Sunday, 9 September 2018

Dartmoor: The Tors and Rocks on Prewley Moor and Corn Ridge

Shelstone Tor

My first week back at school and already I was feeling the pain of not going out, as were the rest of the family, so we decided to make do with the weather that we were afforded on Saturday and bag some new tors on 'High Dartmoor', as well as confirm a visit to East Tor.

Back at Prewley Moor, we took various tracks, trying to beeline to the lower ridge known as Sourton Tors. An hour before this, I had noticed some of my YouTube friends camping on this side of the moor: Mike, Karl, Steve, Dave and it just so happened they were pitched on my path to East Tor. It was great meeting them.

We could now see East Tor, where I thought I had visited before but now had this visit to confirm the right outcrop. Some believe it doesn't even exist by this name, given that the farm lies to the west. It could be a misnomer, but I can understand the separation, given that these three main outcrops are slightly cut off from the Sourton Tors. I'll just accept the bag and look forward to any later amendments.

Sourton Tors lower outcrop

East Tor

East Tor

East Tor

A short yomp up the hill to Sourton Tors, fine non-granite outcrops with a trig point, disused ice works to the north and amazing views. It was clear from here that our next section would be in mist, as we ascended into the 500 metre contour range.

Sourton Tors

Sourton Tors trig point

Opting for an easier ascent up Corn Ridge, we took the path that snakes its way up to Branscombe's Loaf (and Cheese). I left the family there so I could quickly bag 'Granate Tor', or, as Hemery calls it, 'Flagpole'. My friend, who believes this to be the correct outcrop for this name, has done a blog post on this tor linked HERE. I liked this outcrop and its location, despite its low stature I could glance every now and again when the cloud lifted. A good tor.

UPDATE: This tor was named as 'Corn Tor' in a book by the Institute of Geological Sciences 1968 for Okehampton.

Corn Tor

Corn Tor

Corn Tor

Corn Tor

Corn Tor

Corn Tor

I returned to the Loaf and Cheese to explore the outcrops with the family. The name ''Branscombe's Loaf'' is a strange one; add on the 'Cheese' and it is even weirder. There is some conjecture as to which outcrop the name refers to. The 'Loaf' is obvious, but some place the Cheese as the flat outcrop that is some distance away, whilst others, including myself, place it adjacent to the 'Loaf'; that being two slices of cheese which makes sense with the story.

Either way, we visited both outcrops.

Outcrop near the Loaf

Outcrop near the Loaf

Branscombe's Loaf

Branscombe's Loaf

Branscombe's Loaf

Branscombe's Loaf

Branscombe's Loaf and Cheese

We dropped down in elevation, a steep descent leading us out of the mist towards the first of two lesser-known features around Corn Hole. 'Corn Ridge Logan Stone' may seem insignificant at first. Sure it is a diminutive outcrop amid unpleasant clitter. However, it rocks!

It is very rare on the moor nowadays to find a logan stone that moves even an inch, for most of them don't any more. What fascinated me was an unrecorded logan, this one, being located away from a tor, more a tor remnant on the northern periphery of Corn Ridge. Paul's account can be found HERE.


Corn Ridge Logan Stone

Clitter at Corn Ridge Logan Stone

Corn Ridge Logan Stone

I made the decision to send the family off to Shelstone Tor, on a kinder descent, whilst I had to endure an almost verticle drop into Corn Hole to reach 'Corn Hole Rocks'. It is a small pile of rocks, sitting dead centre in the aforementioned Corn Hole, or Bowl. It is a nice spot to sit down and admire the peaceful atmosphere, even if you can still hear the A30 road. Paul's blog post linked HERE.

Corn Hole Rocks

Corn Hole Rocks

Corn Hole Rocks split rock?

Corn Hole Rocks

Shelstone Tor was next and what an exceptional tor it really is! Logan stones, rock basins, beautiful granite outcrops, tor caves and stunning views of the majestic West Okement valley means it sits quite comfortably in my top 5. I was not expecting such a wonderful vista. We explored it thoroughly. 

I am not sorry for the masses of photos to come.

Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor rock basins atop logan stone
Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor

We spied a track that heads back to Prewley Moor, skirting the lowest contour of Corn Hole and following the path beside a wall. I turned back to view the dark clouds forming over Corn Ridge and High Willhays before trekking back to the car park.

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