Merrivale – A Dartmoor Circular Walk

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The Dartmoor 365 squares you pass through on this walk

This 12KM was actually two separate walks – we had visited Kingstor in a previous week, but as its not too far out of the way, I thought I would incorporate it into this walk.

The Merrivale area is a fantastic spot for exploring, with numerous antiquities and tors all in close proximity to one another. We also camped during this route, choosing Great Mis Tor to be the location of our very first Dartmoor Hike and Wild Camp. This walk is strenuous in places and there are two river crosses, so take extra care in wet seasons.

This walk takes in 6 squares of the John Heywoods Dartmoor 365 – L4, L5, L6, M5, M6, N6, to see our progress so far, have a look at our interactive Dartmoor 365 map.

As always, I would like to mention the importance of being prepared on the Moor by taking your own Dartmoor OS map and compass to keep track of your whereabouts, Dartmoor can be particularly disorientating in low visibility.  

Merrivale viewed from Great Staple Tor

1. Merrivale is situated along the B3357 between Tavistock and Two Bridges, find the car park in the little wooded area about a kilometre up the road from the Dartmoor Inn (heading towards Two Bridges) . You should see Kings Tor to the South and Great Mis to the North from here. Kingstor is going to be the first port of call on this walk, so head towards this, baring in mind that there is a small river to cross, so look for a suitable place to hop over. From here, simply climb up the side of the Tor, weaving in between the rocks scattered along the way

2. From Kingstor you are going to back track, heading down almost back to your car park, but veering off slightly to the left, in search of a standing stone, and from here, to the impressive stone row. After taking this in head down the hill until you find the gate that brings you out onto the road just up from the S bends. Now head down the road for 1 km, passing the Dartmoor Inn and the Merrivale quarry, until you are directly south of Middle Staple Tor. Now head up to there.

Merrivale Stone Row, Dartmoor

It is a steep climb, and over to the right is Little Staple Tor, which we missed, but if you wish you can take it in.

3. From Middle Staple, we then chose to head North West, taking in Cox Tor, situated a kilometer away. The ground dips away and then rises again, and as you arrive at Cox Tor, you will notice the strange undulation of the ground in front of the tor. After you take in the trig point on top of Cox, head back East towards the small pond / puddle at the bottom of the dip, before heading up towards Great Staple Tor.

Great Staple is a great place to stop for your lunch, and take in the huge variety of stones and rocks. On a clear day, its also the perfect place to take in the area that you have so far taking in and have yet to accomplish. Looking in the distance in a South-East direction, you can even make out the small patch of trees that mark the starting car park.

Heading Towards Roos Tor, Merrivale Dartmoor, Summit or Nothing

4. From Great Staple Tor, you will head just slightly East of North, towards Roos Tor. Roos Tor is quite an interesting Tor, with lots of marker stones surrounding it, and when you look at them from the Tor’s Summit, the stones seem to sit on the different tracks leading off across the moor.

5. The next part of the walk is the longest trek between Tor’s of the day, and its a tough walk too. Heading down towards the river isn’t too bad, but once down, looking up at Great Mis towering up above you is daunting. This is a massive climb from the river to the summit of Great Mis, a real challenge and a climb of 160m. The river is also a lot larger than that we crossed earlier at Kingstor, so be sure to find somehwere safe to cross, taking extra care in wet conditions.

Great Mis is a massive Tor, and there is plenty to explore up there if you want to spend the time.  

6. Finally, we are heading back to the car park, so head South and pick up the track just ahead of Little Mis Tor, which you can take in if you like to. This track will lead you all the way back to the main road, and brings you out directly across the road from the car park.  

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