Dartmoor Tors & Rocks Map

And favourite tors

Smallacombe Rocks view to Holwell and Top Tors

All photos and descriptions are of my own work unless otherwise stated. Enjoy reading through each tor by just simply clicking or tapping on the desired outcrop. I have visited many more tors than are both pink and purple; the reason why I have omitted them is simply due to the lack of photos for documentation, so I will have to visit again!

Access


Luckily, many tors in the national park are open to the public all year round, but there are some exceptions:

Private Land


This is quite a controversial topic to discuss but I'll give it my best shot. You will notice that quite a few tors are on Private Land; in a case such as this, you must seek permission from the landowner(s) before visiting. Luckily, though, many of these rockpiles can be viewed from Public Land without the need to trespass or require permission. An example where this is the case is Vixen Tor, the most famous forbidden tor on the moor.

Then, on the south-eastern side of the moor, many of the woodland tors on Private Land can be visited outside of the bird nesting season, achieved by obtaining a permit from Fountain Forestry, the owners of the land. An example of where this is the case is North Wood Tor, situated in the greater complex of woods collectively called Buckland Woods.

Lastly, there is a small selection of tors where access is either denied or, more commonly, the outcrop has been left unkempt, with little sign of a landowner looking after it. I do not at all support trespassing, but in rare cases, it is the only option if the tor is to be bagged. If you ever consider doing this, and I wouldn't, then leave no trace, leave everything as you found it, and respect that it's not your land. An example of a tor which unfortunately has this issue is Duel Rock.

I will not be held liable for any damages caused, as this is just a piece of advice as to how difficult tor bagging can get. The rule of the thumb from me is to always try and view the outcrop from Public Land.

Military Training (Live Firing)


Military Training involving Live Firing takes place on Dartmoor frequently and it is up to the individual to check their website (link HERE) to ensure it's safe for you to visit that area, even if you're not tor bagging. There are three ranges: Merrivale, Okehampton and Willsworthy, and each of these ranges' boundaries is shown on OS maps. I wouldn't want you shot!

KEY:

       = Public (bagged)

       = Private (bagged)

       = Public (unbagged)

       = Private (unbagged)

The Tors & Rocks of Dartmoor




My Favourite Tors


I am a very opinionated person if you have not already gathered when reading my posts. So much so in that I feel the need to show off my top ten favourite Dartmoor Tors. Some are well-known, others not so much. For each tor, I will provide four photographs in order to show you my best choices.

1. Steeperton Tor
For me, Steeperton Tor is the best tor on Dartmoor, as it has everything you'd expect of a typical Dartmoor location: great views, outcrops and isolation, as well as accessibility and surrounding interest. It is unlike anywhere else I've been to so far. Eric Hemery says of this lofty peninsula; "..its narrow crest crowned by the rocks of Steeperton Tor (1,747 feet). Although not commensurable in scale with the dramatic hill on which they stand, the rocks possess a certain intrinsic dignity - not matched by a conspicuous military hut. They constitute a cohesive rock-ridge with three main exposures: the southern pile is known as 'Eagle Rock', the centre conceals an OP built into the east side and the smaller, north pile is bedevilled by the hut. Views are impressive, as might be expected from any such landmark on north Dartmoor. Taw Plain with its waterways is laid out, map-like, below, the natural beauty of the wide basin being much enhanced by the steep rise from its verges of majestic hills."

Tim and Paul on Steeperton Tor

Steeperton Tor

Eagle Rock south view
Steeperton Tor outcrops

2. Tunhill Rocks 

A simply magnificent tor can be found in a very popular area of Dartmoor, not too far from the honeypot sites of Haytor, Hound Tor and Widecombe. That said, its appearance really is striking: granite, much of which is streaked with horizontal joints, tumbles down the hill with stunning views over Wind Tor and across to Ryder's Hill; an abandoned trough, at  SX 73141 75829, can be found just below the summit. Each outcrop is unique, some piled on top of each other in such a way as to resemble a manmade castle; other outcrops create massive buttresses lower down the hill above the hamlet of Venton, providing shelter from the elements. All in all a beautiful tor which requires little effort to reach; perhaps the best place to park would be at Hemsworthy Gate with a short stroll over Top and Pil Tors.

