Little Beardown Tor
Beardown Tors, Bear Down Tors, Beara Down Tors, Beardon Tors, Beardown Hill, Bairdown Tor, Bare Down Tor
The Beardown Tors are a striking collection of tors in the centre of Dartmoor that represent what were once giant mountains in the heart of the moor above the Cowsic and West Dart valleys. There are several outcrops that stud the hill here culminating in distinctive clusters. Indeed Crossing (1912) speaks of "a group of four", yet inspite of Crossing's early observation in the first part of the 20th Century, many subsequent writers have claimed that there are only 'three tors' on Beardown Hill, but this forgets the far south-western pile which is beneath the intimidating West Tor. Sufficiently detached from its neighbours, on account of its smaller size in comparison it could be called Little Beardown Tor.
The Little Tor has evidently escaped detailed accounts of the area and Tim Jenkinson is grateful to Steve Jenkins for notifying him of the hillside in 2011, who confirmed that we have a detached small tor at this site. The tor is best seen from Holming (Omen) Beam to the west where it warrants an identity of its own that is separate to the West Tor; less prominent, but nonetheless attractive upon approach by taking the clearly defined grassy path up the hill from the Cowsic River.
From this side, a very large rock face that is draped in parts by grass impresses and on closer inspection reveals itself to be a much grander sight than previously thought. Above this is the sprawling heap of the rockpile that covers a modest area, interspersed with reeds. The pile is noticeably more compact than its associates and, despite sitting below the 500m contour, presents a splendid vista that is concentrated westward towards North Hessary Tor and Great Mis Tor. Repetitive horizontal joints are conspicuous at this tor.
Although all of the Beardown Tors reside outside of the Merrivale Firing Range, they are close to the boundary (denoted by red and white range markers). In order to reach them from the closest car park at Holming Beam, you will need to pass through part of the Range so please consult the firing times website before setting off. The tor bagger is urged to explore all four of the Beardown Tors including the 'Little' Tor which on reflection is a fine rockpile that deserves some recognition as the fourth tor of the Beardown range completing which is a simply magnificent group of outcrops that the visitor must make a pilgrimage to.