Sunday, 3 March 2019

The Tors and Rocks in Teign Gorge (Part 1)

Sharp Tor inversion
Sharp Tor inversion

Paul Buck, Tim Jenkinson and I were all set for a decent length walk to Broad Falls last Saturday (when I write this), but as usual, it was all down to the weather, as I regularly start these posts off with. Not to be defeated we set off from Castle Drogo, a massive mansion style castle currently going under conservation work, in search of many tors, rocks and crags.

It was a misty drive all the way there, in Tim's car, coming in and out of the mist at Moretonhampstead. It was set to be like this all day, but thankfully this changed, only half an hour after the three of us set off proper to Sharp Tor. 

What we were met with was what I could only describe as amazing, spectacular, and any other superlatives with similar meaning. A massive cloud of mist saw itself creeping through the deep gorge, moving at quite a pace. You could only just see the tip of Hunter's Tor, where we visited later, in Part 2.

Hunter's Tor
Hunter's Tor

The path took us directly to Sharp Tor, a massive set of two major crags of non-granite rock, plunging deep down all the way to the Teign River. We struck gold standing atop this eminence, and it felt a lot like Switzerland, or anywhere else but England.

Sharp Tor inversion
Sharp Tor inversion

Sharp Tor inversion
Sharp Tor inversion and Tim Jenkinson

Sharp Tor inversion
Sharp Tor inversion

Continuing along the easy-level path towards Fingle Bridge, things didn't change, other than me declaring that this was already my favourite walk of 2019. True, and Paul will confirm this, I did say that 5 minutes in, but this was the definite truth! 

As I write this, my opinion hasn't changed either. 

En route, we passed a bench, saying; "You've done your best. Have a rest." I wish!

Teign Gorge inversion
Teign Gorge inversion

Bench near Sharp Tor
Bench near Sharp Tor

Teign Gorge inversion
Teign Gorge inversion

Teign Gorge inversion
Teign Gorge inversion

The path eventually drops down into the mystical and somewhat brooding Drewston Wood. This wood really captivates one's attention; tall, black trees; a never-ending path that prevents you from falling down the steep hillside; and, on our visit, mist wrapping itself around every trunk, all of which was in complete and utter silence.

Drewston Wood inversion
Drewston Wood inversion

Drewston Wood inversion
Drewston Wood inversion

Fingle Bridge
Fingle Bridge

Back to civilisation and most importantly light at Fingle Bridge, we crossed the river onto its other bank, where I took a brief toilet stop in the convenient public toilets. A bit of a shame to see, only one toilet is functioning all year round; the other two are open only in Summer.

The mist had already lifted from the valley and we were able to get some views of the great hill known as Prestonbury Common with its hillfort atop. But what this hill is not so famous for, but what gained our immediate attention, is its modest tor. (SX 7462 8993)

"Prestonbury Common Tor" is a prominent outcrop of non-granite rock situated near the top of the hill with several crags below it. The hill, fort and tor all lie on Private Land, but the hill would be too steep to enjoy anyway at close quarters. Visit in Winter like we did and you should get some OK views from below.

Prestonbury Common Tor
Prestonbury Common Tor

Prestonbury Common Tor
Prestonbury Common Tor

Prestonbury Common Tor
Prestonbury Common Tor

Prestonbury Common Tor
Prestonbury Common Tor

Broadmoor Common (west) was next, consisting of a large crag which is, yet again, not of granite, like all of the tors in this particular post. (SX 754 899)

Broadmoor Common (west)
Broadmoor Common (west)

Broadmoor Common (west)
Broadmoor Common (west)

Broadmoor Common (west)
Broadmoor Common (west)

The sun is peeking through
The sun is peeking through

Butterdon Ball Wood Tor is on your right, and on Public Land. Another interesting collection of crags lining the uneven, loose slopes of the wood of the same name, I would not recommend leaving the track below. (SX 757 896)

Sunlight in Hore Wood
Sunlight in Hore Wood

Butterdon Ball Wood Tor
Butterdon Ball Wood Tor

Butterdon Ball Wood Tor
Butterdon Ball Wood Tor

Butterdon Ball Wood Tor
Butterdon Ball Wood Tor

Looking back on our left we could see another set of crags, some of the largest of the day, known as Broadmoor Common (east). The area is shown on Tithe Maps as Upperton Tor. The main crag stretches from the very top of the hill right down to the river's edge on a large bend. (SX 761 899)
Broadmoor Common (east)
Broadmoor Common (east)
Teign below Broadmoor Common (east)
Teign below Broadmoor Common (east)
Broadmoor Common (east)
Broadmoor Common (east)

As we also bear right as we follow the riverside footpath, we noticed the massive crag of Seaman's Borough Rocks towering above us. I don't need to keep saying this but all of these rocks are not granite. (SX 763 899)

Seaman's Borough Rocks
Seaman's Borough Rocks

Seaman's Borough Rocks
Seaman's Borough Rocks

Seaman's Borough Rocks
Seaman's Borough Rocks

Just after these rocks a rough track forks right up the steep hill, meandering as it does to the gate which enters Wooston Hillfort. We were hot and sweaty now, and had to take off a layer or two and have a much-needed drink and refreshment.

Wooston Hillfort
Wooston Hillfort

Wooston Hillfort
Wooston Hillfort

Wooston Hillfort
Wooston Hillfort

As we exited we passed a plaque, dedicated to Jim Jackson. Join me in Part 2 where we find many more tors, rocks and crags within the western confinements of the gorge towards Dogmarsh Bridge.

Plaque at Wooston Hillfort
Plaque at Wooston Hillfort

Plaque at Wooston Hillfort
Plaque at Wooston Hillfort