Monday, 15 May 2017

Dartmoor: Gibby Combe Tor

Above Holy Brook, beside Gibby Combe Tor
Above Holy Brook, near Gibby Combe Tor
Fresh from a successful walk in Holne Chase, Rich and I said farewell to Tim Jenkinson, then headed to Holne to seek out Gibby Combe Tor. This was a significant tor in that it was my last publicly accessible one to bag on the Social Hiking list. The remainder would require either permission or stealth!

We parked in the village hall car park, near the excellent Holne Community Shop and Tea Rooms which we would be visiting after our walk.

Church in Holne
Church at Holne
We left the village on a footpath through the churchyard, joining Michelcombe Lane down to the hamlet of the same name. Passing straight through, the lane loses its metalled surface, and begins a 130 metre climb, between fields. to the open moor.

The lane from Michelcombe
The lane from Michelcombe

Our climb reached its end at a moor gate, but the track, now labelled "Sandy Way", climbs another 200 metres in height up to Holne Ridge and passing the Avon Head, before finishing south-west of Skir Hill.

We, however, turned left, handrailing the drystone walls part way before the track led us down to Holy Brook.

Following the wall into Gibby Combe
Following the wall in Gibby Combe

Gibby Combe
Gibby Combe

We looked to take the bank of the watercourse, towards Gibby Combe Wood, but the path veered away and ascended to avoid the steepening terrain where the waters began to tumble. We kept high until the ground appeared easier but it was still a tricky descent into the woods. 

Holy Brook
Holy Brook

Holy Brook near Gibby Combe Tor
Holy Brook

At the intersection where Holy Brook meets Gibby's Combe, we found the outcrop that takes its name. It is a small non-granite pile, but its character far outweighs its stature. Decorated in moss, ferns, and creeping foliage, it has a wild feel to it, and the combe it sits within is a world away from the arable fields above.

Gibby Combe Tor
Gibby Combe Tor

Gibby Combe Tor
Gibby Combe Tor

Gibby Combe Tor
Gibby Combe Tor

Above Holy Brook, near Gibby Combe Tor
Above Holy Brook
We found a route up through the tor, giving us a better view of the higher course of Gibby Combe.

Gibby Combe
Gibby Combe
That route then brought us out to more stable open ground overlooking the canopy of the combe and beyond. This elevated position looks as though it is claimed by bracken in the summer, though and I imagine this tor will be a tougher prospect to bag when it reaches maturity.


Back out of the Combe
Back out of Gibby Combe

All that was left was to return to Michelcombe Lane and retrace our steps back to the  Holne Community Shop and Tea Rooms for a well earned bite to eat. A satisfying little walk that takes a couple of hours.

The route we took: