Beardown North Tor
Beardown Tors, Bear Down Tors, Beara Down Tors, Beardon Tors, Beardown Hill, Bairdown Tor, Bare Down Tor
The Beardown Tors are a striking collection of tors in the centre of Dartmoor that represent what were once giant mountains in the heart of the moor above the Cowsic and West Dart valleys. There are several outcrops that stud the hill here but culminate in distinctive clusters. Indeed Crossing (1912) speaks of "a group of four, the southernmost being the smallest." The North Tor is perhaps the best of the four and its appearance is simply magnificent and the visitor will instantly want to explore its many crevices and rock stacks.
It is the second-lowest tor at 507m but arguably boasts the finest outcrops that are heavily weathered, broken and slanted creating a maze of granite with several potential windbreaks. The stature of the rocks takes your breath away and collectively opposes the tors of Higher White, Longaford and Littaford on what is perhaps the more visited of the two valley sides above the oaks of Wistman's Wood and the West Dart.
Hemery (1983) adds this description: "This impressive pile has physical features inviting comparison with two other tors: there is, first, a 'gateway' similar to, but smaller than, that at Great Steeple Tor (Walkham), extreme weathering having in each case removed the central core and left a remnant fringe; second, a large frost-parting resembles, though it is smaller than, those at Ock and Rough Tors (E. Ockment)."
The North Tor is also noted for its exceptional views that are so typical of Beardown Hill, but here, at this point, it is the north-eastward views up Dart Hole and the West Dart that captivate most, overlooked by the craggy masses of the Crow Tors with the isolated pimple of Rough Tor in the distance, aloof. Although all of the Beardown Tors reside outside of the Merrivale Firing Range, they are close to the boundary (denoted by red and white range markers) and in order to reach them from the closest car park at Holming Beam, you will need to pass through part of the Range so please consult the firing times website before setting off. The tors on Beardown are undeniably of majestic beauty, shaped and carved by years of erosion into the tors we know and love today. A visit is thoroughly recommended to appreciate the magnitude.