Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Tors and Rocks out of Norsworthy Bridge

Narrow Tor 

Ever since last visiting Sheeps Tor (not documented), I have wanted to revisit the Burrator area. It's a stunning part of Dartmoor which is more dramatic than other areas of The Moor. Add on the fact that when I was last at Rough Tor I missed the rock basin; link HERE, a walk here had to be done.

We parked up at the extremely busy Norsworthy Bridge, taking the track up to Deancombe. When the field boundaries departed on our left we saw Middleworth Tor, a beautiful tor with extraordinary views of the Leather Tors. There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not this is Snappers Tor, as the next tor above this one is so often a contender for Middleworth Tor instead.

Pony by Middleworth Tor

Middleworth Tor

Middleworth Tor

Middleworth Tor

Leather Tor from Middleworth Tor

Snappers Tor is a bit further up the hill, and another good tor. This is the lowest tor on the ridge where Burrator Reservoir is seen, backdropped by Narrow Tor on the left.

Snappers Tor

Snappers Tor

Snappers Tor

Little Down Tor was next, affording an even better view of the reservoir and surrounding area.

Little Down Tor

Little Down Tor

Little Down Tor

Little Down Tor

Little Down Tor

Down Tor is not too far away, and is deceptively larger than I was expecting it to be. It consists of several large boulder-like outcrops. The views from the top are great and I can see why it's a favourite among many tor baggers.

Down Tor

Down Tor

Down Tor

Down Tor

Down Tor

We could see Hingston Hill Tor below the summit of the hill, but wanted to have a quick look at the Stone Row. Glad we did as it is fantastic.

Hingston Hill stone row

Hingston Hill stone row

Hingston Hill Tor

Hingston Hill Tor

Hingston Hill Tor

Combshead Tor is a stunning tor, and only a stone's throw from Hingston Hill. I was surprised by its impressive size and stature. It isn't the most prominent of summits like, let's say, Sheeps Tor, but it offers great views from its top.

Combshead Tor

Combshead Tor rock monster

Combshead Tor

Combshead Tor heart rock

From here, Cuckoo Rock is not visible and your attention is, quite rightly, drawn to the mountainous Narrow Tor, with Sheeps Tor behind on the left. Dropping down a bit further the Rock appears.

Cuckoo Rock

Cuckoo Rock

Cuckoo Rock, Down Tor behind

A path heads eastward towards the ford over Combshead (before becoming Narrator) Brook with its confluence with Deancombe Borok. Some interesting rocks lie above it, a small tor in my opinion, that I spotted ages ago on Google Satellite Imagery. Whilst not everything you see on it is as good as it is in real life, this was not the case with what I have dubbed "Deancombe Rocks" for its position above the farm and brook. (SX 5858 6841)

I am surprised that, from my research, Crossing nor Hemery mention the rocks here, but with so many other large tors dominating the scene such as Down Tor and Narrow Tor it's understandable.

It is a lovely spot to have a picnic, above the two brooks, with good views of the Deancombe Valley.

Deancombe Rocks

Deancombe Rocks

Deancombe Rocks view to Down Tor and Cuckoo Rock

Deancombe Rocks

About halfway through our walk, we crossed Deancombe Brook and began looking for Click Tor (Outcombe Rocks). I spotted the lowly tor, ahead, at the top of the small woodland. Now, all we needed to do was find a way in, as it is bounded by a barbed wire fence. We were at the top of the woodland, as the track enters the moor, but we had to descend back down to hill to reach the tor. 

It's a disappointing tor, and difficult to take a photo of. However, in winter, it is a nice spot to chill, and the whole area is beautiful.

Click Tor

Click Tor
 
Click Tor

Click Tor

There is a gate to the west of here which is the way I exited, making for the stile into the Roughtor Plantation. There was no signal on my GPS to show us the way to Rough Tor, but I luckily remember, on my last visit with Paul Buck, the route we took.

I am grateful that my photographic memory is good as we unexpectedly stumbled upon East Rough Tor, a small outcrop that I like. This was the first revisit of the day.

East Rough Tor

East Rough Tor

East Rough Tor

The temptation was to go further into the woods but I resisted, remembering the route to the actual Rough Tor (Burrator). This tor is an easy find, as it lies at the top of the plantation.

The rock basin is what we came to see, an excellent one it is too. I'm glad Mum and I made the decision (well, it was me really) to divert off route to visit. It makes this tiny tor well worth visiting. 

Even Eric Hemery makes a comment; "The summit rock has a well-formed basin, sixteen inches in diameter, five inches in depth, and with a distinct lip; two smaller basins in a lower rock show by their angle that the rock has tilted."

Rough Tor Pan

Rough Tor

Rough Tor

Rough Tor

Getting back to the edge of the plantation was easy, but it felt like forever until we reached the field gate on its south-western side which gets you back onto the moor, directly below Narrow Tor.

I really enjoyed scrambling up the tor, the several boulders sprawled all over this steep hillside making it feel like a clitter field. But it is a clitter field I can deal with, Leather Tor and its lower cousin distracting us from making a quick ascent.

Ascending Narrow Tor

The tor is massive, with several scattered outcrops, the northernmost summit of the hill being rather flat, the lower western outcrop appearing with sharp and narrow openings, likely the origin of the name. Indeed, Narrator Farm is below, another possibility. This is a separate tor in its own right away from Sheeps Tor. This is proved by how quiet this spot is.

View from Narrow Tor

Narrow Tor

Narrow Tor

Narrow Tor

Up on the high hill the much more popular and well-known tor called Sheeps Tor. I really liked revisiting this one, its view of Burrator Reservoir magnificent.

As expected, the tor's south face was being climbed, even this late in the afternoon. There is a small car park just south of here, which probably explains why.

Sheeps Tor

Sheeps Tor

Sheeps Tor

Sheeps Tor

Sheeps Tor

Next up, the modest Maiden Tor. In fact, it isn't really modest, for this tor is actually quite substantial, creeping down the hillside. The summit has a couple of neat rock basins, the lower rock featuring a small cave.

Sheeps Tor

Maiden Tor

Maiden Tor rock basin

Maiden Tor

Maiden Tor

Maiden Tor

We cut across right, heading towards the bridlepath that contours below Narrow Tor back to the road on the western side of Roughtor Plantation. It was here that the sun made its first appearance, the low light beautifully brightening up the mossy trees.

Path beside Narrator Plantation

Narrator Plantation

Peek Hill Tor, Lowery Tor, Sharpitor, Leather Tor, Lower Leather Tor

Narrator Plantation

Back on the road, round a couple of gentle bends, we were back in proper civilisation. I really enjoyed this walk, and whilst its 6 and a half mile length is moderate there is tonnes to see and there are a couple of steepish climbs to negotiate. Always fun.