a database of both lesser- & well-known rocks and outcrops

Home Search Map The East Access About Team Social Blog

Knowle Rocks

The Giant Tor

A quite magnificent valley side tor resides at the northern end of Higher Knowle Wood and extends downhill to the west for some 100 metres or so. The central and most impressive part at SX 7913 8088 comprises massive outcrops enveloped once more in trees and vegetation. The lowest outcrop not far above the road presents as a distinctive but rather vulnerable-looking stack at SX 7904 8086, intimidating the onlooker from below. Higher Knowle Wood is managed by the Woodland Trust and they give this description in their Management Plan from 2017 "Exposures of granite occur throughout the site, especially on the slopes, and are a feature typical of Dartmoor woods. The wood is of a mature high forest structure, which sits prominently with the local landscape, and with occasional areas of coppice along the rides, boundaries and beneath the canopy".

It is possible that the Trust is referring to Knowle Rocks when they mention constraints to their Plan for the Wood: "Some ground is steep and rocky which limits the practicalities of woodland management operations". Indeed, the slopes on the west side are particularly problematic and strewn with the large granite boulders and outcrops that make up the group.

Richard Horsham first drew Tim Jenkinson's attention to these rocks in 2016, he was later to write an article that year for Dartmoor Magazine (number 123) where the name of Knowle Rocks first appears in print along with that of nearby Loxter Tor. Both sites are described as "formed of a hard sandstone, Woolley Grit, looking a little like granite yet a conglomerate, made from the weathering of granite and deposited by river action as gravel in a ravine". Tim went on to include both sites acknowledging Richard's contribution, in his own article on The Rock Piles of East Dartmoor The Hidden Landscape Part 2 in Dartmoor Magazine No 133 Winter 2018. Interestingly, the British Geological Survey interactive map shows much of the area that Knowle Rocks covers to reside within granite bedrock, and the lower outcrops certainly appear as such, although they have no doubt been influenced by the adjacent sandstone but the encroaching vegetation obscures any additional evidence to support further claims.

Knowle Rocks
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 791 809
Lustleigh (formerly Bovey Tracey)
Tor Classification:
Valley Side
Private (but accessible)
Rock Type:
Granite and Woolley Grit Member - Sandstone
Richard Horsham
Reference / Further Reading:
Richard Horsham (2016): Understanding the Dartmoor Landscape Part 22 - Dartmoor Magazine No 123, p42-45 Summer
Tim Jenkinson (2018): The Rock Piles of East Dartmoor: The Hidden Landscape Part 2 - Dartmoor Magazine No 133 Winter
Woodland Trust: Higher Knowle Wood 2017-2022 Management Plan

Please Support Us

We are proud to see the names of lesser-known tors are now being used more commonly on other websites and whilst this is to be encouraged we do request that, should you wish to use the information on this page, you provide a backlink to the website as reference, by copying the relevant address:

Please also consider a small donation to the upkeep of the site; any contribution goes toward the fees to keep the database online and any costs incurred when undertaking research such as subscriptions to online archives.