Wednesday Walks – Eastern Dartmoor Tors Walk
We feel it’s about time we provided the route for a longer and more challenging walk! At 14 miles in length this particular route around the East side of Dartmoor takes in several tors and is ideal for an all-day activity. If you’re coming to stay with us in our holiday cottages at Bowerland this is a suitable walk you may wish to undertake on one of your days here.
The starting point is a little picturesque village called Widecombe-in-the-moor, which has several car parks you can use. From here, head in a north direction for roughly an hour along Hamel Down. Along the way you’ll pass standing stones, boundary stones and Bronze Age barrows.
Eventually you will reach Grimspound – a circle of boulders that have been in place for thousands of years – well worth a look! From here take a bridle path in an easterly direction for roughly 1 mile beneath King’s Barrow, passing through a wooden valley and into Heathercombe Woods. Keep going downhill until you reach a hamlet, before turning right towards Natsworthy Gate. Here you’ll follow a bridleway to a memorial called Jay’s Grave, for a young farm girl named Kitty Jay who tragically committed suicide in the 18th century after suffering several wrongdoings (legend has it she makes occasional ghostly appearances).
Next head southwards towards Hayne Down, before passing onto Hound Tor where you may wish to spend some time. When you’re ready to leave, follow the footpath to the left (in the direction of some large rocks on the horizon), passing to the left of Greator Rocks. Head downhill through woodland (marked ‘via Leighton’), cross over a stream and on the other side of the woodland you should head uphill (passing through an old tramway) until you reach Haytor. Here there are steps cut into the stone to reach its 457m summit – well worth climbing for an incredible view.
The last steps on this route are to head downhill and westerly towards Saddle, Pil and Top tors, which you should be able to find from the top of Haytor. Once you’ve done these you’re nearly there – you should be able to see Widecombe church a few kilometres away that will guide you back to the village and the car park we started from.
About the Author: Chris Green works in the office at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs, using his technical expertise to assist wherever needed. In his spare time he likes playing guitar and bass, and hiking around Dartmoor.