Great Rock, Shaptor Rock and Hennock

This is a walk in an area that doesn’t get nearly enough pages on websites. I’ve said it before that if the tors, inside the square mile of Shaptor Woods, were out on Dartmoor proper, then you would have thousands of visitors flocking there. They are stupendous. So much so that a new book has now been written about them “East Dartmoor’s Lesser Known Tors and Rocks”. These ones in Shaptor Woods form a huge part of these lesser known rock piles, and it can easily be argued that the largest tors on Dartmoor are here on this eastern side. Tors such as Shaptor Rock and Rooks Hole Tor are absolutely huge and are made up of many massive piles of rocks. Others like Bearacleave Middle Tor (or just Bearacleave Tor on my list) or Sonny Copse Tor tumble down the hills for a hundred metres or more, each rock in the piles seem easily larger than a transit van. The nature of these piles make walking in the area a little tricky and it can be difficult to stitch together a walk which picks them off, there is a good path through Great Rock Wood, which only needs to be left briefly to join another path into Easterndown Copse. The same rule applies for Shaptor Woods, a path leads you in from the northeast, but then you leave it to pick off 3 tors, before joining again near Pixey Copse Tor, leaving again for another 3 tors before you walk a fair distance to John Cann’s Lane. That said you could easily just stick to the main paths and still bag 10 tors here and only leave the path by 20 or 30 metres at most. For us we wanted to see more of each of the tors and followed the piles downhill at times to find more and more outcrops, all in all we hit 18 tors in a fabulous days exploring. This has to be a must visit for any Dartmoor walker.

Start – Hennock parking

Route – Twizzle Tree Tor – Great Rock Copse Tor – Great Rock – Easterndown Copse Tor – Beadon Brook Bridge – Beadon Lane – Beadon Rock – Bowden Lane – Bowden Tor – Rock Copse Tor – Shaptor Rock – Lower Shaptor – Sonny Copse Tor – Pixey Copse Tor – Rooks Hole Tor – Stonelands Stack – Middle Stonelands Tor – John Canns Lane – Stonelands TorJohn Cann’s Rocks – Bearacleave Tor Stonelands Waste Tor – Five Lanes – Hennock

Distance – 7.5 miles    Start time – 10am   Time taken – 6hrs  Highest Point – Shaptor Rock 259 metres

Weather – Sunshine piercing the canopy and big white clouds

© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey FL 2022 SF
Starting out from some roadside parking in Hennock village, we first pass the church
We weren’t certain of the weather at this point, but before long the sun came out for more sustained periods. At this point we could see a rainbow in the distance
We headed down through a forest, past a barn and then up the path to Twizzle Tree Tor, one of the best names of the tors
You do get a view out from Twizzle Tree Tor, now the leylandii trees have been cut down. This is one of the few views you get on this walk as most will be in woodland
We dropped a little off the path to get a better look at Great Rock Copse Tor
The path through Great Rock Copse Tor
Now at Great Rock, the majority of the photos on this walk are of large outcrops, some absolutely huge
A tiny glimpse out from the top of Great Rock
Head out from the top of Great Rock you will find a logging path, the pipes on the right are the old water pipes for Hennock, no longer needed. Head down this path to get to……..
…….Easterndown Copse Tor, which sits both sides of the path, the bit to my left here can be seen lower down as the path loops below it
And here we are on the lower track looking up at the outcrop as it falls down the hill
The small wooden bridge over the Beadon Brook
Lovely path through the trees as we leave Great Rock woods and join Beadon Lane
Walking up the lane we pass Beadon Rock
And reach the marker stone at the top of Bottor Lane, you can see the villages of Moreton and Bridford marked on the side
Bowden Lane and views to the main parts of Dartmoor, we are now heading into Shaptor Woods to see some huge outcrops
Bowden Tor is our next target, we had crossed a stile and headed into this field and down to the left here
Bowden Tor, the first of the large outcrops, there are a few extra piles behind and left but this is the largest one with the main rock top right being an overhang
Down the hill you get to Rock Copse Tor, doing the Michelin man impression
We next joined the main path across towards Shaptor Rock itself
The plaque as you enter this part of Shaptor Woods
As you get to the plaque above head in behind it to see Shaptor Rock, you need to climb for a bit up past outcrop after outcrop and then go further than you think to hit the top and the views towards Bovey Tracey, we had a brew stop here
Parts of Shaptor Rock as we descended
And another part, Linda gives some scale to this bit, times by 4 of 5 to get the full size of this rock outcrop
This is where it gets interesting as you need to leave the path to get to Lower Shaptor, this then means that you can get a bit disorientated or confuse the tors up, especially if you are writing about it a month later as I am here.
More from Lower Shaptor
And again, we headed downhill towards the main path after this photo, to reach …………
Sonny Copse Tor, this one tumbles down the hill in separate piles to the path
Sonny Copse Tor again, piled up giant boulders
Following the path for a short distance takes you to Pixey Copse Tor, as you walk through the outcrop the piles tower up to the left, if you head down to the right you find more
Pixey Copse Tor from below the path
After Pixey Copse we rejoined the path, spotting the unmistakable white face rocks of Rooks Hole Tor, you can see the white rocks over on the left and straight ahead, plus other boulders in the foreground. There is more to the right here and behind
The main face of Rooks Hole Tor seen from the path below, the face is at least 4 or 5 metres high
The rocks to the right of the last photo, just all piled up
Back to the path and straight across we went off looking for Stonelands Stack, we found the wall easily and then the many boulders of this tor
Linda and her balancing act
Another one by the path, Middle Stonelands Tor
Bit more of Middle Stonelands
We’d reached John Cann’s Lane , walking downhill we saw Stonelands Tor on the right, the two distinct boulders at an angle, with more of it behind
On the left of the lane is John Cann’s Rock, never that impressive
And a bit more of it
The map as you walk along John Cann’s lane showing the path through Shaptor Wood and the names of the wooded copses within
Bearacleave Middle Tor, or at least I think it is, I bunch the 3 tors in here into one on my list. And yes the rock on the right does look like a backside
Under the backside rock was a huge pile of rocks, the bottom rock was an odd shape with square blocks sticking out of it, the shear size of this outcrop was astounding
The path through the Bearacleave part of the wood
Stonelands Waste Tor as we followed a higher up path back into Shaptor Wood from John Cann’s Lane
Out of Shaptor Woods now and as we walk the lane back to Hennock we get views across eastern Devon
Dark clouds behind us look ominous, luckily we didn’t have far to go
Five Lanes, straight on left to Hennock
The final photo of the war memorial in Hennock at the end of a a fab walk through rock strewn woodlands. We will be back as we have the other end of the woods to do, considering we hit 18 tors on this walk and there are at least 2 we missed off my list, so plenty of outcrops to see again!

12 thoughts on “Great Rock, Shaptor Rock and Hennock

  1. Dartmoor never stops surprising me. This walk has a different ‘feel’ to it than the walks I’ve done, I guess most of mine were mostly up on high.

    Liked by 1 person

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