TORS OF DARTMOOR

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Seaman's Borough Rocks

The River Teign between Dogmarsh Bridge in the west and Clifford Bridge in the east passes between extremely steep, wooded hillsides that create an almost alpine feel for those who walk within its depths. This section is known as 'Fingle Gorge' and the slopes, all mostly enshrouded within a dense canopy of trees, possess numerous crags of predominantly non-granite that William Crossing describes as 'bad rock' on account of its lack of robustness as a building material. Particularly in the west towards Clifford Bridge the crags are seen to rise abruptly from the valley-floor but are, as is so often the case with woodland settings, difficult to view thanks to the trees.

In that part of the wood that is known as Seaman's Borough, the river passes beneath a crag of some magnitude, presenting as a striking mass that runs diagonally up the slope, with scruffy, uneven edges making it appear to be crumbling away. The crag can only be viewed when walking along the riverside track to Clifford Bridge where it emerges through a slight clearing in the trees; to get any closer would involve tackling the problematic terrain that would make any ascent a potentially perilous one due to a combination of loose rock, vegetation and gradient.

Tim Jenkinson noticed the beetling rocks in Seaman's Borough in September 2015 that no other commentators appear to have seen, perhaps because the rambler's attention is typically drawn to the tranquil banks of the Teign, where trout dart through its deepest sections. It is a fabulous river that has matured into this swiftly flowing watercourse in the confines of the valley.

Seaman's Borough is part of the greater complex of woodlands that are collectively called Fingle Woods which were purchased in August 2013 by both the Woodland Trust and National Trust in a joint effort to restore ancient woodland. After the two World Wars there was a high demand for timber which culminated in large areas of the slopes above the Teign becoming choked in conifer plantations, but the need has diminished in modern times. The Trusts want to protect the wildlife that once flourished in Fingle Woods and restore the ancient woodland by gradually replacing conifers with native trees to allow light to enter. Fingle Gorge is invaluable for its unique biodiversity in many ways, and the ongoing restoration has increased dormice and bird populations exponentially throughout the complex.

Seaman's Borough Rocks
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 763 899
Height:
140m
Parish:
Moretonhampstead
Tor Classification:
Valley Side
Access:
Public
Rock Type:
Metamorphic
Credit:
Tim Jenkinson
Reference:
Tim Jenkinson: East Dartmoor The Hidden Landscape: Rocks and Tors
Woodland Trust: Fingle Woods 2017-2022 Management Plan

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