Ripon Tor, Rippen Tor, Rippentorr, Rippin Tor, Raven Tor
Situated on the well frequented east side of Dartmoor are numerous tors that crown the various hills and summits and radiate from the head of the Becka Brook, but none are as high as Rippon Tor which, at 473 metres above sea level, is the highest in the vicinity with 360-degree views that can only be described as stupendous, of both the coast of South Devon and notably the Teign Estuary but also into the moor proper. Indeed, writing in the first part of the 20th Century, Crossing states that "the Dartmoor rambler should by all means ascend this eminence for the sake of the extensive view commanded from its crest." The tor, when seen from the lowlands around Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton, is so often viewed alongside Saddle Tor and Haytor that it is perhaps easy to forget that it possesses some of the finest vistas in Devon that rival its more illustrious neighbours to the north and east.
The outcrops of the tor are a little disappointing at first glance as they are quite lowly in appearance, yet when exploring the slopes, especially on the steep north side, larger rocks have tumbled down the hill giving rise to a small clitter that was no doubt utilised to construct the impressive newtake wall below. A noteworthy feature above this is a precariously balanced boulder at SX 74673 75600 that rests at the end of a rounded outcrop. Jointings in Rippon Tor's outcrops are irregular but run parallel to the gradient of the hill, and it is on the steepest slopes where this is best represented.
Rippon Tor can boast one of the largest concentrations of artefacts for a tor as the entire hillside abounds in interest from prehistoric times. At the summit is an Ordnance Survey triangulation station (trig point) and cairn, along with two other cairns a short distance to the south-east. Just below the summit at SX 7463 7558 is an interesting piece of granite, possibly a cross that Sandles advises is "A cross cut in relief on a large block of granite whose purpose is unknown." Whilst the popular view is that it was abandoned it might just be a boulder that has weathered a bit into the form of a cross. There is such an abundance of prehistory here that it becomes overwhelmingly difficult trying to record it all. Firstly, to the south-east of the summit at SX 74698 75537, there is a possible cist that Butler mentions: "Composed of small stones except for a large slab lying at the edge, this is probably the site of the cist referred to by Crossing as almost covered by turf..." On the west edge of the tor's rocks a reave consisting of low stones can be seen running north-west to south-east that gives an insight into the settlers who would have set out boundaries to distinguish their land.
Three worked stones reside on the western side of the tor at SX 74628 75536, SX 74649 75566 and SX 74569 75573. Of these two are believed to be millstones and another a cheese press, although which stone this is has not been confirmed to our knowledge. The westernmost of the trio shows indentations on its surface in the form of an incised cross. Accessing Rippon Tor is relatively easy from the neighbouring roads to the north and west, but the most popular route perhaps is that from Hemsworthy Gate where a well-defined (though occasionally muddy) path cuts across the moorland to the foot of the tor. On account of its tremendous wealth of history and accessibility Rippon Tor should certainly be visited by the Dartmoor enthusiast. The views are just too good to miss.