Belstone Cleave, Cosdon Beacon and Wild Tor

I decided to get back on Dartmoor and repeat most of a walk I had done before (here), with a little bit of difference along Belstone Cleave. I’m a big fan of Cosdon, its on my list of favourite summits on the moor and if the weather is good up here, as it was today, then it is fantastic. The walk out to Wild Tor from there is also brilliant and apart from a couple of dips around Steeperton Tor, once you have gained the height you stay fairly level all the way. The rush of tors at the end around Belstone Tor can become a little overwhelming, but they provide an opportunity to sit and look back at the route accomplished. The one part about this walk that I noticed more than any other was the amount of people on the North moor. This was the last weekend in August, and as a result the bank holiday. Covid has left people scrambling for places to stay and paying through the nose for it, as such others have stuck two fingers up and gone more natural. Now I’m all for it, however leave no trace needs to be driven home. If you want to go out wildcamping on Dartmoor then please come and see, but we don’t want have your breakfast and camping gear left for the wildlife to choke on. Take it with you, all of it. On this walk I counted at least 50 people heading past me, all kitted out for a night on the moor, walking towards Hangingstone Hill, Cranmere Pool, Fur Tor destination. I hope they were all safe, but it showed how popular this island has become this summer, people were everywhere on this walk, Wild Tor was the only tor were I couldn’t see people. Steeperton Tor is normally pretty remote, today there were 12 people having lunch up there!! The car park at Belstone was full when I arrived at 9.15am, which I have never seen before, showing that many people were out camping and hadn’t, yet, returned to their vehicles. I’m just glad I stayed clear of Yes Tor and High Willhays as I reckon they would have been even more popular.

Start – Belstone parking
Route – The CliffTarka Bridge – Tarka Trail – Middle Down TorCosdon HillLittle Hound TorWhit Moor Stone CircleHound TorWild TorSteeperton TorKnack Mine FordOke TorKnattaborough TorLower TorHigher TorIrishmans WallBelstone TorBelstone Common TorTors End TorWatchet Hill – Belstone
Distance – 10 miles    Start time – 9.40am    Time taken – 5hrs 40mins    Highest Point – Cosdon Hill 550metres
Weather – Sunshine, white fluffy clouds

 

© Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey FL 2020 SF

 

Early morning Belstone. Now I’ve driven past the car park which was over full and got into the village. I’ve parked up the road but this photo is taken between cars which are all around the triangle green. It looks like a busy time in Belstone, the cafe will be open later

Belstone Cleave, the higher path on the north side

The Cliff, an apt name, although in the summer it is a bit covered

These darkened rocks are part of the The Cliff and easily seen from the top path

Along this higher path you get glimpses either way, east along the Cleave or back west to the tors such as Belstone Tor

After reaching the part of the path which leads on to the road to Sticklepath, I dropped down to the lower path

About 30 metres from the lower path is this bridge across the River Taw as it cuts its way through the Cleave

This is Tarka Bridge, named so because of the passages from the book written on the bridge

The Taw

Middle Down Tor was found after I climbed up the path to the top track back along the Cleave to the west

Leaving the Cleave I headed out on to the moor proper and the start up to Cosdon Hill. Before I did that I sat here and had a coffee looking back towards Belstone village. At this point I’d seen 2 people and was wondering where everyone was after the parking situation in Belstone

As you climb Cosdon Hill you have to stop to look back at the views north towards Exmoor

Foxes Holt is up there on the right as I look south across the side of Cosdon

Cosdon Hill summit, there were 15 people up here and I was stunned, all hogging the summit trig point and leaving me without an opportunity to get a decent photo. This is the cairn with Yes Tor and High Willhays in the distance

A bit further around, looking south west ish. Okement Hill in the far distance

As good as I could do, people are just to the right of the trig and a group of 6 have just left, another 6 are out of sight having lunch. Trust me and come when it is not busy and enjoy the view south

A herdwick, now these fellas are normally found up north in the Lakes, but a few have been introduced to North Dartmoor and are having fun. This one seems to be singing!

