TORS OF DARTMOOR

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Buckland Beacon

Buckland Beacon is a prominent outcrop that possesses some of the finest views within the whole National Park. Crossing, although giving the rambler a route to the Beacon, writes pretty dismissively: "In front of us is another wall, in which there is also a gate, and on passing through this we shall find ourselves close to Buckland Beacon. This small group of rocks attains and elevation of 1,282 feet, and though presenting nothing striking in itself, should by all means be visited on account of the particularly fine view commanded from it." The outcrop is definitely not as small as the author indicates as below the summit on its north side, a large rock face appears.

Buckland Beacon is perhaps best-known for the Ten Commandments Stone; two granite slabs below the summit featuring inscriptions. This was commissioned by the Lord of Buckland Manor in 1928 to celebrate Parliament rejecting the adoption of a new Book of Prayer. The sculptor was a W. A. Clement and recently, the inscriptions have been restored so that the visitor can read them clearly, but this act might be considered as desecration to the site by some as the inscriptions are as a consequence deeply incised and painted black. Aside from the damage, there is a lesser-known inscription that is found close to the very top of the outcrop that is called the Jubilee Stone. Hemery provides an interpretation in High Dartmoor:

"1282 feet.
Buckland Beacon. A beacon fire one of a chain lit here by the Parishioners of
Buckland-in-the-Moor in celebration of their Majesties' silver jubilee May 6th 1935.
And all the people shouted and said 'God save the King'.
"

Despite the abundant historical interest of inscribed stones, it is the views that remain a memorable part of the visitor's journey to the Beacon. Starkey, in Exploring Dartmoor, waxes lyrical about the scene as it unfolded before him: "The views from this vantage point are stupendous, particularly those to the south where we see, over a thousand feet below us, the wooded gorge of the Dart. Almost due west lies the village of Buckland-in-the-Moor with its tiny ancient church nestling in its wooded seclusion and beyond that again the land makes a further tremendous leap downwards to the valley of the Webburn, beyond which can be seen the tower of Leusdon Church below Blackaton Tor." He concludes: "Greater heights you may achieve, more lonely and desolate spots you may find but grander views you will not see in the whole of Devon."

Down the south slope under the main part of the Beacon but separate and hidden from the summit is a massive sprawling clitter with a breadth of some 50 metres from west to east. As if a ruined tor in its own right, it contains some huge boulders within it and like the more visited rocks on high offers superb views southwards to Ausewell Woods and Holne Chase. Be warned though the terrain here is especially difficult strewn as it is with granite and in the summer months it is further complicated by an abundance of ferns and briars that snag your feet and legs.

Buckland Beacon
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 7349 7311
Height:
390m
Parish:
Buckland in the Moor
Tor Classification:
Summit
Access:
Public
Rock Type:
Granite
Credit:
Ordnance Survey
Reference:
Ordnance Survey Maps
Tim Sandles (2016): Legendary Dartmoor: Ten Commandments Stones
F.H. Starkey (1980): Exploring Dartmoor
Eric Hemery (1983): High Dartmoor
William Crossing (1912): Guide to Dartmoor

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