Tavy Cleave and Hare Tor Walking

A classic route exploring one of the more rugged parts of Dartmoor, this short round packs in a lot of variety, and plenty of rough ground. First follow Tavy Cleave up into the wild heart of the moor. A twisting gorge choked with boulders, and featuring a cascading river and steep little granite peaks, the cleave feels surprisingly remote and impressive. Both branches of the upper valley host extensive archaeological remains, including the prehistoric village of Watern Oke, where over 70 hut circles have been identified. The climate must have been more hospitable back in the day. Return via Hare Tor, a nice craggy summit with far-reaching views. Note: this route is on the army's Willsworthy Range. Live firing takes place at scheduled times, and when that's going on the area is closed to public access on pain of possible accidental death. If you spot any ordnance lying around, don't investigate! For info visit or call 0800 458 4868

Heading up Tavy Cleave en route to Hare Tor  © Dan Bailey -
Heading up Tavy Cleave en route to Hare Tor
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Detailed description

SX5373082349 From the car park take the track east to Nattor Farm. Here bear left to reach a leat which carries water from the River Tavy, a relic from copper mining in the area. A footpath follows the leat upstream, as it curves north into the mouth of Tavy Cleave. You'll soon reach the small building at the inlet.

SX5492982989 The path now continues along the north (true right) bank of the River Tavy, which forms a series of attractive waterfalls and pools. The trail is indistinct in places, and the going varies between wet-and-muddy and rough-and-rocky. In this neck of the woods a 'cleave' is a steep valley, and Tavy Cleave is one of the best and wildest of them. Continue up-valley as it makes a 90-degree bend, passing below rocky mini summits before reaching a wider area where the cleave splits into two branches. If you're interested in archaeology, Watern Oke is just up the right branch.

SX5604783783 Turning left, follow the west side of Rattle Brook upstream for a few hundred metres, staying some way above the stream. Here the trail braids into several vague strands, and the ground is particularly boggy. As you near Dead Lake, a side stream coming in from the left, bear left to begin the ascent towards Hare Tor. There's not much of a path, the rolling slope is featureless, and the military track marked on maps isn't as useful as you might think, so if in doubt it's probably worth taking a bearing for Hare Tor. As you ascend this little rocky peak soon comes into view, topped with an army marker pole.

SX5505884235 Descend quite steeply south from the summit, then follow easy ground southwest to Ger Tor, which overlooks the mouth of Tavy Cleave. From here the car park at Lanehead can be seen, and it's a straightforward descent, crossing a footbridge over the leat as you go.

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