Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Dartmoor: William Crossing's 'Holwell Rocks'

Holwell Rocks

Eric Hemery: "..from where it drops north-eastward into the border-country, is visible from Holwell Rocks (approx. 1,275 feet), a small though interesting tor of two piles on Holwell Down.. The east pile, known locally as 'Big Rock', is a huge cohesive mass; on its north side is a very large, isolated boulder." 

Holwell Rocks

A look at my current bagged tors around the Bonehill Down area only one was missing, and I'd admit it was a slightly embarrassing one, given how easy it is to access. I've passed it many times before without a single thought in mind. Time to remedy that!

Big Rock

William Crossing is the first to mention this splendid tor of two main outcrops at the summit of Holwell Down, at SX 7391 7769. The way I accessed them is from the Emsworthy Mire side, through an open wall where the must've once been a gate. A sign warns of a bull, but that feels unlikely to me.

Holwell Rocks massive logan stone

Holwell Rocks

If you approach from this side, then you will first notice a boulder on your left, with what Eric Hemery has later called 'Big Rock' on your right. This outcrop is surrounded by a fence with grass atop; I can only speculate the reason why is to prevent cattle from using it as a scratching post?

Fence around Big Rock

Nearby, the summit of Holwell Rocks is much more interesting, especially if you round the whole outcrop to reveal a different perspective from below. Hemery also mentions an unrecorded logan stone on the western pile, possibly being the summit rock. It looks precarious, to say the least.

Holwell Rocks

Holwell Rocks

Holwell Rocks

Holwell Rocks

The longer I spent at the tor the more I warmed to it. Not only are the outcrops interesting but also the views capture my soul. Even with the road close by, I could spend all day up there, with Hound Tor and Haytor Rocks dominating the views, with most of the lesser known tors and rocks in the area.

Holwell Rocks

Holwell Rocks

Holwell Rocks

There is also what I thought to be a rock basin, albeit very shallow if it qualifies. I did one last look around the summit pile, then retraced my steps back to Big Rock but still no bull in sight! I will mention though that I have seen cattle in the field the summit resides in before, but not recently.

Holwell Rocks

The shallowest rock basin I've seen

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