This is a list of my top 10 tors and favourite places that I visit when I’m out on Dartmoor. Both these lists may change a bit as I revisit tors in different weather, via new routes. With the top places list changing due to the fact that I haven’t been to all the spots yet. However i hope you too enjoy these places as much as I do and that it gets you to all parts of the moor and not just the popular parts.
MY TOP 10 TORS
- Down Tor – This is probably my favourite tor, and my first tor, this was as part of a school Geography trip on tor formation and landscapes. I love the view down to Burrator, which is flanked by Sheeps Tor one side and Peek Hill/Leather Tor the other. Its not as busy as either Sheeps Tor or Peek Hill which helps. Its only a 20 minute walk up from Norsworthy Bridge, past Snapper Tor to the summit. You can make a nice loop by adding in Combeshead Tor and Cuckoo Rock as well. The gem in this tor lies a few hundred metres behind the summit as the brilliantly preserved Down Tor Stone Row sits in a perfect spot away from the crowds. A walk that takes in this tor can be found here. Down Tor and Combeshead Tor..
- Fur Tor – This one is right in the middle of the north moor and difficult to get to (its also in the Okehampton firing range so watch out for red flags). However take a day and enjoy the out and back regardless of your route. Personally heading out from Lane End, through Tavy Cleave is a great way to get there. The ground around Fur Tor opens up as you near Sandy Ford, however the ground is boggy and I tend to follow the South Tavy upstream before heading out for the summit. The views are great, the granite stack is impressive and you will hopefully have the place to yourself. A must for any Dartmoor walker. A walk that takes in this tor can be found here, Tavy Cleave and Fur Tor
- Harton Chest – The smallest tor on this list but it packs a massive punch. This one sits on the ridge above Lustleigh, and if you are walking from Sharpitor at one end to Hunters Tor at the other, along the wooded path you can miss it. The actual Harton’s Chest rock is right by the path, however head past it towards the cleave and watch the view reveal itself. The large boulder stack actual sticks out above the tall trees like a viewing platform. From here it belies its tiny 250 metre stature and isn’t for those with a fear of heights. The views are good beyond the cleave to Hound Tor, Black Down and Manaton Rocks, but its Lustleigh Cleave below that will grab you. A walk taking in this tor is here The ridge above Lustleigh
- Cosdon Hill – On a sunny day the 360 views from the top of here rival any view in the UK in my opinion. The view to the south is breathtaking with a panorama of tors and hills laid out in front of you. To the west lies the high ground around Yes Tor and Belstone Tor. To the north and east Devon stretches away to the Atlantic Ocean or to Somerset and Exmoor. Its a great place. There’s also a triple stone row on its eastern slope and good paths south to more tors and stone circles. Its also a reasonably easy walk from a number of villages, South Zeal, Sticklepath or Belstone for example with a pub and a pint on offer afterwards. A walk that takes in this hill can be found here Cosdon Hill round to Belstone
- Higher White Tor – It isn’t just that this is a good outcrop but its the views from here that are just the best. The pyramidal shape of Longaford Tor stands out a short distance away. The views back along the ridge to Crockern Tor are brilliant, with the West Dart valley to the right. Its a reasonably easy tor to get to starting out from Two Bridges and following the grassy ridge to this one, you can then return via the ever popular Wistmans Wood path or follow the Devonport Leat, having crossed the weir. I find myself sitting here more than any other tor, just admiring the scenery, plus its the start of the real Dartmoor, with great walks behind this tor to Brown’s House, Rough Tor and Flat Tor. A walk including this tor can be found here. Higher White Tor
- Roos Tor – Not one of the higher tors however it commands a fabulous view from the summit. The wilderness out the back of this tor is reminiscent of a far more isolated place. The views across to Great Mis Tor are brilliant, to the south lies the Staple Tors and onto Plymouth Sound. Brent Tor can be seen to the west and further into Cornwall. The Staple Tors and Cox Tor tend to take most of the footfall in this area meaning Roos Tor can be reasonably quiet. Head to the military flagpole and squeeze either through or around a large summit boulder, you end up on a ledge at the back, a perfect platform for admiring the wilderness, Great Mis Tor and the Walkham valley. This tor lies right on the edge of the Merrivale firing range, so venture no further north if red flags fly. A walk that includes this tor can be found here. All Around the Staple Tors
- Tavy Cleave Tor – This one is a no brainer, the best view of Tavy Cleave is from its tors above. There are three stacks that stick up at the top of the cleave and each give a slightly different viewpoint and view. In nearly every direction there is plunging view in the immediate foreground with hills rising beyond into the distance. The fact that it lies so near to one of the best places on the moor in Tavy Cleave itself is a real bonus. Lane End is the best spot to start out on to get here, either by heading first over Ger Tor to this one, or heading through the cleave first and popping out the far end and heading back over to this tor. The only downside it the fact that it lies inside the Willsworthy firing range so no access when the red flag fly. A walk taking in this tor can be found here. Tavy Cleave and Cut Hill
- Sharp Tor (Dartmeet) – As you can guess by the previous two entries in this list I like a high spot with a plunging view down below me. This one is another one of those. This time the view is down into the Dart valley from Sharp Tor. This tor from certain viewpoints (Venford Reservoir is one) can look like an alpine mountain, all pyramid and steep sides. The views in all directions are good and its an easy walk to this one from the parking spots on the road. A walk can be found here Corndon Tor
- Lynch Tor – Another tor on the western side of Dartmoor, but one of the harder ones to get to. Like the other tors on this side you get a great view to Cornwall, alongside views north to Great Links Tor and High Willhays, however this one is a lot quieter than say Brat Tor or Hare Tor. Its a lovely spot to sit and take in the views. A walk to this tor can be found here Standon hill and Lynch Tor
- Brent Tor – The most westerly of the tors and one of the best. Its an easy walk, but sit atop the summit on a bench and enjoy the view, when you have had enough move round to the next bench and rocky outcrop and look at a different view. its a brilliant place for very little effort. Follow up with a pint in Lydford or Tavistock. Lovely. Walk here Brent Tor
MY FAVOURITE PLACES
- Tavy Cleave – Steep sided valley that goes on for about a mile, river running through it with small waterfalls, cascades, pools to swim in, islands and a rocky path. Go on a warm sunny day, in midweek when it quieter, and enjoy the place. It’ll be as if no one else exists, a glorious place. The link to the walk to this place is on the Tavy Cleave Tor entry above.
