TORS OF DARTMOOR

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Fur Tor (Okehampton Range)

Vur Tor, Vwr Tor, Forter, Vurtorre, Queen of the Moor

Colloquially known as the 'Queen of the Moor', this is considered to be the remotest of the Dartmoor tors. A huge area of numerous outcrops define what is one of the moor's most spectacular rockpiles with masses of granite clitter cascading down the slopes from the tor's main stack. It is a scene to behold, one of much beauty, and the central core tower of rock warrants attention on account of its imposing walls and fallen blocks which make reaching the top a difficult feat to achieve. On the summit there is a fine, rounded rock basin that holds water; this is shown on many historic Ordnance Survey Maps and is most probably one of the three basins that Ormerod (1859) alludes to. Bray (1844) recorded it to be "a basin two feet and a half in diameter, and eight inches deep."

The best description comes from Crossing (1912): "Fur Tor is perhaps the grandest of the Dartmoor tors, for while there are some that rise much higher above the ground than the loftiest of the piles here, and also exhibit finer rock masses, there is none that covers so large an area, or whose surroundings are of desolate character as those upon which this lonely tor looks down. Fur Tor is a wilderness of stone." Indeed, thanks largely to its location being in the wilds of the North Moor, the tor has attracted many visitors, particularly on New Year's Day when ramblers and letterboxers partake in the annual pilgrimage to Fur Tor, in all weather conditions and from multiple directions. A landmark as prominent as this has also been the site of one of the earliest letterboxes that still remains in situ today.

Rowe (1896) writes: "Furtor is the most isolated of the Dartmoor heights, and to signify the 'far' tor, is appropriate enough for a summit and its name, which seems to retain the old English 'feor', which is the most remote and the most difficult of access of any on Dartmoor." Writing much later, Hemery (1983) gives other theories and alternative names: "'Vwr twr', the 'great tor', said the Celt: 'Feor', the 'far distant tor', said the Saxon... 'Vurtorre', wrote the medieval Forester whose duty entailed a personal knowledge of the ground and use of the name, and 'Vurtor' says the moorman..."

There is much interest on the tor including a tethering ring and hook at SX 58757 83063 and SX 58804 83051 respectively. Rock basin remnants and rocks poised in the manner of logan stones are found throughout the maze of broken granite. The extensive clitter that studs the steep slopes is perhaps best seen from Little Kneeset, but is also very impressive at close-quarters, particularly on the west flank as a fusion of clitter and outcrop. It really is magnificent and suggestive of a once colossal tor.

Fur Tor boasts tremendous views that are among the finest anywhere on Dartmoor, where the great sweep of the North Moor unravels in every direction, but especially to the west and north: from the fringes of the high moor at Hare Tor, Lydford Sharp Tor and Great Links Tor, to the depths of the ancient forest at Great Kneeset, Black Ridge, Black Hill and Cut Hill, each tor is seen as a distant pimple on the horizon, and every hill a dark, brooding eminence, indicative of your distance away from any road here. Streams that are often dappled in sunlight weave in between hills to reach the mighty River Tavy at Sandy Ford to the west and is a most interesting characteristic of the panorama that is well worth experiencing if you are prepared and able to undertake this long walk into the heart of the moor.

Fur Tor (Okehampton Range)
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 5878 8307
Height:
572m
Parish:
Dartmoor Forest
Tor Classification:
Summit
Access:
Public
Rock Type:
Granite
Credit:
Ordnance Survey
William Crossing
Reference:
Ordnance Survey Maps
G.W. Ormerod (1859): The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London: On the rock basins in the granite of the Dartmoor district
Mrs Anna Eliza Bray (1844): Legends, Superstitions, and Sketches of Devonshire on the Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy Volume 1
William Crossing (1912): Guide to Dartmoor
Samuel Rowe (1896): A Perambulation of Dartmoor
Eric Hemery (1983): High Dartmoor
Dartefacts (accessed 2021): Artefacts in SX 58 83

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