Tunhill Rocks summit

Tunhill Rocks lower rock face

Tunhill Rocks trough
Tunhill Rocks lower rock face

3. Watern Tor 

This tor always brings me joy, not just because of the walk in to get there, from whichever direction you take, but rather the outcrops here which are just gorgeous! Watern Tor has, without a doubt in my arrogant opinion, the best horizontal jointing on all of Dartmoor, which makes it all the more distinctive and special. The most northerly outcrop of the collection has a gap between the rocks called "The Thirlstone", a feature crafted by geology and mother nature many millions of years ago. The position of the rocks here, in a line-like fashion, means that you can shelter from any wind direction were you caught out here. From Batworthy Corner, the closest access point, a large boggy plateau prevents an 'as the crow flies' crossing, requiring a detour past Teignhead Farm and Manga Hill (unless you use the Manga Rails). My Ten Tors teammates would always go on at me and say, "This is the worst checkpoint you could get." Well, from Kes Tor, it is quite a detour, to be honest, and if you are only fussed about the route then fair enough. That said, a visit to Watern Tor in any weather will be welcoming.

'The Thirlstone' at Watern Tor

Watern Tor

Watern Tor
'The Thirlstone' at Watern Tor

4. Crow Tor

Crow is a beautiful tor with a commanding position above the West Dart River's tributaries and Wistman's Wood with stunning views. From many directions, it resembles a tank or an old fashioned boat. The location is fairly remote and bleak, which I like, but doesn't require too much effort to reach. Quite often this will be the tor that people miss out on due to it being harder to incorporate into a circuit, thus being quite peaceful. A great little scramble to the summit will enable a good view of the West Dart Valley and the aforementioned wood. Below this, a small canopy possesses superb geology! In addition, the name is cool and this distinctive outcrop perched on the hill must've once been massive, judging by the amount of clitter. It's one of the smaller tors on this list, but in this case size doesn't matter, does it Great Mis? ;-)

Crow Tor distinctive shape

Crow Tor geology under overhang

Crow Tor side view
Crow Tor under the overhang

5. Bellever Tor

The tor in the middle of Dartmoor, otherwise known by the name of Bellever or Bellaford, is absolutely brilliant. Whichever approach you take to the summit you will be rewarded with several stunning outcrops, many containing horizontal joints and far-reaching views. It's a very pleasing Summit Avenue; one side of this is topped by an OS triangulation pillar with a plaque dedicated to the Creber Family. Even the tor's lower outcrops fail to disappoint, and there are ample places to admire the remarkable granite presented here. Bellever is a proper tor and one which any moor enthusiast should get round to visiting, at least once.

Bellever Tor

Bellever Tor trig point and plaque

Bellever Tor
Bellever Tor west view

6. Hucken Tor

When you think of the Walkham Valley, tors which spring to mind include the mighty Great Mis and Staple Tors, and the forbidden Vixen Tor. Yet above all there is a secluded tor in the woodland just south of Merrivale which is a candidate for the best woodland tor on Dartmoor - a personal preference, obviously. It's known for sure, but how many people actually make the effort to explore this stunning set of granite outcrops? For me at least, the four rock basins at SX 5478 7382, the moss and the view of Vixen Tor from the lowest viewpoint create a scene from a fiction book, and add on the many mossy outcrops which just keep giving and what you have here is a fantastic tor, much of it hidden from above.

