Sunday, 18 February 2018

Dartmoor: More Tors and Rocks near Hennock

Beadon Rock
Beadon Rock
The hills and woods on the eastern edge of Dartmoor really are a treasure trove of hidden outcrops. Rarely visited, many are more impressive than the more well known, and I always look forward to a walk in this area. I can have no better guide than Tim Jenkinson, who, on this trip, was introducing me to a couple of his previous finds as well as seeking out a couple of new outcrops that a fellow tor bagger, Max Piper, had recently discovered.


Parking at Hennock, we made our way up Bell Lane to Chericombehead, where we turned right into Beadon Lane. Some 500 metres down the road, Tim pointed out some granite in the bushes; little did I realise what a giant was being hidden, so close to the road.

Beadon Rock
Beadon Rock

We entered the woods further down the lane, via a gated track. It wasn't long before we reached the large outcrop, named Beadon Rock, at SX 8209 8136.

Sections are overgrown and well camouflaged, but you get a good idea of its extent, especially if you persevere and reach its moss summit.

Beadon Rock from the top
Beadon Rock from the top

Tree planting near Beadon Rock
Tree planting near Beadon Rock

Rather than return to the lane, we continued on a woodland track that we could see would take us to Easterndown and Great Rock. Mentioning the latter, we passed a western entrance to Great Rock Mine, at SX 8197 8163.

Great Rock Mine - west entrance
Great Rock Mine - west entrance

Further along the track, we began to find significant outcrops within Easterndown Copse. These were too extensive to ignore, and we split them as higher and lower sections to ensure the whole area is visited by the tor bagger.

Eastern Down Copse Tor (higher outcrops)
Easterndown Copse Tor (higher outcrops)

Easterndown Copse Tor (higher) at SX 8203 8177, stretches across the top of the down, a collection of multiple outcrops of differing sizes.

Eastern Down Copse Tor (higher outcrops)
Easterndown Copse Tor (higher outcrops)

Eastern Down Copse Tor (higher outcrops)
Easterndown Copse Tor (higher outcrops)

They are close to Great Rock, but not really connected. This huge dome is well known, thanks to the old mine, which closed as late as 1969. Walking off path is discouraged around here, because of mine shafts, but close to the rock itself appears stable enough.

Great Rock
Great Rock

It's a wonderful tor, best seen in the winter. At SX 8216 8184, be sure to explore it thoroughly, it won't disappoint.

Great Rock
Great Rock

Great Rock
Great Rock

We dropped down to the path beside Beadon Brook, then turned to head for Beadon Lane. This is where you begin to see the many piles of Easterndown Copse Tor (lower).

Eastern Down Copse Tor (lower outcrops)
Easterndown Copse Tor (lower outcrops)

Tim had spotted these on a previous visit so was pleased to get to visit them properly today. We climbed up amongst them, taking a grid reference SX 8196 8180.

Eastern Down Copse Tor (lower outcrops)
Easterndown Copse Tor (lower outcrops)

Eastern Down Copse Tor (lower outcrops)
Easterndown Copse Tor (lower outcrops)

We left the copse, crossing Beadon Lane, to enter Tottiford Copse at a gate. Although this copse looks to be private, we saw no signs or padlocks barring our entrance and continued along a track beside the brook.

We met two men along the track who were butchering a freshly shot stag. We confirmed it was okay to continue along our way, and moved on swiftly in search of another one of Tim's discoveries; Tottiford Copse Tor.

Tottiford Copse Tor
Tottiford Copse Tor

With a grid reference of SX 8130 8204, this small tidy outcrop lies above the rapidly disappearing track. Stepping up to the foot of the granite, you notice a large triangular overhang at its eastern end. I looked to see if it was possible to access the top, but I couldn't find a way; probably better achieved from above.

Tottiford Copse Tor
Tottiford Copse Tor

Tottiford Copse Tor
Tottiford Copse Tor

Given permission to continue through the copse, along the track, we soon found it difficult to find a route out. At the edge of the woodland, there were still a couple of fields, these were quiet and they were easier than finding a way through the trees. We came out to a byway which led us passed Tottiford House, to the reservoir.

Trenchford Reservoir
Trenchford Reservoir

Now it was time to find two outcrops that were new to both Tim and I. We had been alerted to them, by Max Piper, who can be found on Instagram as both Beautiful Dartmoor and Tor Bagger.

We followed the west bank of Trenchford Reservoir, crossing the bridge at the north-west end where "Trenchford Tor" can be spied in woods, at  SX 8028 8296.

Trenchford Tor
Trenchford Tor

It's a good find. A low set of moss green outcrops that are worthy of inclusion. Well done to Max for spotting them!

Trenchford Tor
Trenchford Tor

Top of Trenchford Tor
Trenchford Tor

The same can be said for the next find, Kennick Rocks. About a kilometre away, at SX 8039 8378,  This, while a low mass of granite, is much bigger than Trenchford Tor, covering a large area to the south of Kennick Reservoir. It covers much of this small hill.

Kennick Rocks
Kennick Rocks

Kennick Rocks
Kennick Rocks

Best spotted and accessed from a disused car park on the south-west edge of Kennick Reservoir, there is also an old quarry to the east, evidence of the size of Kennick Rocks.

Kennick Rocks
Kennick Rocks

Kennick Rocks
Kennick Rocks
Kennick Reservoir
Kennick Reservoir

A last look up Kennick Reservoir, we turned south along the track beside Tottiford Reservoir, back to Beadon Lane, retracing our steps to Hennock and an excellent sunday roast in the Palk Arms, topping off a very successful day!