Rippon Tor, Haytor and the Holwell bluebells

I’ve been meaning to come to this area for a few weeks to see the bluebells and finally I managed to sort a walk in this area. It was 10 tors weekend, so knowing anywhere around Okehampton and Merrivale ranges would be packed full of teenagers doing brilliant things on the western side of Dartmoor, I headed east. As it happens I did 16 tors in 5 hours, not that its comparable in the slightest as they do 35, 45 or 55 miles to do the 10!!! Anyway the weather was good, as it has been for a month now, by the end the sun was ‘cracking the flags’ as my Nan used to say. I also managed to work out the difference between Hole Rock and Leighon Tor, being 100 metres apart these two are tricky to nail down, but I’ve done it now. This is a busy area (especially around Haytor) but there are parts, Bag Tor and Black Hill spring to mind where you will not see many people at all, its an area that deserves a proper explore, like this one to get the best out of it. The only downside to today was my camera, a recent walk at Lustleigh Cleave involved a brief dip in the water, well some of that river clearly made its way into the lens, which gave up about halfway around this walk. Still my phone was on hand to capture most of the walk!

Start – Cold East Cross parking
Route – The NutcrackerRippon TorBag TorSaddle TorEmsworthy RocksHaytorHolwell TorSmallacombe RocksHole RockBlack Hill – Leighon TorBecka Brook Clapper BridgeGreator Rocks – Holwell Lawn – Top TorPil TorTunhill RocksWittaburrow – Cold East Cross parking
Distance –  10 miles    Start time – 12.30pm     Time taken –  5hrs  Highest Point – Rippon Tor 473metres
Weather – Cloudy to start, then the sun came out, warm

© Crown copyright 2016 Ordnance Survey FL 2016 SF

Starting out along the path to Rippon Tor, looking back to the car park down there. Long distance views look a bit hazy at the moment

The Nutcracker, not too far from Rippon Tor itself. This used to have a logan stone however that has been moved so it no longer cracks nuts!

Rippon Tor looking to Haytor and a large part of the area that I will be walking around. This was the high point today as most of the walk is around the 400 metre contour

Next up was Bag Tor, along the permitted path through here, although there was a few calves with their mothers so I stayed well away from those. Here I’m looking back to Rippon Tor left, and to Saddle Tor right which is my next stop

The gorse at the moment is smelling as good as anything on the moor, Bag Tor has a lot of it. I’m looking across a hazy South Hams here

On Saddle Tor now, looking to the flat topped Hameldown in the distance

The tors come thick and fast round here, this is Emsworthy Rocks, looking back to Saddle Tor with Rippon Tor behind that

Its not far to Haytor from Emsworthy Rocks either

Holwell Tor is down there, that’s after Haytor, the sun is on Smallacombe Rocks with Black Hill up to the right

Probably the most recognisable tor on the moor. Haytor. Plenty of folk up there today

Holwell Tor now, looking across to Hound Tor

Smallacombe Rocks is next up

As if by magic I’m here, with Haytor up on the left and Holwell Tor and its quarry in view to the right. Rippon Tor poking up in between those two

Hound Tor again from Smallacombe Rocks, on the left is Chinkwell Tor

Hole Rock, with Leighon Tor behind, That’s that sorted now, no more mixing these two up

Looking back to Hole Rock

Black Hill, looking west to Hameldown

The sun was out now and the cloud broken, the views were improving with every step. Haytor from Black Hill

The northern point of Black Hill has this large cairn and a great view down to Manaton, Easdon Tor and Hayne Down

Dropping down to Leighon Tor with the Holwell valley beyond

Leighon Tor, with Hayne Down right and Hound Tor left

Mr blue sky is coming!!

Becka Brook clapper bridge, its brilliant how these things survive the hundreds of years of feet

A long down from Leighon Tor through woods, and a steep up brings you out by Greator Rocks, this is the view to Hound Tor

The edge of Greator Rocks in the foreground right. With Haytor on the other side of the valley

From the gate into Holwell Lawn I look back to Greator Rocks

I’d come to see the bluebells, they weren’t as thick as you would get in the woods, nor as big. But there were lots of them, in big patches and the views across them to the surrounding tors are brilliant

Walking up to Top Tor now with Haytor looking a long way away now. Saddle Tor on the right

On Top Tor, that’s Rippon Tor to the right

A short hop away is Pil Tor, looking down to Tunhill Rocks

Pil Tor was number 14 of the day, just two more to go. Hameldown is the big whale back hill and Chinkwell Tor to the right

Looking back up to Pil Tor from Tunhill Rocks

That’s the last one, Wittaburrow from Tunhill Rocks

From the large tumulus on Wittaburrow, with Rippon Tor to the right

On the path back to the car, with Tunhill Rocks in the distance. The temperature hit 20 degrees here, summer has arrived early!!!


6 thoughts on “Rippon Tor, Haytor and the Holwell bluebells

    • Its a good route, you can add more or take away some depending on the time you have. The route down from Rippon Tor to the gate to get to Bag Tor can be tricky, if you find a path stick to it, I ended up off piste a bit!! The path through to Bag Tor is a permissive route at this time of year, there are plenty of cows in the fields as well. Find the gate, follow the path to Bag Tor and out the other side. If you don’t fancy Bag Tor, just go straight to Saddle Tor from Rippon Tor.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Storm Clouds over Dartmoor | surfnslide

    • Wow some great cloud shots there, they are dark looking beasts for sure. And the bluebells looked great, even better than when I saw them. Many thanks for the link and kind words.


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