Rippon Tor and the Holwell bluebells

Road closures due to the Plymouth half marathon meant I was cut off from the north and west of the city. This meant a drive around the back roads to Ivybridge where I figured that I might as well continue along the A38 and go to the area around Haytor. This also meant a chance to see the Holwell bluebells, if they were in bloom, which they were and then some. This area can be very busy but this route stayed away from the honey pots of Haytor and Hound Tor and gave a little peace and quiet. The other side to this area is the number of tors that can be bagged in one hit, I gathered 19 on this walk, but without too much more effort you could easily go for another 5. This was also my last walk before heading to the Lakes and I was looking for plenty of descent and re-ascent to get the legs going and whilst I will never replicate the steep hills up there, the walk up to Greator Rocks is a tough slog. All in all a fine day out where the star of the show wasn’t the views or the tors but a little flower and a carpet of blue and purple.

Start – Top Tor parking
Route – Lower Top Tor – Shovel Stone – Hollow Tor – Tunhill Rocks–  Wittaburrow –  The Nutcrackers – Rippon Tor – Saddle TorEmsworthy RocksHolwell TorHaytor TramwaySmallacombe RocksHole RockLeighon TorBecka Brook bridgeGreator Rocks – Holwell Lawn – Hedge TorHoneybag TorChinkwell TorBell TorBonehill Rocks – Top Tor parking
Distance – 8 miles    Start time – 10.20am     Time taken –  5hrs 45mins  Highest Point – Rippon Tor 473metres
Weather – Glorious sun, a nice breeze for the first couple of hours then very warm after that

© Crown copyright 2017 Ordnance Survey FL 2017 SF

A stone’s throw from the car park to Lower Top Tor where a view down to Widecombe is in order

Further round to the south is Corndon Tor and through the haze the Ryders Hill ridge can just be made out

The Shovel Stone, looking back to Chinkwell Tor, Lower Top Tor can be seen above the stone

A first for me, the Dartmoor pony on the left (black one) let out the biggest fart ever as I took this photo. I guess the other two were not impressed as they were downwind!! This is Hollow Tor

Hameldown from Hollow Tor and again the church at Widecombe can be seen

I reached Tunhill Rocks and decided it was coffee time. Rippon Tor is visible to the right and Pil Tor is up there to the left. I’d circled around both Top Tor and Pil Tor but these could easily be added on

Looking south from Tunhill Rocks as I enjoyed the sun and my coffee

Same spot looking to the bulk of Hameldown and Chinkwell Tor right

A short walk up to Wittaburrow and the view to Buckland Beacon

Very wise sheep getting some shade

The Nutcrackers are reached on the way up to Rippon Tor, just left of the summit rock is Wittaburrow where I have just been

Rippon Tor is up there on the right

It always a great view from Rippon Tor. Haytor demands attention from here

Hameldown stands out at the back

I’ve dropped down to Saddle Tor now where the view of Haytor is even better. It looked very busy up there today

Top Tor left of Emsworthy Rocks

Looking back to Saddle Tor with Rippon Tor behind from Emsworthy Rocks

The hue of the bluebells can be seen all around this area. At this point I decided that I would miss Hound Tor to instead walk through Holwell Lawn

Holwell Tor now looking to Smallacombe Rocks, the tors come thick as fast across here

Haytor from Holwell Tor

Looking back to Holwell Tor from the Haytor tramway

Baby Dartmoor pony

Smallacombe Rocks looking back to Holwell Tor which looks far greater from this angle than it does when stood on it

Unmistakable Haytor

This is the top part of Hole Rock, looking to Leighon Tor

Hole Rock, looking over to Greator Rocks and Hound Tor

Leighon Tor now and I’m looking at Hayne Down in the centre and Easdon Tor behind

I threw some water on myself at this point and took time to have drinks and eat. This is Becka Brook Clapper

That was a warm climb up to Greator Rocks, far easier to climb than they look from the bottom. I’m looking back from where I have come from, with Black Hill in view

Greator Rocks as I enter Holwell Lawn, this area has a cross country riding course through it but at this time of year a certain flower takes centre stage

Now I’ve heard about and seen bluebells in woodlands, I’ve seen pictures of the Rannerdale bluebells in the Lakes but this is something else. Haytor stands out beyond but the eyes are drawn to the bluebells

I could have put a raft of pictures in here and the photos can never get the whole picture, this was amazing and far bigger than I expected

Just lovely

I’ve dragged myself away from the bluebells to Hedge Tor, I’m heading next for the tor to the right Honeybag Tor, and then to Chinkwell Tor which is on the left

The path to Chinkwell Tor from Honeybag Tor

The Widecombe valley looking superb in the warm sunshine

Chinkwell Tor summit, Hameldown or a part of it at the back. Honeybag Tor to the right

As you get to the edge of Chinkwell Tor you get this view down. This is a fab spot to have a rest and just look. Bell Tor is immediately down there and Bonehill Rocks are beyond but the eye is drawn to Rippon Tor, the high point in the distance

On Bell Tor looking down to Bonehill Rocks. As always there were plenty of climbers on Bonehill

Widecombe valley again, this time from Bell Tor

Haytor looks a long way away from here

My last one today and I look back from Bonehill Rocks

Almost a seat on Bonehill to admire the view. Now just a short walk back to the car after a superb walk


4 thoughts on “Rippon Tor and the Holwell bluebells

  1. Amazing walk and those bluebells at Holwell Lawn are something else. We visited same time last year and I’ve never seen anything come close to the display. Glorious weather (better than the thunder and hail that we had) 😀


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