Hucken Tor

Hucken Tor lower viewpoint

Hucken Tor four rock basins
Hucken Tor

7. Hen Tor
Situated within a really featureless part of the South Moor, one may notice a large, slightly unusual dark, brooding volcano-like protrusion below the ridgeline that is known as Lee Moor. This outcrop is known as Hen Tor and its appearance is quite intimidating to be honest. Approach is not as straightforward, to me, as you may think, having the Plym Valley below as a barrier from parking at Gutter Tor. I reached it from Trowlesworthy Warren over tussock, but it's well worth the effort. Hen Tor consists of a massive granite tor where the summit, when ascending from the east, is easy. Views elseware are great, and the tor's clitter is immense, being one of the densest. At first sight, the tor might assume a messy state, but the longer you stay, the more you admire its spectacular position and scale.

Sheep and Hen Tor

Hen Tor

Hen Tor irregular jointing
Hen Tor

8. Great Links Tor
'The Beast', or 'The Castle'? Great Links Tor is a well-known tor high up in North Dartmoor, having one of the most impressive sets of outcrops which rival some more accessible tors, such as Haytor and Hound Tor. Its stacks are huge and form an avenue near the summit, with a trig point, but unfortunately, the top is not easy to reach, and I haven't done so myself (yet). I enjoy the panoramic views over to West Devon and North Cornwall, and apparently, on a clear day, both coasts can be seen; go south, and you have Three Barrows on the South Moor, with Leather Tor. The tor is, to my knowledge, devoid of rock basins, but provides shelter from any wind direction being so large. You might be wondering why this tor is higher up on my list than Great Mis Tor (which doesn't even make the top 10) - it's because it's not too much, but surely impressive enough by the modest area it covers. It stands out from afar and is a more conspicuous opject on the hill, not blending in like some other tors.

Great Links Tor

Great Links Tor summit

Great Links Tor
Great Links Tor

9. Kes Tor
Ah, Kes Tor, how could I forget you? Known for housing several rock basins, one of which is the largest on Dartmoor, it is a 'good' tor - a compact outcrop on the top of the hill - overlooking much of East Dartmoor. It's just interesting to me and its surroundings are great as well: antiquites on Shovel Down, for example. It's not just rock basins which grab my attention, as its geology (blue granite on the south face and quartz vein) and location (close to the beautiful Fernworthy Forest) are awe-inspiring. I must note that I've frequented this area quite a bit, partly due to the tor being a Ten Tors' checkpoint. I will forever love this spot until I die.

Kes Tor

Kes Tor rock basin

Kes Tor
Kes Tor

10. Middle Tor
Also near Fernworthy Forest and a stone's throw from Kes Tor, Middle Tor to me is underrated. Its appearance is simply breathtaking: horizontally jointed granite everywhere, an overhang in the summit rock (which also contains a rock basin), and splendid views all around. OK, it is not exactly striking but it doesn't need to be. It's not, as the name suggests, in the 'middle' of two better tors; even though Frenchbeer Rock doesn't make my list, it is also a fine outcrop. Middle Tor lies on a decent track which links its neighbours, therefore is well worth a visit just for its accessibility. Next time I visit I will spend longer to view its different angles, given its a very photogenic tor.

Middle Tor shading sheep

Middle Tor rock basin

Middle Tor, Kes Tor left
Middle Tor

Notable mentions: these are tors which would almost certainly appear in my top 20 list, but it would be crazy to go above 10 in my opinion. They are shown below, in no particular order:
  1. Hare Tor (Willsworthy Range)
  2. Fur Tor (Okehampton Range)
  3. Rock Copse Tor
  4. Sharp Tor (Harford)
  5. Conies Down Tor
  6. Great Mis Tor
  7. Sharp Tor (Yartor Down)
  8. West Mill Tor
  9. Fox Tor (Fox Tor Mires)
  10. Wray Barton Tor

Least Favourite Tors


I don't really have a 'least favourite' tor, but some which I particularly dislike are: Ashbury Tor, Sampford Tor, East Mill Tor, Penn Beacon Rocks, Cosdon Beacon Rocks, Black Rock, Vale Down Rocks, Coffin Stone, Cox Tor and Three Barrows Tor.