Beardown Corner Rocks
Eric Hemery (1983) seems to be the first to describe these rather obtrusive rocks on page 399 of High Dartmoor where during an excursion to the River Cowsic and walking to the south of Broad Hole he remarks "The moorstone above the left bank has also been put to constructional use - in this case a mere two hundred years ago - for Mr Edward Bray snr's Beardown Newtake Corner is here involved in the rock field". Edward Bray (1748-1816) was a solicitor and once managed the Duke of Bedford's Devonshire estate in the late 18th Century. Mr Bray not only had Beardown House built c1802 when he acquired a huge swathe of land from the Duchy, but also had the massive acreage enclosed.
His land stretched away to the north of the house and encircled not only the entire Beardown Tors range but also the rocks of Lydford Tor before bending westward down to the river at the aforementioned corner, and then going south. On the east side of the hill on the slope that borders the west side of West Dart River more walls were built to designate his land. To this day the OS accurately portray the entire enclosure as largely oval in shape, one that extends from the road in the south (B3357) to just beyond Lydford Tor to the north being a distance of about three miles. But the enclosure is not inaccessible as numerous entry gates and stiles are set at various points to provide access to the much-walked Lych Path that traverses the upper north section of the newtake.
Set about 50 metres above the Cowsic and 150 metres or so below Traveller's Ford at SX 59212 78327 are the Corner Rocks presenting as a sprawling collection of huge boulders some of outcrop proportions that are part involved as Hemery explains in reinforcing the wall. The rock field consists of two distinct sections, one being above and the other the more impressive below the wall. The upper rocks are of some interest especially where a curious poised rock is seen and nearby are some large compact rocks giving the appearance of an outcrop from the west side. However, it is below the newtake where the most striking rocks are to be found culminating in a huge overhang that is in the region of 3 metres high on the north side. The rocks here have an unusual, ridged appearance and when viewed from across the river to the west are seen as a series of large granite boulders running parallel to the wall.
The upper part whilst lacking the stature of the lower section does nevertheless provide the best views particularly upstream to Conies Down Tor and downstream to Holming Beam Bottom and above to the right of there where the conifer plantation near the parking area at Holming (Omen) Beam is seen. This is easily the best starting point from which to reach the rocks walking high above the west side of the Cowsic before dropping down to Traveller's Ford, crossing there, and walking south along the east bank where the Rocks soon emerge in front. Thanks goes to Jason Maddick for alerting a new generation of Dartmoor walkers to the existence of these fine rocks.