Monday, 3 September 2018

The Tors and Rocks West of Cadover Bridge (Part 1)

Oxen Tor
Oxen Tor

Fellow Facebook member, Peter Freeman had alerted us on our 'Tors of Dartmoor' group a while back to a few possible outcrops in the Dewerstone area. Intrigued, Paul Buck, Tim Jenkinson and I had decided to meet up at Cadover Bridge and go in search of these outcrops. I've split this walk into two parts, all will be revealed as to why later!

At Cadover Bridge, we crossed the well-known landmark and made towards Cadover Cross. It is a very fine cross indeed. More HERE.

Cadover Cross
Cadover Cross

The first of Peter's outcrops was located at SX 5498 6523, but firstly Tim wanted to go and visit some curious BA stones, which lined the fence where this outcrop could be found. The best way to see the inscriptions was to use mud. I think it's important not to forget these markers.

We could now see the modest outcrop ahead and consulting the old Tithe Map of the Parish of Meavy revealed this to be called 'Durance Rocks'. It has a lovely lookout north and east, with the dazzling heights of the impressive tors above Burrator Reservoir such as Sheeps Tor in full view.

BA Stone on Wigford Down - after
BA Stone on Wigford Down - after

Durance Rocks
Durance Rocks

Durance Rocks
Durance Rocks

Durance Rocks
Durance Rocks

Durance Rock (s) and Max Piper SX 54977 65228
Me on Durance Rocks. Pic by Tim Jenkinson.

We followed the fenceline, finding more BA stones and ignoring the summit cairn on Wigford Down. A bit of road walking and we arrived at Urgles Cross; more HERE. This is another fine cross, similar in that to Cadover Cross.

BA Stone on Wigford Down
BA Stone on Wigford Down

Urgles Cross
Urgles Cross

Our next stop was one that I wish we had lingered on for longer. Oxen Tor on Tithe Maps, or as Hemery calls it 'Cadworthy Tor', is a beautiful granite tor, both in the views down towards Plymouth and Dewerstone but also has some interesting granite features that I like, one of which is a giant quartz vein, slicing through the rock.

Oxen Tor
Oxen Tor

Oxen Tor quartz vein
Oxen Tor quartz vein

Oxen Tor
Oxen Tor

We followed the distinctive path, over the odd boulder scree, to reach Dewerstone Hill, also through later research found it to be called Dewerstone Tor. There is also an inscription and great views from this lowly hill - much gentler than what was yet to come.

CARRINGTON OBIT on Dewerstone Hill
CARRINGTON OBIT on Dewerstone Hill

Dewerstone Hill
Dewerstone Hill

Dewerstone Hill
Dewerstone Hill

Dewerstone Hill
Dewerstone Hill

Although the bracken was trying to engulf us, there was a clear track leading to the summit of Dewerstone Rock, a massive collection of dramatic crags on a steep slope. I've never seen anything quite like it.

Daffy Duck on Dewerstone Rock
Daffy Duck on Dewerstone Rock

Dewerstone Rock top
Dewerstone Rock top

Dewerstone Rock pinnacle
Dewerstone Rock

Dewerstone Rock huge outcrop
Dewerstone Rock

For me the next section was by far the hardest section of the day. Clambering down the very steep slope with many interesting rocks to distract your footing, in addition to the odd slippery rock, you must be careful descending or ascending here; go on your back if it's safer.

Eventually reaching the bottom at the track, we skirted some lower outcrops to visit a previously undocumented outcrop found by Paul. Definitely not an outlier but instead a huge ridge of granite stretching from the hill summit right down to Shaugh Bridge. To distinguish this collection from the rest, we dubbed them 'Dewerstone West'.

Tim Jenkinson at Dewerstone West
Tim Jenkinson at Dewerstone West

Dewerstone West (lower)
Dewerstone West

Dewerstone West (lower)
Dewerstone West

In typical style we made life difficult by rock climbing up the tor, testing my rock climbing skills! To reach the track we needed just to realise one running adjacent to us the whole time. This large tor continued, through a gap clearly quarried to make way for this track. What a sight at SX 5349 6381 with much-welcomed respite.

Hard going up Dewerstone West
Hard going up Dewerstone West

Dewerstone West
Dewerstone West

Dewerstone West
Dewerstone West

We passed a cottage and some other sites along this contouring path. Goodmeavy Bridge at the end marked our return, psychologically, heading back to the car.

Dewerstone West Paul Buck (right) and Max Piper (nearest camera) admiring the rocks SX 5349 6381
Me and Paul Buck admiring Dewerstone West. Pic by Tim Jenkinson.

Dewerstone West (upper north)
Admiring Dewerstone West

Goodmeavy Bridge
Goodameavy Bridge

Tim Jenkinson clearing the wall
Tim Jenkinson clearing the wall

What is now visible, near Goodameavy Bridge
What is now visible, near Goodameavy Bridge

The cycle track that we took felt like a highway, having to dive into the verges to make way for cyclists. I blame myself for leading us into the Shaugh Tunnel, a scary sight given the lack of light afforded. Just to realise we had to then go back through it to continue the walk didn't feel great.

In Shaugh (Leighbeer) Tunnel
In Shaugh (Leighbeer) Tunnel

(Although the next section lies on private land we saw no signs indicating access wasn't permitted.)

We crossed Drake's Leat, in search for another one of Peter's finds. Unfortunately, there were little results overall until we delved deeper into Knowle Wood, leaving the river to discover an impressive valley side tor, dubbed Knowle Wood Tor at SX 5339 6413.

Mushroom on a tree, Knowle Wood
Mushroom on a tree, Knowle Wood

Both caught in the act on Knowle Wood Tor
Both caught in the act on Knowle Wood Tor

Moss on Knowle Wood Tor
Moss on Knowle Wood Tor

Knowle Wood Tor
Knowle Wood Tor

Lunch break commenced, afterwards having to contemplate a way of reaching the access land across the other bank of the River Meavy. We took a riverside track looking for a place to wade across but Tim noticed a rock pile to our right.

Glad he did as this turned out to be my favourite outcrop of this blog post; 'Grenoven Stack' is a large tower of granite dwarfing the onlooker at SX 5339 6395.

Grenoven Stack
Grenoven Stack

Grenoven Stack
Grenoven Stack

Grenoven Stack
Grenoven Stack

Tim Jenkinson and Paul Buck at Grenoven Stack
Tim Jenkinson and Paul Buck at Grenoven Stack

Retracing back to the river, I was the last to cross it, apprehensive that I might fall in, as per usual for a clumsy person. I do feel that Paul and Tim were waiting for that moment, and I can't blame them. What a shame it didn't happen!

Paul Buck crossing the Meavy
Paul Buck crossing the Meavy

Meavy Crossing Max Piper
Me crossing the Meavy. Pic by Tim Jenkinson.

Back onto access land. In Part 2, we discover more granite on West Down, more distractions to keep our minds buzzing with excitement, and the stress of documenting it all!