Quarries, old Railways, Bits of London Bridge, Tors, plunge pools, and Merrivale Neolithic site.
Updated: Jul 25, 2020
This walk can easily be broken into easier smaller sections.
For this walk we parked at Four Winds Car park situated on the B3357 from Tavistock to Princetown SX 560 748, which used to be Foggintor school 1896 -1936.
The Princetown Railway was a 10¼ mile single track railway line that ran from Yelverton on the Plymouth to Tavistock line, to Princetown via four stations, Dousland, Burrator and Sheepstor Halt, Ingra Tor Halt and King Tor Halt. The line closed in 1956 and today forms part of a popular cycling and walking route.
There is a lot to see around the quarries so take your time and explore.
This is where those of you seekeing a short walk will have plenty to see with very little effort.
We arrived at 8.40am and the car park was already fairly full due to campers who were seemingly all pitched in and around the quarries.
Head out of the car park and turn right up the hill keeping parallel to the road until you hit the track that leads South to Yellowmead farm.
Once you reach the start of the rail track the walk is fairly easy and you could happily spend a couple of hours simply pottering in this area if you have youngsters (and adults) in your group who are reluctant walkers 😂.
Many people have suggested that swimming in Foggintor quarry is a nice thing to do. However I wasn’t keen on the idea. The water isn’t really “flowing” and I couldn’t help thinking it may not be as fresh and clean as my more preferable wild swim spots. Also I found a lovely large, fat black leach as we were exploring leading me to think that where there’s one there’s more. The thought of emerging from the pool of water with a few new friends attached put me off.
From the quarry we continue on the old tracks to a bridleway, nip down this well used path with Swelltor Quarries on your right until you hit the railway track again.
Swelltor was one of the larger quarries in the area and was operational until the early twentieth century.
Turn Left along the rail track to Ingra Tor quarry SX 554 721 with Leeden Tor on the hill in front of you.
All along this path are old railway bridges and pretty views across the valley to Vixen Tor (Vixen Tor is on private land and inaccessible).
Ingra Tor quarry is an attractive and quiet little resting place. We spent some time here taking photos and opened the infamous wine gums.
From Ingra Tor there is a footpath opposite that leads back down to the marked bridleway. Turn right onto the bridalway and make your way back up the hill to the railway track again. This part of the walk crosses a stream but it's fairly easy.
Turn left at the top of the hill back onto the railway and head towards King's Tor.
As you walk along the disused railway, you will pass a set of giant carved stones abandoned on the side of the grassy trail.
The stones are partially-finished corbels for the Old London Bridge, painstakingly fashioned from granite in 1903.
From the corner of the track that skirts around Kings Tor head off down the hill towards a stone wall with a large wooden stile.
Aiming for Hucken Tor and another marked bridleway in the trees.
This part of the walk was a welcome relief. The shade and tranquility of the ancient trees were a breath of fresh air from the contrasting stark landscape and abandoned quarry buildings on the hill above.
Heading right onto the bridleway walk until you come to a bridge crossing Longash Brook.
This is where we found the most beautiful cascading waterfalls and plunge pools just down stream on the left hand side and is where we stopped for some wild swimming and a spot of lunch.
This area is is beautiful and looks like it's come straight off the pages of a fantasy novel, the 'Lothlorien' of Dartmoor. Mossy underfoot, ancient trees and bubbling waterfalls. If you choose to search for it, please be respectful and leave it in the state you found it in.
Having spent a good hour sitting under the icy cold waterfalls and enjoying the peace we headed back up to and over the bridge on the bridleway.
Keep going until you come to the main road. carefuly follow the road back up the hill until you come to Merrivale Neolithic settlements and ceremonial complex.
This is another part of the walk, easily accessible from the car park which would be a lovely little trip for unenthusiastic walkers.
(simply head left down the hill from the car park at the start of your walk instead of right)
Merrivale includes many of the archaeological features associated with the Neolithic to Middle Bronze Age (about 2500–1000 BC). The monuments here comprise a group of round houses; two double stone rows and one single row; a small stone circle, with two standing stones nearby; and a number of cairns (earthen mounds), associated with burials. Nearest to the road is the area of a typical Bronze Age settlement, a large cluster of round houses. The huge rounded stone here, often mistaken for a chambered tomb, is in fact a post-medieval apple-crusher stone, used in the process of cider-making.
from the stone rows head back uphill to the car park and jobs a good 'n'. (Roughly