Yes Tor is far left and West Mill Tor is down from that. The Belstone ridge is just right of centre, I will be there later

Little Hound Tor, the stones on top of this one are flat but to the right of here there are a few rocks that stick up, but to be honest the main attraction here isn’t the tor but

the stone circle, Whit Moor Stone Circle to be exact, a great view from here

Next up is Hound Tor itself and more views to the eastern side of Dartmoor around Haytor, Rippon Tor area

Hound Tor looking towards Wild Tor and Hangingstone Hill

The walk to the Hound tors from Cosdon is very simple however Wild Tor always looks easy but is a bit further than it looks, however once you get here the outcrop is brilliant, in fact here are a few of them

Wild Tor looking back to Cosdon on the right and my next destination, Steeperton Tor left. Belstone Tor is in shadow at the back

I’m down near Steeperton Brook now looking to Cosdon Hill

Steeperton Tor was like Piccadilly, At least 5 groups walking outwards towards Hangingstone with tents etc on their backs. And 12 or so on the summit having lunch. Normally this place is empty, being a distance from civilisation, but not today.

Looking up to Hangingstone, at least 3 of the groups I mentioned are in the photo, down to my right here I could see at least another 3 groups heading that way. Wild Tor is over on the left

Knack Mine Ford. Now I could these two from about half way down from Steeperton Tor, they tried to cross at least 5 times without success, I went about 10 metres downstream from the ford and jumped the River Taw which is narrower either side. Now these two, they faffed a while before taking off their shoes and wading

Looking back to Steeperton Tor

Oke Tor, this is a great tor with a wall of rock on its western side

Taw Marsh down to my right, I saw two people walking through the middle of it, to be honest I never saw them at the far end so they might still be in there. Belstone Tor up on the left in the sun

I think I’m on Knattaborough Tor here looking back along the ridge to Oke Tor. The clouds are leaving some lovely dark and light patches across these photos

Lower Tor on the left. Higher Tor is ahead

From Lower Tor looking to the roof of Devon

This is a mass of rock before the accepted Higher Tor, not sure if it has a different name or whether it is just Higher Tor

Irishmans Wall looking down to the area of Cullever Steps

Belstone Tor summit with North Devon beyond

I’m on Belstone Common Tor now, the tors come thick and fast here

Finally you have Tors End Tor, Belstone Common Tor is up on the left and Belstone Tor is to the right

Watchet Hill flagpole and North Devon, all the way to the Atlantic coast

I’m heading down to the Tarka Trail back into Belstone, looking along Belstone Cleave

A wider shot to show the fields of north eastern Devon beyond Belstone village and Cleave. The end of a brilliant walk, a few too many people for my liking but it is bank holiday I suppose, maybe I should have stayed on the south moor to avoid the crowds!

7 thoughts on “Belstone Cleave, Cosdon Beacon and Wild Tor

  1. Well that’s brought back memories of when I did the same walk in reverse on a truly awful day of drenching rain! Good to see what it looks like in the sunshine and some superb images, especially that line of tors. It did feel like a great walk when I did it, but it was a grim experience! 😀
    The scenes of “wild camping” carnage has been very dispiriting. While some people are trying to be even handed and talk of education and a lack of experience and understanding, to my mind it’s ignorance and selfishness pure and simple. Dropping litter of any kind, anywhere, is totally unacceptable wether it’s a crisp packet in the street or a pile of beer cans and a suitcase (yes, that’s been seen) on a mountain. Sorry to rant but it just makes me so angry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was an area of Dartmoor that was closed to all wildcampers (Bellever), so the behaviour that you describe has an affect on us all, never mind the wildlife. The place was left scorched, litter strewn and faeces in the open. Just horrid. If that wasn’t enough, the car park is 100 metres away with toilets and bins

      Liked by 1 person

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