Great Links Tor and Surrounding tors

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JUNE 2016

A 7 mile Dartmoor Circular Walk

The Dartmoor 365 squares passed through in this walk

This 7-mile circular walk takes in the Okehampton Range, so it would be wise to find out whether or not any military exercises are taking place on the day you choose to participate in this walk.

It takes in 7 squares of the Dartmoor 365 (get your copy of the book here ) – D5, E6, E7, F6, G12, F13, and F14

For this walk, we return once more to Sourton, and take a 13km walk (8 miles) over some pretty bleak terrain at first, but with some incredible views as the day goes on, as we take in such Tors as Great Links Tor, Brat Tor and Arms Tor. However, with a climb of 300 metres, this is a challenging yet rewarding hike.

Once again, Dartmoor is a dangerous place and not to be taken lightly and so we highly recommend a map and compass to be taken along with this walk.

This was our third hike on the moors, and once again we were lucky enough to be blessed with some cracking weather. For your information, this is also where Summit or Nothing was born, and the first videos to feature on our brand new channel. Anyway, you don’t want to hear all that – you just want to get on with the walk in hand.

So here goes….

Climbing up the face of Sourton Tors

1. Start at the Church of St Thomas a Becket Carpark in Sourton (directly opposite the bizarre highwayman pub) as we did in our first ever walk. But this time, instead of traversing Sourton Tors, we are going to climb them straight away. So this is a 250m plus climb straight off, and you can take a longer and more gradual route to the top, by walking up the right-hand side of the tor, but we chose to go through the rocks and scramble up to the trig point.

If I was you, I would stay here a while and take in the amazing surrounding views, because from here it gets temporarily bleak as you make your way over Corn Ridge towards Kitty Tor.

2. So from Sourton, head South-East, and prepare yourself for a long and thankless walk. You could take in Branscombes Loaf en-route, something we were either unaware of or didn’t take in for some reason, but it probably would have broken the slog across some barren moorland.

The walk across Corn Ridge is a pretty constant climb for about 3km, and there really isn’t much to look at. Actually, when arriving at Kitty Tor we were not that impressed as to what we had found, either, but we are all for the Tor bagging, so at least we had ticked it off. A meagre collection of granite with a flagpole in it was hardly the monumental landmark we had hoped for, but at 583m above sea level, it is the highest part of the day.

3. Now head South-West and you will soon stumble across the remains of the Rattlebrook Peat works from here you can join the dirt track road that you follow West for a fair while until Great Links Tor (like a large Battleship on the horizon) is practically South of you. This is where we left the road and cut across the moor to reach the main Tor of the day, and our halfway point, Great Links Tor.

The lads of Summit or Nothing summiting Great Links Tor

If you have it in you to climb on to the top of the pancake stack of granite, the views are something else. You can see the neighbouring Tors, including Brat Tor and you can also see right back across to Sourton (now a mere speck on the horizon). This is a great place to stop for your dinner and regather your strength. But be glad to know that the most faceless and bleak part of your journey is out of the way, from here on in there are some fantastic Tors to take in.  

4. Head South West again, for a little over 1 1/2 km, and you will reach Brat Tor, which is home to the huge granite monument, Widgery Cross – the largest cross on Dartmoor (although built out of granite blocks and not carved from a single piece). This is not a war memorial as you may think, although it does bare some resemblance. This cross was erected by William Widgery in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. From here you can over look the Mary Tavy area that we visited last time, with a decent pair of binoculars you can actually make out the car park at Wilsworthy too.

Nath taking a picture of the impressive Brat Tor and Widgery Cross

A short walk to the North and you reach Arms Tor, another decent Tor to take in some more views, and then from here continue North towards the huge mound that is Great Nodden. There is a Cairne to take in at the top here, so grab a stone and place it on top, as is the tradition.  

From here its a long stroll back to Sourton, you will pick up the dirt track that was the Rattlebrook Tramway, and this leads you pretty much all the way back to the summit of Sourton Tor.

When reaching Sourton, you can pretty much take in every location that you have visited today, and get some idea of the scale of this desolate but awesome landscape. Now all that is left is a simple clamber back down the Eastern side of Sourton and back to the church carpark.

We hope that should you choose to join us on this walk, that you are as blessed with the weather as we were, but if not, well, that’s just part of the Dartmoor experience anyway, so don’t be too hard on yourselves, eh? Keep posted for more walks coming soon, and don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more hilarious and scenic adventures, as well as follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Below is the video of this walk, so you have some idea of what to expect. Please enjoy, and feel free to drop us a comment. Many thanks!

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