Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Dartmoor: Lustleigh to Holwell Rocks (Part 2)

Lower Foxworthy Tor

Continuing on from Part 1, I head into new territory in Lustleigh Cleave where I would bag some more tors. The path from West Sharpitor was easy to follow and I soon came to the much-anticipated Harton Chest.

It is a large outcrop, but I was hoping that accessing the overhanging ledge would be much easier than it was; it so dangerous I gave it a miss, and I was by myself and I didn't want to do it.

Harton Chest

Harton Chest

Harton Chest

I would soon leave the ridge path to go in search of Raven's Rocks, but before I had a chance I stumbled upon a herd of ponies, two of which wandered over to me presumably looking for food. No chance!

Friendly Ponies

Raven's Rocks were surprisingly easy to find, and what a great tor they form; a modest area of huge boulders and substantial outcrops noted and named as such in James Clapham's book titled 'Dartmoor: A Climbers' Club Guide'.

Raven's Rocks

Raven's Rocks

Raven's Rocks

I was expecting the beeline from here to Raven's Tor to be a nightmare, but in all fairness, it was relatively straightforward, following the contours of the cleave. Raven's Tor's terrain is steep and, even in winter, somewhat overgrown and brackeny (yes, that's a word), and I wish I had made a bit more of an effort to explore it, but I just didn't feel all that safe here on the slopes alone.

Raven's Tor upper outcrop

Raven's Tor upper outcrop

Raven's Tor upper outcrop

Raven's Tor upper outcrop

I now followed one of a few sheep tracks up the hill where I encountered dense gorse between me and my next target: Foxworthy Tor. I persevered, made a u-turn and found a slightly less painful route to the tor which while small is pretty and is crowned with two shallow rock basins.

Foxworthy Tor

Foxworthy Tor rock basin

Foxworthy Tor passing shower - it didn't reach me

Foxworthy Tor looking towards Haytor Rocks and Holwell Tor

Hunter's Tor was next, however, I made a short diversion to the summit of the hill (which is often mistaken to be at the tor) at the hillfort at 326m above sea level.

Historic England describes the remains; "Small multivallate hillforts are rare nationally, most are located in the Welsh Marches and the South West. They are important for understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period. Despite reduction in the heights of the ramparts through stone removal Hunter’s Tor Camp survives well and is a very unusual type of hillfort within the context of Dartmoor. It will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use, development and landscape context."

Hillfort above Hunter's Tor

Hillfort above Hunter's Tor

Hunter's Tor is a fine end to Lustleigh Cleave while it is by no means the grandest tor in the area, it still manages to afford fine views from a picturesque outcrop that is a welcome sight, I bet, after ascending the hill from the north and west.

Hunter's Tor

Hunter's Tor

Hunter's Tor

Hunter's Tor

I was now heavily reliant on my GPS for guiding me to my next tor, not one named on OS maps. I knew that there was a faint track heading due south, dropping off the hill into the woodland, and I found that alright and it was a rather pleasant descent; the difficult part was finding Lower Foxworthy Tor which I was above until I realised I had to round the tor to be below it.

I was quite impressed at the magnitude of this tor and you can read more about it on Tors of Dartmoor.

Lower Foxworthy Tor

Lower Foxworthy Tor

Lower Foxworthy Tor

The descent down to the River Bovey involved me hugging the boundary wall, the western boundary of Foxworthy Farm, passing through a wonderful avenue of daffodils before I had a little slide, almost going arse over tit, before reaching the River and footpath. Finding Horsham Steps was much more difficult than I was expecting as there is no obvious footpath to it, so a bit of off-roading was involved to reach them. 

William Crossing, in his book 'Gems in a Granite Setting', remarks that Horsham Steps are boulders that 'entirely hide the stream', but this was far from the case today... if you had read Part 1 of this walk you would've seen me mention the heavy rainfall in the morning and this was evident in the Bovey's flow.

I spent a few minutes enjoying the dominating roar of the river, taking some photos of the moss and waterfalls before retreating to the footpath.

Horsham Steps

Horsham Steps

Horsham Steps

Horsham Steps

The footpath entered Foxworthy Farm where it soon became the driveway to a dwelling. I enjoyed the level route through this hidden gem, taking in the sights and sounds before reaching Foxworthy Bridge where an outcrop called the 'Round of Beef' is supposed to reside; 'supposed' because it seems to no longer exist, probably as a result of the widening of Foxworthy Bridge post Crossing's exploration of the area.

At the Bridge, I noticed a sizeable outcrop above the Farm which is likely an outlier of Lower Foxworthy Tor.

Foxworthy Farm

Outcrop above Foxworthy Farm

The Round of Beef (site of)

Foxworthy Bridge

Whilst tor bagging is a favourite pastime I am also a Dartmoor 365er, aiming to collect all of John Hayward's points of interest in his book by visiting them on walks; one I hadn't bagged was nearby, Neadon, and with a bit of time on my hands I made a quick dash past the entrance to Neadon Cleave towards the hamlet which consists of a few houses.

There was a lot of Dartefacting going on here, with two troughs, a naked statue, a scorpion and baby clapper bridge to see.

Neadon Granite Trough No.1 SX 75026 82466

Neadon Granite Trough No.2 SX 75030 82476

Neadon Naked Statue SX 75036 82455

Neadon Baby Clapper Bridge just below the statue

Neadon looking back up to the ridge I had just traversed

And that concludes Part 2; in Part 3 I head into even more new territory to bag the remaining tors at in Neadon Cleave and Manaton.

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