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  • Writer's pictureJodie Newton

Hound Tor, Medieval village, Greator Rocks, Becka Brook and possibly Smallacombe Rocks. Short walk

I took this photo on one of my solo dog walks, the clouds were swirling and undulating.
Hound Tor on the way back up from the Medieval village, March 2017

My lovely Husband likes to walk a circular route but I'm more than happy to walk somewhere and back the same way. This prevents me from getting lost 😁 and I've managed to gradually increase my confidence going a little further each time, when I'm on my own. I'm not saying I'm incompetent, but my own self belief sometimes needs a boost even though I'm now in my 40's.

One of my favourite places to do this is around Hound Tor.

Parking at the Hound Tor Car park also known as Swallerton Cross car park SX 739 792 take the path up to Hound Tor opposite.

Thought to have inspired a number of artists and writers, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his famous sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles, Hound Tor is a popular spot to explore.

In October 1995 one of the stacks known as ‘The Hound’ fell down. It is estimated that around 500 tons of rock toppled from the Tor so take care if clambering over the Granite.

Once you've had your fill of the views and poking around for potential Letter boxes (see the post named 'A love of Dartmoor') you can head down the other side to the abandoned Medieval Village an English Heritage site.

My children and I love it there and it always feels very welcoming even when I'm on my own with the dog (There are various ghostly anecdotes surrounding the area but we've never had anything but a pleasant time).

Hound Tor Medieval village, March 2017

The deserted medieval village (SX 746 788) lies about a quarter of a mile to the south-east of the Tor. It consists of the remains of longhouses and barns which were shown to date from the 13th century, though the area may have been used for centuries before as there is a prehistoric farmstead 400 metres north-west of the settlement, and to the south are some Bronze Age hut circles.

Medieval farmers brought their animals indoors, creating the typical Dartmoor longhouse – a rectangular building in which the family lived at one end and the animals at the other. The walls were about 6 to 7 ft high and had thatched roofs. There were at least four of these longhouses at Hound Tor, each with its own barn.

To the South of the village is Greator Rocks another picturesque spot for Photos, Letterboxes and playing.

Greator Rocks, January 2019

Between the Medieval settlement and Greator Rocks is a path marked on the OS map that leads down the side of the hill to Becka Brook. Head down here for a paddle but be prepared for a climb back up on your return. It is well worth the effort however, as it is extremely pretty with foot bridges and over hanging trees.

If you're feeling adventurous or have older children who are capable you can then head over the Brook and up to Smallacombe Rocks, where the dog and I like to sit quietly with a snack and a dog biscuit (for her not me). I have been know to take a book and just enjoy the peace before heading back in time for the school run (if you remember what that is, 14 weeks of home schooling during lock down has made them seem like a distant memory).

There are more hut circles here dating from the Bronze age. I love hut circles, my imagination runs away with me thinking about the huts inhabitants and what kind of existence they must have had.

Smallacombe Rocks, looking back towards Greator Rocks and Hound Tor

When you're done with your adventure simply turn round and head back over the brook and up the hill, retracing your steps. Facing Hound Tor from Greator Rocks the foot path that leads to the left is the one I find easiest (to the right on the way there), though both sides of the Tor are worth investigating. Don't forget that Dogs should be on leads during lambing and nesting season and always under control. Take all littler home with you and if you or your youngsters get caught short that should be bagged and taken home too just like dog poo.

Enjoy your adventure.

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