TORS OF DARTMOOR

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Fox Tor (Fox Tor Mires)

Situated to the south of Whiteworks Tin Mine and the enigmatic Fox Tor Mires, this tor has three main outcrops. It is a wonderful tor, with interesting outcrops, one of which is known as 'The Mammoth Skull'; a toppled piece of granite with two rock basins resembling sunken eyes. There is also the remains of an old letterbox site amid the summit rocks. Letterboxing is still a popular pastime reaching its peak in the late 1980s early 90s when literally thousands of boxes were secreted across the moor mostly hidden under rocks. But not everyone is a fan, Hemery included, and as a result the hobby has attracted some criticism with instances of unmaintained boxes and the use of inappropriate sites. That said it still provides people with an excellent opportunity to explore and enjoy different parts of the moor with the added incentive of collecting ink impressions of rubber stamps. Godfrey Swinscow, who was the head of Letterboxing for many years and instigator of the popular 100 club, passed away in 2018 aged 99 years.

Eric Hemery describes Fox Tor "The two northern piles of the tor, one bearing a shallow rock basin, constitute Eden Phillpott's "twin turrets", while the southern pile, the point of the triangle, possesses an object of great interest in the fallen summit-rock that bears on its surface two large basins like eye-sockets in the skull of a mammoth greater than pre-history ever knew. The larger of these two hollows has a diameter of three feet." Crossing provides even less detail, but there is so much more to enjoy here. The main pile of the tor is a conspicuous and most welcome sight when seen from the desolate and featureless morass to the south. The major part of the tor sprawls on the north side and the highest rocks look out to the aforementioned mire and below just beyond the newtake wall in an area known as Sand Parks, is the curious memorial cross known as Childe's Tomb at SX 624701.

We learn from Henry Edmund Carrington (1834) that John Childe of Plymstock was "a gentleman of large possessions and a great hunter, whilst enjoying that amusement during an inclement season, was benighted, lost his way and perished through cold near Fox Tor in the south quarter of the forest, after taking the precaution to kill his horse and for the sake of warmth, to creep into its bowels, leaving a paper denoting that whoever should bury his body should have his lands at Plymstock"

"The fyrste that fyndes and brings me to my grave

The lands of Plymstoke they shall have.
"

The author explains that to his memory a tomb was erected to Childe "in a plain a little below Fox Tor" and that it was "composed of hewn granite, the under basement comprising four stones. 6 feet long by 12 inches square and 8 stones more, growing shorter as the pile ascended, with an octagonal basement above 3 feet high and a cross fixed in it. The whole, when perfect wore an antique and impressive appearance." No excursion to Fox Tor would be complete without a visit to the tomb that can be easily reached through a small gateway in the wall to the north.

Fox Tor (Fox Tor Mires)
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 6261 6981
Height:
438m
Parish:
Dartmoor Forest
Tor Classification:
Spur
Access:
Public
Rock Type:
Granite
Credit:
Ordnance Survey
Reference:
Ordnance Survey Maps
Eric Hemery (1983): High Dartmoor
HE Carrington (1834): ed The Collected Poems of the late NT Carrington Vol 1

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