Dartmoor - The Haytor Down Circuit Walking

The eastern edge of Dartmoor offers a great circuit based around the focal point of Haytor Rocks. While this is only a short route, it is scenically spectacular. The round takes in Haytor, Saddle Tor, Rippon Tor, Holwell Tor, Hound Tor and Black Hill. As well as the wild granite tors the area also passes the ancient settlement of Hound Tor and the disused tramways of old quarries. It makes a pleasant introduction to Dartmoor, as whilst the terrain is typical of the area, it's not as wild and remote as much of the interior of the moor. The area is extremely popular and often simply finding and staying on the right path (of many) is the biggest issue.

Early morning on Haytor, Dartmoor © Sean Kelly  © Sean Kelly
Early morning on Haytor, Dartmoor © Sean Kelly
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Detailed description

SX7626476993 From the car park walk up to the prominent and spectacular Haytor Rocks. It is possible to scramble to the top but the rock is extremely polished and slippery and care is needed.

SX7577377068 From the highest point on the left hand summit, descend toward the road until you can head southwest parallel to the road on a faint path towards Saddle Tor. Pass over this and carry on in the same direction to a car park on the road.
Haytor Lowman and Saddle Tor  © Dale Berry
Haytor Lowman and Saddle Tor
© Dale Berry, Nov 2017

SX7480876153 Head southeast from the car park for 100m or so to pick up an ancient wall, and walk parallel to it on the path until you cross another wall. The path turns right here and heads up towards the summit of Rippon Tor. From the summit head northwest towards a road junction.

SX7421776079 Make your way back along the left side of the road, passing a U-Shaped layby to reach the car park below Saddle Tor again. Head almost due north on a path that starts to pick up a field boundary where after 500m you reach the top right corner of the walled-in area.

SX7489276688 From the corner of the wall head NNW to the end of a tramway and follow it to the col between Haytor and Holwell Tor. Head up and over Holwell Tor and take the path that leads down to Becka Brook.

SX7477077864 Cross the stream and continue up for 400m to where a path heads along a wall, to then cross another wall. As you cross this wall the path forks: take the left fork up to the summit of Hound Tor, a complex area of boulders and miniature towers that can be confusing and spooky in the mist.
Haytor from Hound Tor, Dartmoor.  © Peter Bailey
Haytor from Hound Tor, Dartmoor.
© Peter Bailey, May 2009

SX7426278967 Head southwest from Hound Tor down a path and turn right and then first left to the ruins of the medieval settlement. Continue along the path as it descends into a wooded area back towards Becka Brook and up the other side. The path doglegs to take in Smallacombe Tor before heading up to the rounded summit of Black Hill.

SX7607078657 Head southeast along the crest of the hill for 500m to its southern end. Then head southwest into a valley and junction on the Templer Way, where a track leads into Haytor Quarry. From the quarry head along a path southeast to the road and walk back to the car park where you started.

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