OverviewHaytor Rocks is an impressive granite outcrop on the vast upland of Dartmoor
Within the county of Devon in the far south west of England is a vast area of upland known as Dartmoor. This area is dominated on its summits by massive outcrops of Granite rock known local to here as Tor’s. Haytor Rock is not the highest of all the outcrops here on Dartmoor in Devon but is definitely the most well known, the most famous, the most impressive and must be the easiest one to get to out of them all.
Haytor is a large mass of granite rock on the Dartmoor landscape and when seen from the road between Widecombe and Bovey Tracey stands out clearly along with the other smaller tor outcrops around it. It is not really a mountain although streetmap when a search is done comes up with mountain/summit so I thought its worth adding this famous land feature into an SP-Page...!
It is a favourite haunt of mine when on my holidays in Devon but sadly because of its location it can be swarmed with coach parties, Dartmoor being an area of outstanding natural beauty and also became a national park in 1951 the whole area can be crowded by holiday makers. This can create a problem especially in the summer months and bank holiday periods. Even if it is in the busy period it is still worth a visit as when standing on top of Haytor rocks the views are stunning across the northern empty wilderness landscape of Dartmoor.
When viewing across the south most of the south Devon coastal areas can be seen. The view west especially at night shows one of Devon’s tallest landmarks. This is the main station VHF-FM Radio transmitter known as North Hessary Tor that shadows the town of Princetown.
Other areas famous for there Tor's are the vast Pennines. A range of hills and mountains that make up the backbone of England from the Midlands up to the Scottish Border. There is also The Stiperstones ridge this is another large area of upland with large quarts Tor's and is also the second highest point in the county of Shropshire in the UK Midlands.
Pennines SP-Page here by tphubbard
Stiperstones Ridge SP-Page by myself daveyboy
Getting ThereGetting there is easy:-
There is really only one main way into Devon from the east and that is via the M5 Motorway to Exeter. The M5 Motorway gives access from the Midlands as in Birmingham where it links with the M6 from the north and Manchester. The M5 also links with the M4 near Bristol giving access from London and Swindon from the east, Cardiff and South Wales from the west..
From the southern counties and south east it is best to head for Basingstoke off the M25 then on to the M3. On the M3 pass Basingstoke then follow the A303 and A30 roads all the way from the M3 Split to Andover, Honiton and then the M5 at Exeter.
Once on the M5 and passing Exeter continue on the A38 South Devon Express Way towards Plymouth but come off where it is signposted for Bovey Tracey on the A382.
Haytor Vale is easily accessed from Bovey Tracey via the B3387 road.
Heading from Cornwall and the western end of Devon you need to head for Plymouth and over the Tamar Bridge. From here follow the A38 South Devon Express Way towards Exeter but come off again where signposted for Bovey Tracey on the A382.
Haytor Vale is easily accessed from Bovey Tracey via the B3387 road.
View Larger Map
The Ordnance Survey Maps for this area as follows.
1:50 000 Landranger series sheet #191 Okehampton and North Dartmoor
1:25 000 Explorer series sheet #OL28 Dartmoor
More information on Ordnance Survey products via this link.
Ordnance Survey Home Page
The GeologyHaytor Geology:-
The area of Dartmoor and its outcrops of tors consist of a mass area of granite known as the Dartmoor granite.
The Dartmoor granite was formed at the end of the Carboniferous period of earth history, but the whole story of how the granite came into being starts much earlier in the Devonian period and ends in the present day.
Its creation is intimately tied in to the surrounding geology of Devon, Cornwall and indeed Dorset, for those rocks also tell a story of crustal evolution. By studying the relationships of the different rocks, how they were formed and the fossil evidence within them, geologists can begin to build up a picture of what the world was like millions of years ago.
The Dartmoor granite is the largest of six granite regions and three smaller outcrops, which form the spine of the Southwest peninsula. It is the surface expression of a much larger mass hidden underground by the surrounding rocks. Although the granites of the south west vary in chemistry, crystal size and in the ages given to them by radiometric dating techniques, they are thought to be part of a much larger granitic mass underlying the region.
Haytor Dartmoor granite
www.soton.ac.uk - Haytor-Dartmoor
Red tape and AccessBeing a national park and an area of outstanding natural beauty I believe the land within the national park boundary is free to rome.
Within other areas of farming land stick to the public rights of way.
More information from the Dartmoor National Park website.
Dartmoor National Park:-
Dartmoor National Park
Safety On The RocksSite Safety:-
There is little hazard in walking from the car parks to this tor, unless the weather conditions are very abnormal. However it can be cold and windy and suitable warm-weather clothing and sturdy footware is advised. Extra clothing and a compass should be carried anywhere when out walking on the moorland of Dartmoor, because being caught out in the wrong place in the wrong weather can lead to risk of hypothermia.
Much care should be taken if any of the rocky outcrops are ascended.
The northwestern rock has some convenient iron handholds. The southeastern rock is more difficult to ascend. It has some old steps which are cut into it. After about two thirds the stairway becomes less easy for the ordinary walker. Beyond a fissure the steps are not very safe and some iron railings or hand holds which were once present seem to have been cut off at rock level. Rock climbers do scramble around the top.
Haytor Rocks - Rock ClimbingHaytor Rocks is a regular venture spot for rock climbing.
