TORS OF DARTMOOR

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Blackadon Tor

Blackadon Tor sits atop the Down of the same name and is the point of call for many of those who visit the locality thanks to its inclusion on tor bagging lists and ease of accessibility. On approach from the south, it can only be described as a disappointing, single outcrop that is tucked under a tree. It does contain some horizontal jointings but little else to whet the appetite. It is only when examining the granite that you notice its unusual composition which Collingwood (2017) explains is due to the tor sitting "right on the contract boundary of the intruded granite magma and the country rock of 'Crackington Formation' shales and sandstones." You will notice patches of quartz crystals, feldspar and tiny black biotite which somewhat compensate for the lack of a substantial mass of rock here.

But there is more to this tor than the majority of people realise, and it is rarely if ever afforded the recognition it deserves. Even recent commentators such as Ringwood (2013) are dismissive, he describes the tor as "one main outcrop on top of the hill" that is "largely overgrown by gorse, moss, brambles and trees". Whilst indeed this outcrop appears to be rather unremarkable, venturing to its north side reveals a more impressive face at SX 7122 7347, and below there are a few more outcrops that are easily missed if just visiting the summit rock. Soon you begin to realise that Blackadon Tor covers a far greater area than that depicted on OS maps. All the rocks here are situated within the confines of the dense sweep of woodland that carpets the hills and valleys above Lizwell Meet.

In the summer months the Down is completely enveloped in bracken that can be a nuisance for walkers, but reaching the tor is relatively easy. Starting from Leusdon, follow the road downhill (east) towards Lower Town where a short distance after passing Leusdon Church turn left onto a stony and grassy lane. Pass through a gate and turn immediately left to handrail the wall as you ascend on a minor path to reach the highest outcrop before exploring its lower section. You will find that the vistas that are commanded are quite special and embrace the heights of Buckland Beacon, Ausewell Wood and Chase Wood to the east and south, alongside the romantic setting of Buckland Church that is protected by the hills that enclose the Webburn, Ruddycleave and Dart valleys, rich in undulating greens, whilst northward you may catch glimpses of Old House Hill sitting heavily on the side of Hamel Down.

Owned by Devon Wildlife Trust who have secured public access to the Down, they set the scene: "On reaching the upper slopes, the woodland thins out through hazel and birch coppice to the 8 hectare moorland of Blackadon Down. Stands of bracken are interspersed with scattered low growing gorse, hawthorn and blackthorn scrub, on which linnets and yellowhammers may perch, and open glades of wild strawberry, tormentil and bugle."

Given the difficulties with the terrain and the vegetation the recommended time to visit is in winter or early spring when the rocks are more visible and accessible, and the Down much less claustrophobic.

Blackadon Tor
The map above is not a navigation tool and we recommend that the grid reference shown below is used in conjunction with an Ordnance Survey map and that training in its use with a compass is advised.
Grid Ref:
SX 7124 7340
Height:
270m
Parish:
Widecombe in the Moor
Tor Classification:
Summit
Access:
Public
Rock Type:
Granite
Credit:
Ordnance Survey
Reference:
Ordnance Survey Maps
Ken Ringwood (2013): Dartmoor's Tors and Rocks
Josephine Collingwood (2017): Dartmoor Tors Compendium
Devon Wildlife Trust: Blackadon

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