Crownhill Tor and all around the China Clay works

This was a route hatched on the morning of the walk, one that I’d not done before as a route, although I’d done all of the paths before over many different days out. It looked a fairly good route with good paths all around, however as I’m starting to find out on the south western corner of Dartmoor, a path on a map can be moved whenever the China Clay works sees fit. One occasion whilst trying to get down to Quick Bridge, the path through the woods vanished into a barbed wire fence, meaning I had to follow the fence to a gate. No sign on the gate suggested I should follow the signposted route, but this took me the wrong way, and was the second path marked on the OS. I had to vault the gate to find the path markers lower down on the second, normal gate. Clearly the China Clay company don’t want you to use the marked routes any more. The second path was one that had been diverted 3/4 of a mile or so North West, from Blackaton Cross. More barbed wire fencing was up, alongside the keep out signs, and a tiny note on a post put up to tell you to head along the road instead. The walk along the road meant I started to struggle with my left foot, and by the time I reached Saddlesborough I was in agony. Tarmac and stiff soled boots don’t mix, but then I wasn’t expecting to walk along a road. Thankfully the medical kit I always carry came in handy, with paracetamol and some ibuprofen gel on the foot sorting me out enough to allow a hobble back over the last 2 miles to the car. Its a good route and one I will do again, it would be easy to add in the Trowlesworthy Tors as well if you fancied it.

Start – Lee Moor parking
Route – Crownhill TorQuick Bridge – Cholwichtown Farm – Hexton TorBlackaton CrossSaddlesboroughHawks TorCollard TorBlackalder TorWhitehill Tor – Lee Moor parking
Distance – 8 miles    Start time – 2pm    Time taken – 4hrs 15min  Highest Point – Hexton Tor 330 metres
Weather – Cloudy and cool

© Crown copyright 2019 Ordnance Survey FL 2019 SF

Starting out from the car park with Plymouth Sound in view, as it is on a lot of this walk

A short walk along the side of the road and I head off along a track to Crownhill Tor

The track goes left of the actual tor, cross a wall to get to the tor itself which is dead ahead here, Plymouth Sound still to the right

Looking to Western Beacon from Crownhill Tor

Lots of china clay to the north

Past a broken down farm as I follow the path to Quick Bridge

After having a bit of a faff with paths that disappeared and gates that have appeared where they were not previously, I ended up at this lake beside the china clay plant. A scratch of my head made me realise that I needed to vault the gate I had passed and head down the track.

Once through a second gate I headed down a field, across a little wooden bridge and along a path to this point,. This barn is beside Quick Bridge

Across Quick Bridge and hang a left across a cattle grid brings you along the track to Cholwichtown farm

Despite the weather not being warm enough yet for summer, the foxgloves are out as are the rhododendrons behind. Lots of them in this area.

Starting to open out now. Penn Beacon is out of shot up to the right here, and the path keeps climbing to the right, around the rim of the clay pit lake

Looking back, with South Hams in view stretching away

Its Plymouth Sound again, across the clay pit workings. I’m on a track now that leads to Hexton Tor, although as you get near there is a deep leat which you need to be the right side of to avoid getting wet

After all the hard work with Avengers Endgame, Loki has some down time on Dartmoor!!

Hexton Tor with Long lake beyond. The china clay pit is to the left and beyond that

The Trowlesworthy Tors are a short distance uphill, but not today

Shell Top left and Penn Beacon to the right from Hexton Tor

The scars of the pits, with Hexton Tor to the left. Shell Top and Penn Beacon at the back

Walking now past Long lake with the Trowlesworthy Tors up on the right. Peek Hill and Sharpitor in the distance

Blackaton Cross. Now on the OS map the path goes out of the back of the car park across to Saddlesborough. No longer, you need to follow the road for a fair bit, then left and around

Here is the branch off to the left you need to take.

Saddlesborough, with Peek Hill, Sheeps Tor, Sharpitor and North Hessary Tor in view. At this point walking along the road had left me in agony and I was out with the ibuprofen to help ease the pain.

Views to Plymouth Sound from Saddlesborough

Silhouetted people on Hawks Tor, no prizes for guessing the backdrop

Shaugh Prior church below with Bodmin Moor in the distance

Collard Tor and the tungsten mine and clay pits workings return to the views

The dark clouds were an ever present throughout the walk. No rain however and the sunshine stayed by the coast

This kind of sums up our summer so far. June and someone in Wotter has a fire going

The lower rocks of Blackalder Tor

Whitehill Tor in the trees

Crownhill Tor over to the left from Whitehill Tor. This was a good walk and I’m looking at ways to extend it a bit, looking forward to coming back to an area I normally hate with all the clay pits around.

Final one over the industry of this part of Dartmoor


2 thoughts on “Crownhill Tor and all around the China Clay works

  1. Frustrating when these corporations treat rights of way and paths with such utter contempt. Sad reflection on how things have been allowed to develop in the 21st century. At least you managed to fashion a walk out of it. Like you I suffer when road walking, although for me it’s my knees. I only walk in trainers now outside of winter.

    Liked by 1 person

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