Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Dartmoor: The Tors out of Lane End

Tavy Cleave

I had been looking forward to this walk for ages given how many photographs I have seen of the tors above the Cleave, and now I finally got to see it for myself!

I am writing this after an article was published in Dartmoor Magazine (Issue 134) about the tors in this area by my good friend, Tim Jenkinson - but if you don't have access to this then check out the Tors of Dartmoor database.

It's a long drive to Lane End for us, the last stretch of which is inevitably through narrow, windy country lanes until you reach the end of the 'lane' - hence 'Lane End'! The end is at a rather small car park and we were lucky to grab a space. I decided it would be best to do the furthest tors first as it was clearly (or not!) going to be a murky day.

We headed north, crossing 'Mine Leat' on a path to Ger Tor, but when we neared the wall to our left we made for it, over rough ground, where the magnificent Hare Tor stood proudly. But we weren't going there first as, to the left of it, we spied Little Hare Tor, and to reach it we took a beeline away from the wall passing a fenced-off enclosure to make for the westernmost pile.

Little Hare Tor frost-parted rock perhaps?

Little Hare Tor west outcrop

Further up the hill, more granite appeared and it was becoming evident as to how extensive this tor really was despite not being marked on OS maps.

Little Hare Tor east outcrop

Little Hare Tor east outcrop, Hare Tor behind

Little Hare Tor east outcrop, Gibbet Hill distant left

It was a fairly straightforward ascent up to Hare Tor, avoiding some ponies to summit the 'mini volcano' on its north-west shoulder. I can see why it along with the summit mass is described as being the 'Dartmoor Volcano'!

Hare Tor

Hare Tor

Hare Tor upright rock
Hare Tor Family Selfie

We saw a large cloud heading towards that we knew was going to put visibility down to a minimum, and sure enough, that's exactly what happened. We sheltered on the tor's eastern side to have lunch before taking a beeline to Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (lower).

It is a vegetation-covered rockpile with fantastic views of the Cleave where the clag lifted.

Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (lower)

Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (lower)

Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (lower)

Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (lower)

Then, on to the higher tor, another fine outcrop.

Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (higher)

Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (higher)

Tavy Cleave North-East Tor (higher)

Following the crest of the hill, we came to Tavy Cleave North Tor, a large rockpile which is sometimes lumped together with nearby Sharp Tor.

Tavy Cleave North Tor, Sharp Tor left

Tavy Cleave North Tor

Tavy Cleave North Tor

Tavy Cleave North Tor

And, of course, the beast of them all, Sharp Tor.

Sharp Tor

Sharp Tor


Sharp Tor view of North-East Tors

Sharp Tor

Sharp Tor and North-East Tor (lower)

The most disappointing tor was the next one, dubbed 'South Tor' for obvious reasons. It's a heavily broken, ending the range of impressive tors which are collectively known as the 'Tavy Cleave Tors'.

Tavy Cleave South Tor

Tavy Cleave South Tor

Tavy Cleave South Tor

Tavy Cleave South Tor

We contoured the hillside to reach the magnificent Ger Tor, a large tor which from several angles resembles a large nipple. It is also known as the 'Sentinel of the Cleave' due to its position dominating the river at this particular stretch.

Ger Tor

Ger Tor

Ger Tor flagpole

Ger Tor view to Fur Tor

Ger Tor
Ger Tor

It was tempting to head back to the car now as there was a well-worn path right to it, however, there was still one tor left and an unfortunately very easily overlooked one. 'Nat Tor' may be rather flat and lowly in comparison to the giants surrounding it, but view it from the south side to appreciate it fully. There are some interesting outcrops here, all with good horizontal jointing and it feels quite secluded.

Nat Tor

Nat Tor

Nat Tor

Nat Tor

It was a simple stroll back to the car now, crossing Mine Leat on a granite clapper bridge or 'footbridge' if you're being pedantic! Back at the car, we decided to have a small meal in The Elephant's Nest, a grand pub located in the small hamlet of Horndon which we passed on the way here. We were very impressed with the food and I can comfortably say that this was one of my favourite family walks; the foul weather forecast wasn't too bad after all!

The Elephant's Nest

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