday, 23 August 2018

Combestone Tor and Aller Brook Tor

Combestone Tor

Today's aims were to seek out two finds by Tim Jenkinson, who appears a lot in my blog posts for his excellent work discovering new tors and for his extensive knowledge of the area.

Aller Brook Tor lies just above the path and I've walked past it many times without realising there was a tor up there. Disclaimer, the other find, named Little Combestone Tor, was an irritant for me.

I was extremely happy to be revisiting one of my favourite tors, Combestone. It has to be the only popular tor I adore, for its excellent rock formations, views and being located in my favourite area of the moor; Holne Moor.

However, we ignored it for a visit later and crossed the Holne Moor Leat and Aller Brook, on a small clapper bridge.

Aller Brook Clapper Bridge

Aller Brook Clapper Bridge

Aller Brook

Heading initially east, you come to the first piles of Aller Brook Tor. A huge, flattened outcrop with more up in the trees. It's not my favourite tor, but its main rock pile with a dislodged outcrop is worth visiting, although being surrounded by a small bog and heavily overgrown vegetation, is much better accessed from the path below.

Aller Brook Tor

Aller Brook Tor

Aller Brook Tor

Aller Brook Tor

Aller Brook Tor
 
Aller Brook Tor lower

Coco rummaging around Aller Brook Tor

The ruined tor is mentioned in Ken Ringwood's Dartmoor's Tors and Rocks book but is marked incorrectly as Aller Brook Outcrop. In addition, since Tim was the first to describe this rock pile, he should've been given the deserved credit, like I'm writing about now. Never too late!

We retraced back to the clapper bridge and followed the path through a field system, where I noticed some significant outcrops east of Vag Hill, near Dartmeet. I did get a zoom, but only a poor one.

Yar Tor, Vag Hill

Unnamed granite west of Vag Hill

We could see some heavy rain over Bellever Tor and Princetown, but it thankfully stayed over that way so no drenching today!

Just past Combestone Farm, I would go in search of a possible 'new tor', so I left the family up by the driveway gate and tried to find it. My GPS said that I was metres from the main outcrop but I was left disappointed. The gorse and bracken was a nightmare and seeing an Adder made me return. I will visit in the Winter, assured by Tim, that is is best accessed from the south near Week Ford.

I was surprised to see an Adder but then again, it was very humid and that's why I hate bracken! A nuisance that doesn't look good and only serves as a habitat for some animals...

Minor outcrops but not the one I'm seeking

Finally, the best tor 'til last; Combestone. The Dart Valley possesses some of the best tors, with two other favourites in view; Sharp Tor (Yartor Down) and Yar Tor. Ponies always make add to the scene and were clearly enjoying themselves, scratching their bums on the rocks and even cars, including ours! I found a mother and foal, fast asleep.

If only I'd known at the time that there are several small rock basins dotted about the summit. Oh well, it's not exactly a long trek to get there!

Combestone Tor

Combestone Tor. Fallen rock basin bottom right, didn't notice at the time.

Combestone Tor time for sleep

Combestone Tor

Combestone Tor

Combestone Tor

Combestone Tor

Combestone Tor

On a mission

After this, we drive off to Badger's Holt to bag the two tors in that vicinity.