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Rabbits Tor

Rabbit's Tor, Rabbit Tor

Eric Hemery is the first to describe this tor in the tome High Dartmoor in the chapter entitled 'Swincombe Country' he writes on page 334 "Above the stream's left bank the rocks culminate in a pile known as Rabbits Tor (approx. 1,375 feet), its clitter spreading to the tin-streamed sward across which the stream darts to Swincombe." The water course to which the author refers is the one that he calls "the stream in Sunshine Valley" described as a high shallow valley that opens northward from the north west extremity of Nakers Hill. We can only assume that the name 'Rabbit' probably comes from a nearby warren. Trying to decipher Hemery's description is as usual a challenge and there are two possible locations; the ragged split outcrop shown in the latter two photos is where most people are familiar with and prefer, but further down and around towards Fox Tor Combe is a much better spread of clitter where the other photos were taken, though none of it resembling anything like a tor.

Very little else appears in the literature about the location of Rabbit's Tor until Ken Ringwood's entry from 2013 where he describes it as "one small granite outcrop to the E of Fox Tor, on the hillside just above the steep slope to the N. There is a considerable amount of clitter especially to the N". That said the little-known Sanders and Watson's Gazetteer of Tors from 1996 includes a brief reference "Located to the west of Sunshine Valley (a feeder of the River Swincombe) Rabbit's Tor is relatively small rock mass. However, this gives rise to a massive clitter around the tinner's workings" and later Tim Jenkinson's unpublished 'Lesser-Known Tors of Dartmoor' from 2002, includes more detail of the tor that he describes as "the disappointing jumble of grass topped boulders at SX 634669".

For the first time we learn a little more from Tim about the tor's stature "The two split and largest rocks, which form the main body are no more than a metre high and lie amid a veritable wilderness of tinner's rubble, which is heaped across the banks of the stream". He adds "What is left of the tor watches over the stream as it begins its sharp and dramatic descent towards its union with the Swincombe river." Tim then describes the view from Sunshine Valley "This is a wild and lonely place, and some pleasant scenery compensates for the small tor remnant which is concentrated mainly to the north east towards the cross of Mount Misery above the walls of May's Newtake and further west where the North Hessary mast is clearly visible."

He concludes "If this is not the site of Rabbits Tor then a huge clitter further downstream to the north west might be a possibility, but it has no crown. When viewed from the river under the ruins of Fox Tor Farm to the north this distinctive ribbon of rocks gives the illusory impression of a shattered rock pile but on closer inspection fails to inspire." Look out for an interesting feature that lies above the tor, some 300 metres or so upstream, where the remains of a small tinner's hut nestle on the south west bank below the wide pan of mire, that is incorrectly marked as Swincombe Head on OS maps.

Rabbits 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 6330 6981
Dartmoor Forest
Tor Classification:
Rock Type:
Eric Hemery
Eric Hemery (1983): High Dartmoor
Dr. Peter Sanders and Alan Watson (1996): Tors List 380 Tors Visitations (published privately)
Tim Jenkinson (2002): 'The Lesser-Known Tors of Dartmoor'
Ken Ringwood (2013): Dartmoor's Tors and Rocks

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