Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Tors and Rocks around Barn Hill

Roos Tor rock basin, with another behind atop the logan stone.

This is a very good tor bagging area; this route alone contains 12 bags, 13 if you include the forbidden Vixen Tor. If you include Pew Tor and Smeardon Down it could reach 25, or even 30.

Parking at Pork Hill, Lower Cox Tor was first; a fine ridge of non-granite rock first described by Tim Jenkinson. (SX 5275 7583)

Lower Cox Tor

Lower Cox Tor

Lower Cox Tor

Lower Cox Tor

Then, Little Cox Tor, commanding great views of West Devon and across to Brent Tor. Like Lower Cox Tor, gorse clings onto the rocks.

Little Cox Tor

Little Cox Tor

Little Cox Tor

Little Cox Tor

Cox Tor is a difficult tor to pin-point as the outcrops are so spread out on Coxtor Hill. The summit outcrop is tiny and adorned by a large cairn and OS trig point. There are many scattered outcrops to the south, west and even far north.

Cox Tor

Cox Tor

Cox Tor

Cox Tor trig point

Cox Tor

We dropped down to Beckamoor Dip, marked by a small tarn. This marks the boundary of granite and metamorphic rock. We went in search of Picket Rock, a boundary stone, but a natural boulder, situated at SX 5409 7595. It marks the boundary, with other stones in the area, between the parishes of Peter Tavy and Whitchurch in West Devon. The rock is inscribed on two sides with a 'P' and a 'W' to represent this.

Picket Rock

Picket Rock

Picket Rock 'W'

Picket Rock 'P'

Roos Tor is a short distance away. This is a very good tor, and perhaps the best of the walk. So many people head up to Great Staple Tor for photography, which means this tor is usually quiet despite it being easy to get to.

Roos Tor

Roos Tor

Roos Tor

Roos Tor

Instead of heading to Great Staple Tor next, we descended north-east to Little Roos Tor, a ruinous outcrop.

Little Roos Tor

Little Roos Tor

Little Roos Tor

Little Roos Tor

Great Staple Tor is a fantastic tor, consisting of two impressive towers of granite forming an avenue against the several other large outcrops here. But I do think it is over photographed, which detracts from the satisfaction of the bag.

Great Staple Tor

Great Staple Tor

Great Staple Tor

Great Staple Tor wobbly stacks

Great Staple Tor

Great Staple Tor

Next up, Middle Staple Tor. This tor is one large outcrop, bulky in appearance, and offers the same good views that its "Great" neighbour provides.

Middle Staple Tor

Middle Staple Tor

Middle Staple Tor

Middle Staple Tor

Little Staple Tor, lower down, is my favourite of the three Staple's, purely because of its fabulous underrated rock basin. Tim Jenkinson measured the size to be at 77cm x 64cm, the depth at 10cm.

Little Staple Tor

Little Staple Tor rock basin

Little Staple Tor rock basin

Little Staple Tor

Aiming to cross the B3357 road we were distracted by some ponies, one of which followed us for a couple hundred metres.

Time to wake up!

Pony below Little Staple Tor

The path to Saddle Rock was quite boggy, a surprise given how dry it has been recently. The Rock itself is disappointing and its only element of significance is the 'SB' engraved into it. 

This is also as close as you can get to see Vixen Tor, from Public Land. There is a small outlying tor dissected by the 'wall' here, which technically means you can bag Vixen Tor without trespassing, however, it is not the same.

Forbidden Vixen Tor

Saddle Rock 'SB'

Saddle Rock

Saddle Rock

We had to hop across two minor streams while trying to get to Feather Tor. I like this tor, it is small but fine in its appearance and location. It has very good views.

Feather Tor

Feather Tor

Feather Tor

Feather Tor

I was keen to see Windy Post Cross, just north of here, beside the Grimstone and Sortridge Leat. Not to my surprise, there was already someone there taking some shots of it.

Windy Post (Beckamoor) Cross

Barn Hill Rocks sit atop Barn Hill (funnily enough), but the best of the outcrops lies to the east of the summit.

Barn Hill Rocks

Barn Hill Rocks

Barn Hill Rocks

Barn Hill Rocks top

One more tor to go, stay with me! I realise that this is quite a long post as it is, but there's just so much to describe and show; I haven't even gone into detail.

Westward, is Prowtytown Rocks, a beautiful end to a good walk. Eric Hemery, in High Dartmoor; "Above all rises the border-rock tor known as Prowtytown Rocks (1,000 feet), representing the final, lowly bastion of the Tavy country's east upper valley side.."

Prowtytown Rocks

Prowtytown Rocks

Prowtytown Rocks

Prowtytown Rocks

Prowtytown Rocks

Prowtytown Rocks

Back at Pork Hill car park, there was a Willy's Ice Cream van. Yet again I didn't have one, sorry Matthew King. Instead, we drove to the Fox Tor Cafe in Princetown for a late lunch.