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Nutcracker, The

Nutcracker Rock, Nut Crackers

The celebrated Nutcracker logan rock (photo above © The Dartmoor Trust Archive) was sadly overthrown by vandals many years ago yet its name has lived on and is attached to the elongated tor that it once rested upon. Hemery (1983) confirms by writing "The entire weathered rock-ridge, which is known by the name peculiar to the great logan, is characteristically similar to the north-east ridge of Crockern Tor." The logan, which is not to be confused with the 'Nutcrackers' over on Sharpitor, Lustleigh Cleave, was so named on account of its ability to crack nuts during nut season, as Crossing (1912) remarks quoting Polwhele (1793).

The Nutcracker was a magnificent logan in its heyday: huge, shapely and poised on the very edge of an outcrop, though this sadly attracted the likes of some locals who felt the desire to destroy it causing it to smash into smithereens, the remains of which are still visible today, characterised by angular and loose boulders beneath the logan's former pivot. The impressive feature had been targeted for some time as Baring-Gould (1900) comments: "That on Rippon Tor measures 16 1/2 feet in length, and is about 4 1/2 feet in thickness and nearly the same in breadth. It still logs, but not so well as formerly, owing to mischievous interference with it." Starkey (1980) explains that "It was blown up by vandals in 1975, having withstood the rigours of wind and weather for tens of thousands of years."

The Nutcracker Rock had long been associated with Rippon Tor, the dominant hilltop tor to the north-east, but in truth where the logan was sited was quite distinct from that rockpile being almost 400 metres away and on a separate rocky outcrop beyond a wall at a lower altitude. Despite the logan's demise, the Ordnance Survey continued to mark it on their maps. That was until December 2022 when 'Logan Stone' was removed from both 1,25:000 and 1,50:000 scale mapping, leaving just 'Nut Crackers'. This is thanks to Max Piper who alerted the OS about the ongoing confusion by visitors who were unaware that the logan no longer existed.

The tor that once housed the famous logan, is in itself a prominent landmark when ascending Rippon Tor from the south-west where it is clearly seen up to the right of the road running between Cold East Cross and Hemsworthy Gate. It is an impressive outcrop that runs parallel to the slope of the hill and consists of several nooks and crannies that give rise to a modest clitter which is flung below. Oddly, a conifer tree once resided near the top of the pile; looking rather out of place, the tor nonetheless provided a strong grip for its roots. In summer 2022, the tree had been cut down. Along with its smaller neighbour, Little Nutcracker, another outcrop found even further down the slope, The Nutcracker tor is well worth a visit as part of an alternative and arguably more interesting route up to Rippon Tor. It offers mesmerising views and an opportunity to reflect upon the sad story of a famous logan rock whose remnants stand testament to how human interference here has wiped out one of Dartmoor's finest forces of nature.

Nutcracker, The
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 7437 7527
Tor Classification:
Valley Side
Rock Type:
Richard Polwhele
William Crossing
Reference / Further Reading:
© Dartmoor Trust Archive: Photo of Nutcracker Rock
William Crossing (1912): Guide to Dartmoor
Richard Polwhele (1793): Historical Views of Devonshire
Sabine Baring-Gould (1900): A Book of Dartmoor
Eric Hemery (1983): High Dartmoor
F.H. Starkey (1980): Exploring Dartmoor

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