Mudge's Belstone Tor
This majestic tor sits a short distance below the castellated peaks of Belstone Tor but retains its own character and is very distinct. Its huge granite mass, which from certain angles is block-like, is on the southern side of Belstone Common. The tor is a truly epic rock formation in its own right that is noted for its striking jointings, looking a little like tightly packed cubes that are accentuated by patches of moor grass. Indeed, Hemery (1983) describes it as a "splendid ruin of Nature" that "has a massive east face - resembling cyclopean masonry - and a huge break-away on both south and west sides." Collingwood (2017) later remarks that "Its bulk and pattern of jointing make it unforgettable."
Higher Tor affords terrific views in all directions, even to the north where the fine southern outcrop of Belstone Tor stands in stark contrast as a smooth-faced pile. To the south, Oke Tor sits on the elongated ridgeline that extends towards Knack, but it is perhaps the grand Steeperton Hill, that is topped by Steeperton Tor, that is the most conspicuous landmark towering high above Taw Marsh.
Whilst modern Ordnance Survey Maps place Higher Tor south of the ridge summit where Belstone Tor resides, that was not always the case. The survey of Devon, by Lieutenant Colonel William Mudge, in 1809, named the summit 'Higher Tor' as one might expect and placed Belstone where Higher is now. Whilst it makes sense that the highest point on the ridge would be named 'Higher Tor', later surveys were amended and this is now the accepted location. This alteration juxtaposes the widely accurate survey of Mudge and the reason for the movement of the two names remains to be seen. It is an anomaly that rarely, if ever, receives attention.
The entire moorscape, capped by tremendous rockpiles as far as the eye can see, is well worth a visit, and the visitor will not be left disappointed by what he finds here, as it is one of the most captivating pieces of scenery on Dartmoor.