A snowy walk around Princetown

In the middle of December the UK weather finally turned towards winter, after a very warm autumn the snow arrived across the whole country. Even Dartmoor got a bit, especially the high tors near to Okehampton. Princetown had received a small amount so we headed there for a cold walk, with just enough snow, to make for some nice views and pictures. The old railway track out of Princetown is well know and takes you quickly into an area full of tors, quarries and a criss-cross of paths, so we picked off the tors before heading through the 3 quarries on this route. The finally section was to pick off the 4 tors around the mast before descending into Princetown itself. The weather was very good with plenty of sun to try and warm us up on this bitterly cold day and after the last few walk, where the views had been limited by the low cloud and mist, it was lovely to get some distance views. These were in every direction as the tor at North Hessary gives a fantastic central 360 degree view. This walk turned out to be my last one before Christmas as we both picked up covid at some point in the weeks running up to the 25th, so it would be Boxing Day before I was out again. However this is a fine route to be my last one before the holidays, and the crisp snow was brilliant to walk on.

Start – Princetown parking

Route – Yes Tor (Walkhampton) – Fur Tor (Walkhampton)Leedon TorIngra Tor – Ingra Tor quarry – Crip Tor – The Corbels – Swell TorFoggin TorHollow Tor (Rundlestone)Rundlestone TorHerne Hole TorNorth Hessary TorPrincetown Mast – Princetown

Distance – 8.5 miles    Start time – 10am   Time taken – 5hrs 45mins  Highest Point – North Hessary Tor 517 metres

Weather – Cold, snow on the ground and sun overhead, some cloud in the middle of the walk

© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey FL 2022 SF
Setting out, all layered up, there was a fella down there by the trees in a tshirt and jeans, which was brave of him
A hard frost had kept the snow overnight, but with the sun out there was no doubt that all but the north facing slopes would start to melt soon
Burrator reservoir is in the dip in the centre of the photo, with Leather Tor and Sharpitor on the right and Sheeps Tor to the left
This path is the old railway track from Plymouth to Princetown, used for moving granite around as well as tourist passengers
Looking down to the Devil’s Elbow, one of the Dartmoor 365 squares
Further along the path as it winds its way towards Swell Tor and Foggin Tor
That’s Swell Tor on the right, with cloud inversions in the valleys beyond. The railway track heads right out of photo hear before looping around the back of Swell Tor (and Kings Tor) and then reappearing down there. We will walk in a straight line down there from here before turning left
The well photographed bridge, there are tors either side of the bridge and to get to the one on the right (Yes Tor) you will need to cross the bridge
We stopped for coffee here and this fella came over to see if we had any goodies, so we didn’t stay for long, Ingra Tor is behind us
Yes Tor views
Back across the bridge, which can be seen down there to this one called Fur Tor. We are heading slightly uphill next to Leeden Tor
And here it is with its snowy frosting
A second outcrop of Leeden Tor with Sharpitor behind
From Leeden Tor we crunched our way through the snow to Ingra Tor, with some lovely views across to Pew Tor which is briefly in the shade here
Ingra Tor
And again, this time at the back is Cox Tor and the Staple Tors. Next we are heading down to that white house, and near to Crip Tor, before we climb to Swell Tor top right of this photo
Before heading to Crip Tor we had a quick look inside Ingra Tor quarry
From back to front is Cox Tor, then Vixen Tor standing proud in the sun, then just above the bushes in the foreground is the rocks of Crip Tor, this tor sits in the gardens of the white house and is on private property, but you can get quite close here.
Ingra Tor top left and the view out along the Walkham Valley as we climb up towards Swell Tor
As part of the quarry at Swell Tor are these corbels which were originally planned for London Bridge, but only made it here
The old buildings and workings of the Swell Tor quarry
Swell Tor quarry
And the upper quarry, the clouds overhead had darkened here but sunshine was again on the way
By the time we got to Foggin Tor and its quarry the cloud had brightened somewhat, the backdrop being formed by Cox Tor, Staple Tors, Roos Tor, White Tor and Great Mis Tor (left to right)
The frozen pond at Foggin Tor. The army/cadets use this spot to string a cable across to the grass over there on the left and then get the recruits to traverse across. Bear Grylls has brought the England men’s football manager, Gareth Southgate, here to do some abseiling and climbing as well. Its a popular spot.
With the long zoom lens on I pick out the layers of cloud inversions in the Cornish valleys. Pew Tor is the tor nearer to me
Same lens zooming in on Merrivale quarry with Middle Staple Tor above it
Big clouds and big views as we walk to Hollow Tor
Hollow Tor (Rundlestone)
Hollow Tor again with Great Mis Tor beyond
On Rundlestone Tor now, with Great Mis Tor again behind
Another tor, Linda this time on Herne Hole Tor, the four tors here are pretty close together. Looking east from this tor, towards Hameldown and Haytor
Looking along the valley which holds the Prison Leat and the Blackbrook River, the tors in the distance are Hare Tor and Great Links Tor
Up at North Hessary Tor now, the cables from the mast come down behind the tor and trig point
Princetown mast
Linda dancing her way down to Princetown, the southern moor in the distance
After walking through Princetown itself we walk back to the car passing by the new whisky distillery, which looks like the building has pretty much finished now
On the drive back home and I stopped by the road to take this photo of the valleys filling with cloud again. At one point I could see the church on Brent Tor just popping out of the cloud. A glorious end to a brilliant snowy walk.

6 thoughts on “A snowy walk around Princetown

    • The rain and thick low clouds seems to be just going on and on at the moment. We went to the eastern side on Sunday which was a bit better and we only had one heavy spell of rain, so I think I just need to be more varied with my walking locations, which is always difficult in the dark winters when daylight is short

      Liked by 1 person

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