WHITE TOR, ROOS TOR AND OTHER LANDMARKS IN THE AREA
START POINT GRID REF: 531 752

Pork Hill Car Park is a favourite starting point for many walks and once again it was the meeting point for the walk of 8 to 9 miles offered by Norman Chynoweth on Sunday 2nd July 2000.

The walk took us to or close by some 8 Tors of which by far the biggest and the highest was White Tor at 470 metres. The forecast for the day was some showers during the morning and heavy and more prolonged showers during the afternoon. This did not deter the 27 ramblers who gathered at the car park for the start.

 map here
An outline of the circular route we took from Pork Hill Car park is shown above. Although we revisited some ground I had covered before, the area leading up to and to the east of White Tor was completely new to me and I looked forward to seeing just what was at the top of White Tor as well as in the firing range we would be entering to the east of the Tor.

To gain a better impression of the route we took, the outline shown above should be related to the 1:25000 ordnance survey map of the area. The outdoor leisure map no 28 of Dartmoor is the best one to use.

Just before the start one of our group noticed a nail protruding from his front tyre. He decided to change the wheel then and there.

As the picture shows he was given serious encouragement from several of the ramblers, all very keen to assist him in whatever way they could. Despite the barracking the wheel was changed very efficiently and quickly and the start of the walk was not held up in the least.

After a briefing by Norman we set off across the road from the car park and headed off north west as we followed the contours clockwise around Cox Tor.

Model aircraft enthusiasts were clearly in evidence up on Cox Tor and there were several gliders riding the updrafts on the south western side of the Tor.

We followed the contours around the Tor for about a mile before we swung off to our right through a gate and headed downhill slightly towards our morning coffee stop at Great Combe Tor which is located just above Tavy Cleave.

From the top of the Tor there are excellent views down the cleave and to the valley to the village of Peter Tavy down the valley to our left.

 

After lunch we zig zagged our way down the cleave with a certain difficulty. Apparently even in the winter, the path is difficult to follow and with all the summer growth at times there were no discernable signs of a path at all.

We finally found our way down passing en route what looked to be a very small reservoir. Although there was a sign indicating no swimming, authority has it that the reservoir was built years ago as an outdoor swimming pool for the nearby village of Peter Tavy.

I recall the last time I visited this place there were in fact swimmers there, not on this occasion however, with the summer back to the cool one after a few days of warmth there was no one there apart from ourselves.

An hour or more had elapsed and no rain so far, perhaps the forecasters had once again got it wrong. In fact from time to time there was even some weak sunshine.

Continuing on down the slightly better path than the path higher up the valley we crossed a small brook, Colly Brook by name. No difficult fording this time as there was a well constructed footbridge over the water.

Had we turned left just over the brook the track would have taken us down to Peter Tavy. We turned right through a gate and followed a track north for a couple of hundred yards and emerged onto a narrow country lane, turned right again and headed up the lane towards the moors.

This lane merges in to the Lych Way, a well known trans moor route. We continued to climb for a quarter of a mile and then swung off the Lych Way track and turned right and headed north to take a path up past another Tor on our left hand side, Boulters Tor by name.

In the distance on the horizon we could see White Tor, our destination for lunch. However ours was not to be the direct route to the lunch point. We swung north west and headed downhill and away from White Tor.

Between us and our target Tor was Broadmoor Farm. Norman advised me that he was taking us down and around the farm on our way up to the Tor.

After a couple of hundred yards of downhill to the lower part of the farm we swung around north and then north east and crossed over a small clapper bridge and onto the road leading up to the farm.

After our up and down walk so far the first long climb was on. Before we reached the farm there was a path off to our left sign posted 'to the moors'.  

We followed the path on and through a gate onto the moors and then continued the longish but not steep climb up towards the large expanse of rocks ahead and above known as White Tor.

It began to rain slightly as we approached the first outcrop of rocks and Norman indicated that this point on White Tor is where we would stop for our lunch.

He had decided because of the rocks and rough ground nearer the top not to take us up to the summit of the Tor at 470 metres.

It looked interesting and the map indicated that there were the remains of an iron age hill fort at the top. Joy and I cut our lunch short and took the opportunity to walk the extra 400 yards up to the top to see the remains at first hand.

The extra effort was well worth it and the remains of the stone ramparts were clearly visible as were the remains of two collapsed barrows at the top. They looked like barrows to me. The photograph on the left shows the evidence of the walls and the barrow.

We were soon back with the group and we set off north east walking parallel to the expanse of White Tor along the contours.

We could see the route taken by the Army on this firing range to go up to the Tor to raise the red firing in progress flags when required, no firing most weekends I'm pleased to say.

We continued north east and picked up the Lych Way once again. Before long we could see a standing stone called the Langstone which was apparently used as target practice by the Americans during the second world war and it has the pock marks of bullets to prove it.

From the standing stone we left the Lych Way and swung and round east and then south east as we started our return to the car park.

We skirted a large expanse of marshy looking ground and we could see the fast approaching cloud and rain that can hit Dartmoor very quickly. Soon the rain was pouring down and the Tors were enveloped in cloud.

Before long we were at a stone circle with more evidence of damage to the stones perhaps caused by their location in the middle of an Army firing range.

Although it is indicated on the map as restored, it seems to be that many of the stones are either damaged or down, for whatever reason.

 

Great Mis Tor ahead of us disappeared into cloud and we turned south west and hurried along into the driving rain towards, the fast disappearing into cloud, Roos Tor.

After 20 minutes or so we were at Roos Tor and the rains lightened, the clouds lifted and the views improved once again.

We stopped by Roos Tor for a quick liquid intake before the final mile and a half south west back to the cars at Pork Hill Car park.

 

We walked around the western side of Great Staple Tor rather than up to the apex as we made our way between that and Cox Tor across the valley.

As we descended towards the car park we had one last obstacle to overcome, old tin workings with an associated minor bog to traverse. Various routes were attempted and all were successful and some fifteen minutes later we were back at the start point at just about 3 PM.

The walk had given Jack the opportunity to try out his new GPS and as we arrived back he could he heard counting 10, 9 , 8 as the GPS indicated the distance in metres we were from the waymark he had logged at the start of the walk.

Despite the heavy shower, it had been an interesting walk and although I had walked the area quite a few times recently I still found many places on the walk that were new to me.

Once again Norman had got us around the walk in safety and after thanking him for his efforts we were soon on our way back to Plymouth to remove the soaked clothing and dry out.