By: Blonde Two
At the end of our talk at the National Trust South West Outdoor Festival we Blondes asked the ‘any questions’ question. We did this with confidence because we had a few friends in the audience who we knew would step in to cover any embarrassing silences. As it turned out, there were no silences and plenty of questions. One that made me laugh because B1 and I both gave the same answer (Blonde telepathy) was, ‘Which is your favourite Dartmoor tor?’ as we struggled to narrow it down I thought this would make a great Tuesday’s Ten. So here you have it, B2’s favourite Dartmoor Ten Tors (do you like what I did there?!?)
Dartmoor Tor 1 – Haytor
I am going to put Haytor first because it is often overlooked by ‘serious’ Dartmoor walkers. Too near the road and too much of a tourist honey pot, this gentle giant is often considered too soft or too busy to be of interest. In truth however, Haytor and its surrounding area offer some great exploration opportunities, all kinds of interesting history and the most amazing views if you are brave enough (as most 5-year olds appear to be) to climb to the top.
Dartmoor Tor 2 – Brat Tor
This was the answer that both B1 and I gave to the question and I think this is because together we have had the most amazing and the most difficult of times camping in its shadow. Once you have ascended Brat Tor and admired Widgery’s Cross you can turn around and gaze out over the wilderness of the high north moor. It is always tempting to keep on walking and we would recommend this… is you have a map and compass with you!
Dartmoor Tor 3 – Hound Tor
You would be forgiven for your confusion here (and the mistake has been made by satnav before now) but I am not talking about the Hound Tor near to Widecombe and almost home to Bowerman’s Nose. I am referring instead to a little known Hound Tor on North Dartmoor just south of Cosdon Hill. I doubt B1 and I would have visited this spot without Ten Tors training routes to follow (and write) but it is a wonderful one and has, in its vicinity my favourite hole in the ground (we have sat in this many times) and favourite stone circle.
Dartmoor Tor 4 – Cox Tor
Another short walk tor here but I do really like Cox Tor (and not just because there is usually an ice cream van at the car park). With views out to Plymouth Sound, its very own trig point (you have to look for it) and access to some lovely walking, Cox Tor is an ideal ‘quick walk with the family’ destination with a hill big enough to make you feel as though you have done a bit of exercise.
Dartmoor Tor 5 – Great Links Tor
A bit further onto the moor than Brat Tor and definitely into the wilder territory of North Dartmoor, Great Links Tor always gives me that ‘stay forever’ feeling. With two goats (Lower Dunna Goat and Higher Dunna Goat) and a very Bleak House as neighbours (across a bog), there is plenty of interest to be found here and even more staring into space opportunity.
Dartmoor Tor 6 – Bowerman’s Nose
Not a climbable tor but Bowerman’s Nose is definitely a favourite and possibly the only Dartmoor tor I talk to every time I visit. If you like a tor… write a book about it… not a bad motto!
Dartmoor Tor 7 – Steeperton Tor
The mound of Steeperton Tor towers over its section of north Dartmoor, beckoning walkers to ascend its heights and gaze below. This is, perhaps, an odd choice because neither I nor B1 have visited Steeperton Tor. We have walked past from all directions and even scrambled up the gorge below on our way to the Ted Hughes memorial but have never quite made it to the top. Maybe we like the idea of a ‘non-explored’ tor, we are certainly planning to visit one day.
Dartmoor Tor 8 – Rippon Tor
Well this isn’t strictly a favourite tor, Rippon Tor is a favourite spot, not because it is always windy (it is) but because it is very near to our favourite tree. We haven’t seen Rippon Tor in the daylight very often. By the time we get there on our after work winter walks, it is usually dimpsy or dark. We like it that way.
Dartmoor Tor 9 – Higher Hartor Tor
Not just liked because it is great fun to over-pronounce High Higher Hartor Tor Tor Tor Tor. This tor is a great Dartmoor wild camping spot and offers easy access to the mysterious artefacts of Drizzlecombe below.
Dartmoor Tor 10 – Blonde Tor
Blonde Tor hasn’t yet been named on the map but we are working on that. Legend has it that, when you have been an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion for 5 years, you get to make your mark on your favourite Ordnance Survey map. We will almost certainly choose Blonde Tor… or maybe Kink in Leat… but that is another story.
It would be fun, wouldn’t it, to put these favourites together into a walk one day. My apologies by the way to South Dartmoor. I haven’t forgotten you but my favourite place there, Three Barrows, isn’t a tor.
If you fancy walking to some of these Dartmoor tors, have a look at the Visit Dartmoor website https://www.visitdartmoor.co.uk which is packed with information about where to stay and what to do on Dartmoor.