- East Dart Waterfall – Dartmoor doesn’t really do spectacular waterfalls, this one isn’t really about the falls itself its more about the area. Head north from Postbridge following the eastern bank of the East Dart river, after about 3 miles of twisting and turning you will hit the waterfall. Come on a warm day in summer, take your shoes off, sit on a rock and rest. Great place. Follow this walk to get here East Dart Waterfall
- Drizzlecombe – Its older than Stonehenge at over 5000 years old, its Bronze Age, has a double stone row, evidence of settlements, the tallest menhir on Dartmoor, a massive cairn called the Giant’s Basin and the River Plym within a stone’s throw. This ancient site sits near to Eylesbarrow on the southern slopes of Higher Hartor Tor and is as good a history lesson as you will get on Dartmoor. A walk to this place is here Drizzlecombe and Eylesbarrow
- Redlake – This place sits right in the middle of the southern part of Dartmoor, a fair distance from anywhere habitable. The ground around these parts is fairly boggy unless you come in along the old Zeal Tramway path, which runs north from Bittaford. This path is one of the best ways to get here, although you can also start from Shipley Bridge, pass Avon Dam and cross the Huntingdon Clapper bridge and up to Redlake. The isolation here is brilliant and the views match it, in all directions. A walk to Redlake is here Redlake
- Duck’s Pool – This one also sits on the southern Dartmoor area, not too far from Plym Head and Great Gnats Head. To get here you will cross boggy, tussocky, tough ground, regardless of the direction of travel. Despite what may be reported, there is a pool here, a small one, but one nonetheless. It is also the site of the second oldest letterbox on Dartmoor (the oldest being Cranmere Pool on the northern moor), this one was placed here in memory of the great Dartmoor writer William Crossing. Personally the best route in for me is from Great Gnats Head, but make the effort as the silence here is fantastic. A walk to Duck’s Pool can be found here. Ducks Pool
- Venford Reservoir – There are quite a few reservoirs on Dartmoor, but this one for me is the best. Its set in a lovely location on the side of Holne Moor, surrounded by trees and a cracking little path. The walk around the whole thing takes about 30 minutes at most, however you will take longer as there are plenty of places to stop and sit. A walk around here can be found on the link. Venford Reservoir
- Teignhead Farm – A brilliant spot, both for lunch and as a wildcamp spot. There’s a bit of protection here plus it is near to the high places on Dartmoor of Whitehorse Hill and the north moor. Its also close to the Fernworthy Forest providing good access. Walk is here Wild and Watern Tor
- Wigford Down – Probably the first proper walking place I experienced on Dartmoor. Its my default walk at least once a year. Each time from Cadover to Shaugh Bridge and back the other side of the River Plym. Its a brilliant place, with history, woodland, tors, rocks and bridges. A walk can be found here. Cadover Bridge, Shaugh Bridge and Wigford Down
LEAST FAVOURITE PLACES
I’m not going to lie and say its all wonderful. There are some tough spots on Dartmoor which is probably why the Army use it for practice. It can be a truly bleak place in bad weather which can affect opinions
- Stenga Tor – Easily my least favourite tor. The ridge along to Slipper Stones and all around this rocky outcrop is very boggy. More than it should be as well. I really don’t like it. Not even the great views make up for it Walk is here Fordsland Ledge
- Some of the hills – There are a few hills that really are grassy tussocky horrors. Places without paths that are usually in the middle of nowhere miles from anywhere. These include Black Hill (Cranmere), Maiden Hill, Black Dunghill, Ter Hill and Skir Hill. There’s no real reason for going other than a list tick and you will pass far more exciting places to get there, which makes the final arrival at these hills even more disappointing in comparison.
- Haytor – The busiest tor on the moor, and despite it being a spectacular tor and rock structure. It is just far too busy for this walker. For me I go early or late in the day and spend as little time as possible on this tor. Nearby Saddle Tor gives the same views without the hassle