TORS OF DARTMOOR

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Lower Leather Tor

Separate and distinct from the better-known parent tor, there are three ruined piles looking out to Burrator Reservoir on the lower southern slopes of Leather Tor that oversee a quite magnificent rock field. Writing in 2002 Tim Jenkinson states "Most often associated with Leather Tor proper, the shattered pile some 200 metres south of the main tor at SX 5629 6984 is sometimes referred to as Lower Leather. I first noted the name of this tor on a painting on display in the window of a small picture gallery 'The Works' at Princetown next to the Plume of Feathers in 1995. Indeed, it was a very good likeness to the tor which in essence consists of three closely grouped and broken outcrops on the precipice of a vast and impressive sprawl of granite above Cross Gate".

Tim continues "The whole eastern side under Leather Tor is strewn with huge boulders that make for a difficult clamber. This pattern of ruin continues in spectacular fashion to the south of Lower Leather Tor. Not surprisingly given its abundance much of the granite here has been worked at and plundered over the years especially lower down towards the road."

An altogether much more picturesque and elegant tor compared to the huge bulk to the north, Lower Leather is a very photogenic collection of granite outcrops and as from many points in this area views are once again delightful, concentrated mainly to the south and westward where the arresting sight of Burrator Lake in its entirety fills the scene. In especially dry summers and occasional autumns such as the ones of 1969 when 70 consecutive rainless days were recorded between August 31 and November 8 triggering a hose pipe ban in Plymouth, the shores of the reservoir are often exposed as the demand for water exceeds the rate of replenishment.

In the past Lower Leather Tor has been confused with Lowery Tor as it is shown by this name on Harvey's Map of Dartmoor, a mis location that is further complicated by Eric Hemery's confusing account in High Dartmoor (1983) where standing in the immediate vicinity of Leather Tor he states that Lowery is "A short way south-east of it" adding that "Although overlooked by Peak Hill, dwarfed by Lether Tor and covering a small area, it is a fine tor in its own right and interesting as a tumble of huge rocks and a clitter that extends to the very farmcourts of the old valley settlements bearing its name." However, this description is most applicable to the lone outcrop to the west at SX 5564 6976, although this is not a "short way" from Leather Tor. Harvey's Map was influenced by Hemery's passion to include features on maps that had been omitted by the OS but they inadvertently mark the tor in the place of Lower Leather, an error that remains to this day. In Hemery's book entitled 'Walking the Dartmoor Waterways' (1986), the author shows a map of the Devonport Leat that shows Lowery Tor directly below Peek Hill and not at Leather Tor, which is where locals know it to be located, but this sadly has not prompted Harvey to amend the shoddy positioning of the tor on their map.

Lower Leather Tor
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 5629 6984
Height:
350m
Parish:
Walkhampton
Tor Classification:
Spur
Access:
Public
Rock Type:
Granite
Credit:
Tim Jenkinson
Reference:
Tim Jenkinson: Lesser Known Tors and Rocks of Dartmoor
Eric Hemery (1983): High Dartmoor

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