From prehistoric stones to boot-worn clapper bridges, Toad Hall Cottages goes outward-bound in search of five of Dartmoor’s most beloved tors…
Haytor (near Bovey Tracey), Dartmoor’s most iconic landmark
On the eastern edge of Dartmoor, Haytor is considered by many to offer one of the most breathtaking views in England.
The name Hay Tor is believed to have its origins in a lost village which once stood on land between the historic market towns of Totnes and Newton Abbot.
Climb the granite steps to enjoy the marvellous panoramic views of Dartmoor, the Exe Valley and beyond.
Evidence of rock quarrying is still visible on the tor’s northern slopes; Haytor granite was used to build London bridge, its last rock quarried in 1919 and used in the construction of the Exeter war memorial.
There are plenty of other tors and walks to discover around the Haytor, most of the terrain is ‘fairly’ level moorland; old sheep tracks through bracken, heather and gorse.
Pub nearby: The Rock Inn, Haytor Vale
Rippon Tor (Near Ashburton), walking through Dartmoor’s ancient past
A long and steady climb awaits all those attempting to reach the ancient summit of Rippon Tor where spectacular views towards Saddle Tor, Low Man and Hay Tor can be appreciated.
Enjoy a stunning circular walk (approx. 3.5 miles) across moorland tracks to neighbouring Pil Tor, Tunhill Rocks and Nutcrackers Logan, discovering ancient stone carvings, boundary stones, medieval ruins and Bronze Age cairns along the way.
I tramp o’er the moors in the fresh morning air,
The breeze in my face, so bracing and rare.
Deep golden gorse amidst heather I saw,
Whilst climbing “up over” high Rippon Tor.
– Violet Francis
Pub nearby: The Rugglestone Inn, Widdicombe-in-the-Moor
Gutter Tor (near Sheepstor), home of the largest prehistoric menhirs on Dartmoor
Enjoy the rugged beauty of South Dartmoor with a ‘yomp’ around Gutter Tor enjoying superb views of the Upper Plym Valley.
Journey past Eastern Tor to discover the prehistoric menhir, the ancient stone row at Drizzlecombe, and the ‘pillow mounds’ and ‘cave kennels’ of Ditsworthy Warren. The ‘going’ is relatively flat along open moorland tracks. Take in the grounds of Ditsworthy Warren House, a location used during the filming of Steven Spielberg’s epic war drama ‘War Horse’. You’ll also be not far from the impressive Burrator Reservoir.
The origins of the name Gutter Tor are uncertain, although there are theories that it was linked to the herd of goats that once grazed there or the gutter or ‘leat’ (watercourse) used by the miners who once worked the tor.
Pub nearby: The Royal Oak, Meavy
Pew Tor (near Princetown), place of myth and legend
Pew Tor is thought to have once been a site for druidry and ritual ceremonies. It also carries a more mystical association and is believed to be the residence of the King of the Piskies; it’s said that on a clear night you can hear them singing and dancing from deep under the ground.
“Grey through the thickening trees, the heights of Pu Tor towered northerly, and round about the land fell by fields and homesteads to the river.” Eden Phillpotts
There are some stunning walks to be had around Pew Tor, some of which follow a rougher moorland trail around neighbouring Vixen Tor and onwards towards the Bullseye Stone and Windy Post Cross.
Legend has it that there used to live a witch on Vixen Tor who would lure travellers off the beaten track and into the sucking mire – so best beware!
Pub nearby: The Dartmoor Inn, Merrivale
Kestor Rock (near Chagford), picking up the Mariners’ Way
Walk among ancient stone circles and cross boot-worn clapper bridges, just some of the landmarks surrounding ‘Kes Tor’.
High up on the moors, the sweeping views from Kes Tor take in Fernworthy Forest, Castle Drogo at the mouth of the Teign Gorge, and beyond towards the wilds of Exmoor.
“Its rocky outcrops survey directly over an ancient landscape of ritual monuments and old stone huts. In previous centuries some early antiquarians believed that the tor was the central focus for druidical ceremonies.” Tim Sandles, Legendary Dartmoor
Follow the Mariners’ Way; an old track once used by sailors travelling from the historic port town of Dartmouth to the old riverside town of Bideford. Past The Longstone (an old boundary marker) and onwards to the Teign-e-ver Bridge, over Walla Brook, and you’ll find the ‘extraordinary’ holed stone, also known as the ‘Tolmen stone’, which has sat for centuries on the banks of the River Teign.
Discover the breathtaking wilds of Dartmoor when you book a Toad Hall Cottage, the ideal base for your walking holidays and outdoor excursions. Many of our Dartmoor Holiday Cottages are dog-friendly, so you can share your ‘yomps’ with your four-legged friends.
Make 2018 your year for adventure and enter the wild with Toad Hall Cottages.