Little Combe Tor
Combe Tors, Coombe Tors
The great sweep of West Dartmoor can boast many lofty tors such as the well frequented Great Mis, Great Staple and Cox Tors, but there remains for those who care to explore the fringes of the high moor where a number of streams pick up pace, rushing over boulders and descending at a rapid rate. There is one tor above the village of Peter Tavy that is situated close to one of these, the Colly Brook, and is a picturesque spot. This is Little Combe Tor and while of no impressive size is nonetheless an interesting tor to visit.
The tor can be found just above a public footpath and is almost totally obscured by the luxurious green moss cladding that envelopes the rocks. The tor is essentially one compact outcrop of metamorphic rock that sits at the top of the woodland that is part involved with a wall, and is noted for its irregular jointings that from the east side resemble jagged teeth. A small clitter has spread below and this romantic setting is one of William Crossing's Gems in a Granite Setting (1905): "This combe does not exhibit features of wild grandeur like some of the valleys on the fringe of the waste, but it has charms of another sort. It possesses a simple beauty which, though it may not impress like that of the deep vales where the crag thrusts itself from the oak woods, nevertheless appeals to the eye."
Peter Tavy Combe, or 'The Combe' as it is known locally, is one of Dartmoor's hidden gems that is a breathtaking little nook where after passing between the two Godsworthy Farms the Colly Brook enters a magical native woodland. Crossing explains that the Brook, which he calls Peter Tavy Brook, is also known as White Lake and Wed Lake, and the author is confident that the former derived its name from the latter which gives its title to a farm in the upper reach of the stream. The Combe is easily the most scenic part of its course and were it clear of trees, Little Combe Tor would no doubt have a prominent position.
Located within a carpet of moss and lichen that cover the rocks, you feel you are in an ancient woodland, a rainforest far from civilisation when in fact a car park to the east of Peter Tavy and below Smeardon Down is just a few hundred metres away to the north.