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Scobetor Rocks, Scobetorre, Scabtora, Scabatora

The little tor seems to be nothing more than a small rocky prominence above the farm of the same name at SX 723749 but there could be more hidden in the trees on the slopes below. Marked as Scobitor on modern OS maps, Terry Bound (1991) advises that in Domesday records the area was identified as 'Scabtora'. In his Guide to Dartmoor William Crossing refers to Scobetor Rocks as "within an enclosure near the house". Viewing from afar on Pudsham Down to the east as the tor sits on private land, it is obvious that a curious circular domed building has been built on the summit, of Ash House proportions it sits above the short running southern rock face. Eric Hemery (p663) explains that it was built in the First World War as a look out with what appears to be at least two windows and a door space, but this interpretation is open to question.

For example, Tim Sandles (2016) offers a plethora of alternative theories: "What was the purpose of the tower? Again, there are several suggestions; one is that it was built by a gentleman farmer, another being it was constructed by a farmer in order that he could survey his lands. Alternatively, it had been used as an artist's studio from which the artist painted the surrounding landscape from the various windows." Tim has more suggestions "You could also go down the line of it being a kind of shooting butt used by the owner to teach his children to shoot in the late Victorian period. Another source considers that the building was a belvedere or summerhouse of sorts." This latter idea is accredited to Knowling (2002) in his book on Dartmoor Follies. Finally, Tim concludes with another explanation that "a local tradition is that the tower was built by a onetime owner, Mr Gough as a playhouse for his children".

Certainly, very well placed to overlook the steepening valley below, the tor is nonetheless very much enclosed in private farmland and encircled by green pastures so it cannot be accessed without permission of the landowner. From its modest rocks good views are to be had northwards of the church at Widecombe in the Moor with the huge whale backed ridge of Hamel Down beyond. Nearer to the north east the sizeable crags of Tunhill Rocks reside and over to the south west Corndon Ridge is seen.

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 7241 7493
Widecombe in the Moor
Tor Classification:
Private (but visible from public land)
Rock Type:
William Crossing
William Crossing (1912): Guide to Dartmoor
Tim Jenkinson: East Dartmoor The Hidden Landscape: Rocks and Tors
Terry Bound (1991): The A to Z of Dartmoor Tors
Tim Sandles (2016): Legendary Dartmoor: Scobitor Folly
Philip Knowling (2002): Dartmoor Follies
Eric Hemery (1983): High Dartmoor

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