Great Combe Tor
Combe Tors, Coombe Tors
Situated on the far west side of Dartmoor, at the top of a small parcel of open access moorland above Peter Tavy, lies Great Combe Tor, a fine tor that reveals itself to be an outcrop of some magnitude. It is easily reached since a public footpath, running from the foot of Cocks Tor Hill to Peter Tavy, passes around its base. What you will immediately observe is that as with all tors in this locality the rock here is not granite; it is metamorphic bedrock that makes the crags appear much darker in appearance giving an ominous impression to those standing at their base.
Great Combe Tor is quite a messy tor that is strewn all about the hillside, and with little to impress when viewed from the south, but at close-quarters is appealing where you will notice a number of small, stunted oaks anchored, some literally hanging onto the walls of the outcrops creating a wonderful mix of vegetation and rock. The north side is much more dramatic, an exceedingly splendid series of crags that jut from the hillside where it gives way to a bracken-infested slope. The tor is often passed en route to Peter Tavy Combe or 'The Combe' as it is known to some, a gorgeous valley that this tor overlooks in its entirety. This was selected as one of Crossing's Gems and is well worth an expedition when you visit Great Combe Tor.
Crossing (1905) says of the scenery: "From the brow of the hill in front of Great Combe Tor there is a good view of the combe itself, besides one of the surrounding country. This, however, is not nearly so extensive as some obtained in the vicinity, for many hills near at hand greatly exceed the tor in elevation. But a number of objects are seen to advantage, among them being Brent Tor, which from no point presents a finer appearance."
Despite Crossing's somewhat lukewarm account of the vistas they nonetheless warrant attention and are equally as stunning as the surrounding landscape that is not just limited to The Combe but also the succession of fields that extend away in most directions. The walls that separate each enclosure display lovely, old stone walling and, to the south where the footpath squeezes through, a cattle stroll that is spoken of as Godsworthy Stroll can be found. Collingwood (2017) explains that "These old driveways are usually un-gated at one end and were built to provide shelter from the open moor and gather livestock." Great Combe Tor is worth a visit to experience the breathtaking landscape of the border-country where the high moor ends and the sweeping fields of West Devon officially begin.