Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Shaptor Wood - Part 2: Rock Copse from Lower Shaptor

Bowden Tor and 'The Overhang'

Continuing our exploration of Shaptor Wood we return to the T Junction, leaving Northcombe Copse behind. Here you should turn right to head deeper into the woodland. Not long after this, a small track heads off left, clearly used by the bouldering community as a way to ascend and access 'Lower Shaptor' at SX 8091 8061.

Lower Shaptor (Lower Shap Tor)


To see its best angle, I clambered over a low, broken wall above the lower rocks to stumble down the tor's other side, in a small clearing. Quite impressive you should be careful as I slipped over here!

Lower Shaptor - west side

Lower Shaptor - west side

Lower Shaptor

Lower Shaptor

Sonny Copse (Sunny Copse)


Contouring the woodland, in an easterly, you will eventually drop down to the highest outcrops of 'Sonny Copse Tor' (SX 8103 8060). This large granite tor covers a large area in a north-east to south-west direction, its lowest rocks back at the 'wood path'.

Sonny Copse Tor upper

Sonny Copse Tor upper

Sonny Copse Tor

Sonny Copse Tor

Sonny Copse Tor

Sonny Copse Tor

Pixey Copse (Pixey Close)


Back on the wood path, still heading eastward, it is not long until you enter Pixey Copse and the tor of the same name (SX 8104 8041). Some maps of the wood mark it as 'Pixey Close' but others mark it as copse; the same said for Sonny Copse being spelt 'Sunny'. There's a distinctive face watching you as you approach from the east; exploring the tor's lower levels reveals a large rock face hidden from above.

Pixey Copse Tor

Pixey Copse Tor

Pixey Copse Tor grumpy face

Pixey Copse Tor

Bluebells at Pixey Copse Tor

Aller Down Copse


After leaving the path to descend, passing Pixey's lower outcrops, we cross a small stream and head in a southerly, keeping near the edge of the wood, backed onto fields. Just above this, at SX 8104 8022, there is a fine stack of isolated granite. Nowhere near any of the other tors and within Aller Down Copse, I have dubbed it just that.

Cloaked by ivy and other creeping plants, it is quite hard to get an idea of its scale, but it is a fine outcrop and I'm pleased to be able to document it. There is another outlying pile at SX 8110 8024, but is of little distinction, sited beside another mossy wall, which I crossed.

Aller Down Copse Tor

Aller Down Copse Tor

Aller Down Copse Tor

Aller Down Copse Tor

Stonelands North Tor


Now we continue east, passing over several tracks that seem to lead to fields, despite there being little evidence of them from the 'wood path' above. Descending a little, we enter Private Land, despite this woodland being inter-connected. As usual, no signs warn people of this and you can walk freely around this area.

On the steep, vertical drop of the woodland is a spectacular cliff, resembling a giant stone lizard, called 'Stonelands North Tor' at SX 8128 8017. Although magnificent the area should be walked with care.

Stonelands North Tor

Stonelands North Tor

Stonelands North Tor giant lizard

Stonelands North Tor strange summit feature

The Central Section


Heading north, to a wall which now indicates you're back on Open Access Land, you reach a small outcrop nestled behind a clump of trees. Its isolation from any other outcrop has given it the name of 'Stonelands Stack' courtesy of Paul Buck and Tim Jenkinson on their visit to the area in March 2019 (an update)SX 81269 80283.

Old track beside Stonelands Stack (top right), on the parish boundaries of Hennock and Bovey Tracey.

Stonelands Stack

Stonelands Stack

Then, a little to the east, at SX 8135 8030, there is another small tor, dubbed 'Lower Stonelands Linhay Tor' by Paul and Tim. The name comes from the linhay building nearby, which has a pit beside it, both of which are fenced off. En route, you will pass a large boulder, crouching.

A crouching boulder near Lower Stonelands Linhay Tor

Lower Stonelands Linhay

Lower Stonelands Linhay

Lower outcrops of Lower Stonelands Linhay Tor

Lower Stonelands Linhay Tor

Lower Stonelands Linhay Tor

Heading north you will come to the 'wood path'; head west for a short while until a small, faint path heads off right towards an obvious tor. This one is dubbed 'Rooks Hole Tor', a name which comes from the Tithe Map of the Parish of Bovey Tracey. It is a massive tor, with several large outcrops extending above the main section.

Rooks Hole Tor

Rooks Hole Tor

Rooks Hole Tor upper

Rooks Hole Tor

Rooks Hole Tor

Rooks Hole Tor xenolith on whale rock

Rock Copse Tor

Next up is the tor in Rock Copse, westward, reached by taking a tiny path that is easy to miss. A magnificent tor of three gigantic 22ft outcrops intimidating the onlooker, this tor requires a bit more effort to reach, but is well worth it.

Rock Copse Tor

Rock Copse Tor

Rock Copse Tor

Rock Copse Tor

Bowden Tor


The last tor I'm going to describe is perhaps the best of them all, well at least for this particular post. 'Bowden Tor' is unlike other tors in this woodland, as where the tor resides the area is directly connected to the field, and the visitor can easily stray off the bridleway from the stile at the road. A 3-minute walk can be achieved from the small layby nearby that can fit around 3 cars.

Ponies sometimes come into the woodland here, as well as in the field. From the south tor in Rock Copse, ascend through the middle gap and over a wall where, on your right, she can be admired. An absolutely magnificent tor, with an 'Overhang', its backside features a tall granite wall tor; outliers stretch up into the field. Spend some time here. A great find by Tim Jenkinson.

Spend some more time here, and make the effort to reach the small vantage point on the southerly outcrop.

Bowden Tor

Bowden Tor southern top. View to Haytor.

Bowden Tor

Exploring Bowden Tor.

Bowden Tor. Under 'The Overhang'.

Bowden Tor

In Part 3, we will explore the southernmost tors in Shaptor Wood, Stonelands Waste, and head into Bearacleave Wood, south of Little John's Walk. Now, reluctantly leave Bowden Tor and make for the stile.