Friday, 25 May 2018

Dartmoor: The Tors and Rocks in or near Castor Copse

Great Warmpit Copse Tor
Great Warmpit Copse Tor

I have to hand it to Max Piper, aka @torbagger, his dedicated scanning of Google Satellite View uncovered some wonderful granite outcrops in the woods to the south-east of Kelly Mine. He was eager to go there and eventually mustered up the courage to explore the area on his own. So impressed were Tim Jenkinson and I, when reading his blog post, we immediately set up a visit with Max as our guide.

I should point out that all of the land within this post is private. Although we did not see any signs warning us upon entry, there was one we saw later, after we had exited.

First up, the previously visited Kelly Mine Tor, named by Tim Jenkinson. It's located at SX 7969 8183, just off the bridleway that runs between the A382 and Bullaton Farm.

Kelly Mine Tor (upper)
Kelly Mine Tor (higher)
Worthy of a good rummage, this high tor has plenty to see and with the woodland being less dense than most, it is easy to get a sense of the scale.

Kelly Mine Tor (upper)
Kelly Mine Tor (higher)

We delved further into the woods, heading east, over a stream and up to a small but charming outcrop protruding from the hillside, that Max had named "Little Castor" at SX 7994 8174.

Little Castor
Little Castor
We reached a track, part of the old Hawkmoor Mine, where an adit can be seen below. We followed it a short while, to a band of mossy granite on the highest elevation of the copse, that were dubbed "Castor (North-East) Rocks" at SX 801 817.

Castor (North-East) Rocks
Castor (north-east) Rocks
Castor (North-East) Rocks
Castor (north-east) Rocks

In the woodland, it was hardly noticeable that our direction had changed and we were heading west-south-west. Max and Tim had dropped lower, to skirt the magnificent Castor Rock, whilst I investigated higher and I soon called them to join me when I found a wonderful view at the top.

View from Castor Rock
View from Castor Rock
This rocky summit, at SX 7999 8167, whilst not as big, reminds me of Shaptor Rock, which sits a kilometre away to the south-east and commands a similar view to the moors.

Castor Rock Summit Ledge
Castor Rock Summit

But Castor Rock is not all about the view. There are interesting side outcrops, and a curious pinnacle near the summit. Dropping lower gives the best view of the granite walls.

Castor Rock Pinnacle on Castor Rock
Castor Rock

Castor Rock
Castor Rock

Castor Rock
Castor Rock

Castor Rock
Castor Rock

Reluctantly leaving the jewel in the copse, we dropped down to another fine outcrop. A bit of some limbo under a barbed fence line, and we were beside "Lower Castor" at SX 7991 8162. Small but a wonderful find, and definitely separate from its grander neighbour.

Lower Castor
Lower Castor
Lower Castor
Lower Castor

We descended further, in a westerly, leaving Castor Copse and entering Warmpit Copse. Quite early on, we started to see granite; a particularly pleasing one was wedged shape, like the petrified toppled teardrop of a giant.

Giant wedge near Great Warmpit Copse Tor
Giant wedge in Warmpit Copse
Then the outcrops became more plentiful, and, rounding the hill, we came across a huge mass, that would prove to be the best tor of the day; "Great Warmpit Copse Tor".

Great Warmpit Copse Tor
Great Warmpit Copse Tor
At SX 798 817, it was difficult to know where to start when photographing this one. Multiple piles that were pleasing to the eye and a fine section that contoured the hill. The scale is difficult to convey.

Great Warmpit Copse Tor
Great Warmpit Copse Tor

Great Warmpit Copse Tor
Great Warmpit Copse Tor

Pond in Warmpit Copse
Pond in Warmpit Copse
We left Warmpit Copse, recrossing the stream, looking to rejoin the bridleway. But first we visited another find, at SX 7969 8177.

Kelly Mine Tor (lower)
Kelly Mine Tor (lower)

It soon became apparent that this was a bulbous lower section of Kelly Mine Tor that was just as impressive as its higher reaches. Of particular interest is a lone standing boulder just below the main bulk of the tor.

Lone standing boulder beside Kelly Mine Tor (lower)
Lone standing boulder at Kelly Mine Tor (lower)

Happy with our little expedition, and grateful to Max for showing us, we rejoined the public bridleway and made for Higher Knowle Wood and Lustleigh, where Tim would now show Max and I the outcrops hidden within. That, though, is for another post.