• Jodie Newton

Brat Tor, Great Links Tor, Hunt Tor and Gren Tor 6.5 miles

Updated: May 2

Brat Tor and Widgery Cross

One of our family traditions is that we go to Dartmoor on Mother’s Day. It started years ago when my birthday and Mothers day fell on the same weekend. We took a cake to the top of a Tor and sat in the sunshine, wrapped up warm and ate the cake in peace and quiet, It was perfect.

When we are close to nature, we are not generally surrounded by entertainment technology or juggling our day to day chores. Simple, good company and family conversation are the best way for me to “whoosah” or chill out.

Thus far we have been incredibly lucky with the weather, each year the sun seems to shine and off we toddle.

Our day this year was extremely windy, despite the glorious sunshine. There were gusts of up to 28mph from an Easterly direction meaning that the temperature was unpredictable for the duration of our walk. Our coats were off and on, depending on the amount of shelter from the unpredictable squall.

Yet another reason to make sure you travel prepared. A rain proof coat is also wind proof and it is therefore essential when walking on Dartmoor that you carry a waterproof coat.

For a more detailed list of things you should probably have with you please see my previous posts on wet weather walking and “Do’s and Do not’

stepping stones over the Lyd

We have been wanting to get up to Brat Tor for a few years now.

The stone cross on its summit at 452m is Widgery’s Cross, built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victorias Golden Jubilee. It is the only Dartmoor cross built from granite blocks rather than having been carved from one larger piece and is the tallest of the Dartmoor crosses.

So this year Brat Tor was where we decided to start our adventure.

Parking at the free car park (SX 525 852), just up the track by the side of the Dartmoor Inn on the A386. Drive along the lane and through the gate remembering to close it securely behind you. From the car park, walk East until you reach the river Lyd where you will find a foot bridge and stepping stones. On a clear day, as it was on our visit, both the Tor and the cross are clearly visible.

We climbed the abrupt hill, continuing East along the bridleway marked on the map towards the summit.

On the climb to Brat Tor

It was a fairly tough climb though not as difficult as it had first appeared from the the stepping stones, slow and steady won the race and we were rewarded with fabulous views from each rest stop during our ascent.

There is something special in the climb, an element of mindfulness as one concentrates on the destination and once you reach the top, savouring the achievement and being present in the moment.

On a clear day Brat Tor certainly rewards its climbers with beautiful panoramic scenery though it is prone to high winds and caution is advised if you choose to clamber right up to Widgery cross.

From an extremely windy Brat Tor we headed back to the bridleway and headed East to an area of tin workings around Dicks Well.

At the boundary stone in the track we turned left and headed North to Great Links Tor.

Great Links Tor

Great Links Tor SX 550 867 is a giant of the North Moor. It stands at 586M. It is one of the most impressive groups of granite outcrops and is capped on the west side by a triangulation point. Trig points were used to map out the shape of Britain as part of a project that started in 1936 and helped form the ordnance survey maps we use today. The views from Great links Tor are beautiful and this was where we chose to have a very peaceful lunch, chatting to each other and listening to Skylarks as they rose to the sky to distract us from their ground nests.

Having finished our lunch and remembering to take all our litter back home with us we walked From Great Links Tor, north-northeast to Hunt Tor via a well worn footpath which crossed the military track halfway.

Hunt Tor Logan Stone

Hunt Tor is located on a spur of Woodcock Hill and is home to an unmarked Logan Stone. Logan stones are large stones that are so finely balanced that the application of just a small force causes them to rock, though I would advise against trying them out.

From Hunt Tor we travelled North west to our final Tor of the day, Gren Tor. There is a track marked on the map but it is more of a footpath and certainly not hard going.

Gren Tor may not be as impressive in its structure as some of the other Tors we visited but it’s situation in the swathes of yellowed Moorland grass give it a tranquil sort of beauty. From Gren Tor we followed the track Northwest until we found where it crossed the infant river Lyd, then turned West and dropped down to the Rattlebrook Tramway.

Rattlebrook Tramway

The Rattlebrook tramway was built in 1879 for the Duchy of Cornwall. It was seven miles long and in that distance rose 1000ft. It was part of the Rattlebrook peat works and for most of its existence was operated by horse. The track is clearly marked on the map as it curves around Great Nodden and we followed this back to Nodden Gate, then carried on following the path and wall across the cow field until we got back to the track that we started on by the car park.

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