This walk is a difficult one, and I must add A WET ONE! I walked this in the middle of a rare dry summer and although the terrain was relatively firm for me, it was apparent by the terrain that this is a very marshy section, with quite a lot of Bog Cotton around. Stenga Tor was particularly wet, too. I would probably avoid this walk in wet seasons.
10 Miles – Difficult – Rough
HAZARDS – RIVER CROSSING
Points of Interest – Gren Tor, Hunt Tor, Kitty Tor, Steng-A-Tor, Green Tor, Bleak House Ruin, The Dunna Goats, Great Links Tor, Little Links Tor, Sourton Tors
You can watch the video of this walk HERE!
This walk was a route that I had plotted during the lockdown in the spring / summer of 2020, and the conditions were pretty much perfect when I set out. It is a tough walk, and some areas are wetter than others, and some views are better than others, but its a great one for ticking off a cluster of tors in one day, including one of my favourite tors, Great Links!
The tors actually seem to get more impressive as the walk progresses, with the likes of Gren and Hunt Tor being the least spectacular, and the likes of Great Links and Sourton making a well earned climax.
Another highlight of this walk is the visit to Bleak House Ruins, a house that used to home the foreman of the nearby Rattlebrook Peteworks, and the location of one of our first winter wild camps, although on our visits since, we cannot believe that we had actually managed to find a decent pitch on this debris strewn location.
This walk keeps out of the Mililtary ranges, altthough you do get close to both Willsworthy and Okehampton Ranges, so be careful not to stray off course on any days that there are exercises taking place.
1. From Sourton’s Church of St Thomas a Becket you once again head up onto the moor beneath Sourton Tors, this time, take a right undernieth and following the bridleway, work your way around the southern side of Sourton, making your way up Lake Down.
If you look back down the valley to the west you will see the viaduct, now a stunning vantage point along the Granite Way.
Follow the path as it contours along the lip of the valley, working around the western edge of Corn Ridge.
2. With Great Links Tor coming into view ahead of you, you eventually come to a bit of a fork in the track, you will want to take the left hand path, and head up onto the moor towards Woodcock Hill, where you will eventually arrive at the first tor, Gren Tor. Its not such an impressive site as you arrive from the North West.
3. From here, its a little less than a kilometre stomp in a south-east direction over to Hunt Tor, but this is where the terrain begins to become a little uncertain beneath your feet in wet conditions.
4. Once at Hunt Tor, you want to make your way over more marshy land to Kitty Tor. On the OS map it looks like a track leads us over there, but once up there it becomes apparent that it’s more like a rough dried up river bed or channel carved through the marshland. I decided to head over the moor land to the north of the channel, as it seemed better terrain.
5. Kitty Tor is an isolated tor, with fantastic views over the West Okement River, and to the highest tors of the moor, High Willhays and Yes Tor, as well as Fordsland Ledge and Lints tor beneath that! At the summit here there is a range marker, and range hut, but you needn’t pass into the military range.
6. A bit of there and back again as we now head North over to Stenga Tor. Rough tussocky ground lay between the two tors, but it must be said that the ground around Stenga Tor was extremely wet, even during the dry period in which I paid a visit! Once you’ve taken in Stenga Tor, head back to Kitty Tor via the same route.
7. A thankless walk now over to tor number 5, Green Tor. Its a little over a kilometre of walking in a south west direction, and across more marshy tussocky terrain, with no apparent track to follow. Once you arrive here, you can see Bleak House Ruins come into view below to the west. When you have taken enough of Green Tor in, then head and have a look at the ruins themselves, and marvel at the small patch of land on which we once camped.
8. Head west form here, hop over the Rattlebrook, and start to ascend the bank up to the two Dunna Goat tors. First taking in Lower Dunna Goat, and then Higher Dunna Goat, and before you know it, you will be preparing to take in the highlight of the day, Great Links Tor.
9. About 700m of marshy ground to cover from Higher Dunna Goat, heading north-west towards the impressive Great Links, which, as long as the weather is clear, you will have had in your sites for the majority of the day anyway. Great Links is a fantastic tor to explore, climb up the pancake granite stones, touch the trig point and take in some of the best views across Devon and Cornwall that Dartmoor has to offer.
Although it is much the same view as from Sourton Tor, you are higher here (586m), and the additional height as well as the sheer drop down towards Great Nodden to the west makes you aware of the additional height as you look back over the patchwork fields rolling off into the distance.
10. A little way down the western bank of Great Links Tor you will find Little Links Tor, which is worth taking in whilst you are here, and becomes the 9th tor of the day. Now, you want to head back to Sourton Tors from here, and whilst you can make it via Great Nodden, its quite a steep hill to descend, only to ascend again, so I headed back up to Great Links, before following the contour line from the northern side of the tor until you reach the stony track.
11. This is the same track that you were on this morning, and once you have hit it, head left and follow the track for about a kilometre as it winds back to where you left it at the beginning of the walk. You now tread the same ground for a while, but when you reach the point where the path heads back down the Lake Down valley, you simply head straight over to Sourton Tors.
12. After taking in the views and touching the trig at the summit of Sourton Tor, you can either descend the rocky face back to the car park, or head back around the Northern side of the tor, following a gradual and well walked path around to the gate above the car park.