There are various routes of all types of grades. Alot more information is available from some of the following links.
UKClimbing.com - Detailed Page
UKClimbing.com - Haytor Rocks
This link for UKclimbing has alot of details about Haytor Rocks including other tors that have rock climbing within the Dartmoor National Park.
Rockclimbing.com - Haytor Rocks
Here are some routes.
Approach From Bovey Tracey follow signs towards Widecombe. These should lead you uphill for a few miles. At the very top of the hill a large lump of granite is visible (to the right of the road). Park in the top car park, on the left.
A 5 minute walk up the hill leads to the crag - the one on the right is Haytor whilst the diminutive lump on the left marks the top of Lowman (the routes are on the 150 ft face the other side).
Routes are described Right to Left
1) Double Bubble E1 6a
Starting from the top "step" climb the short wall above to a extended rounded finish! FA Martin Perry
2) Accomplice to Murder E1 5a
An elimate style route up the pillar/arete to the right of the wide crack. Probably best treated as a high-ball boulder problem!
3) Aramis HS 4a
A veritable classic up the off-width crack; the sensible will bridge where others struggle up the depths! A couple of large cams take the sting out of it.
4) D'Artagnan HVS 5c
A tricky and sometimes perplexing sequence gains the shallow, hanging crack above the overhang. The gear enables easier retreat should you fail on the crux but is a bit low once you move around the roof.
5) Athos Difficult
The well-used crack (i.e the second in from the right).
6) Haggis HVS 5a
A superb and testing HVS with two contrasting halves; a delicate slab and a not-so-delicate overhang. A small cam can be placed in the overhang but back it up as it has been known to rip! Variation finish HVS 4c From the top of the lower slab move around the left until beneath a bulging arete (have a rest on the large ledge if you fancy!) - climb the steep arete above!
7) ... Diff
Another polished crack
8) Step Across Difficult
Climb either of the two cracks to the ledge then bridge between the two sides of the chimney until a pull leads onto the left (facing the crag!!) wall - an excellent little move! The narrow slab between the 2 cracks at the start provides a slightly trickier variation.
9) Bulging Wall Very Difficult
The pleasant juggy crack leads to a ledge which is gained "with interest". Move left then climb the easiest line up to the top.
There are numerous ways of climbing the top wall, the hardest goes at about VS.
10) Zig Zag Diff
Climb the rightward slanting slab to an overhang then move left and climb the wall above on jugs.Variation: Move right at the overhang onto the ledge, then up and back left onto flake and then the top.
The wall to the right of the start of Zig Zag provides a fine, high boulder problem at 5b.
To the left is chimney at 15 feet - this can provide a short cut down from the routes.
11) Hangover HVS 5a
Strenuous but well protected.Layback the crack to gain a break; traverse left for 10 ft or so until large (and a little suspect!) flakes lead up and left to the top.
12) Rock Lobster E3 6b
A tricky little number. Climb the wall to the left of the initial layback of Hangover to gain the break. Move right and climb the vague line to the top. There is also a worthwhile Variation E3 6b (known as 12b Big Fish Eats Little Fish) from the break climb the line directly above (i.e. the gap between Rock Lobster and Don't Stop Now).
13) Don't Stop Now E2 5c
An old sandbag at E1 - still no push over at E2 given the slightly pokey lower wall.The disappearing crack in the centre of the wall leads to hard, bold moves to gain the mid-height break. Climb above on good flakes until a long span right leads to easier climbing and the top. Start up Letterbox Wall to give a fine E1 5b.
14) Letterbox Wall VS 5b, 4b
An excellent little boulder problem. Left of Don't Stop Now is a good jug - The Letterbox - get stood on this, move up then stretch (if yer lucky!) to good holds up and left. Nip up and around the corner to a large sloping ledge (AKA The Meadow).Climb the middle of the wall above.
15) Grey Mare's Groove Diff
Scramble up to The Meadow, then scramble up the right hand side of the back!
16) Cobleigh's Chimney Diff
The left hand chimney to gain The Meadow then the left hand crack above and wall to the top.
17) Funky Gibbon E3 5c #
An eliminate up the wall above and left of The Meadow. Bridging rightwards into the corner reduces the grade somewhat.
18) Frog's Failure E1 5a
The arete to the left; reasonable climbing gains a break (gear!!) then climb the baby groove/flared crack in the arete above.
The right hand wall provides some of the best high grade bold climbing on the Moor. Unfortunately moss and lichen is often prevalent so it would be wise to send your mate and wire brush down on an ab rope first! Please limit your cleaning and don't remove huge swathes of moss!
19) Rough N Ready E6 6b
A "one runner" route! Climb the unprotected and precarious right hand runnel (dangerous!) to gain the halfway break. Sort yourself out, place some good gear (as many medium cams possible - yep, there are more than one but you know what I mean!) then run it out ("like a kettle flex") up the runnel above with the technical crux at top.
20) Glass Bead Game E5 6a
A high quality but rarely repeated route up the shallow runnels left of Rough N Ready. Climb the left hand of the two parellel runnels to gain a break then climb the wall above, moving right to gain the same exit straighforward exit groove of Rough N Ready.
21) Rough Diamond E4 6a
Climbed much less than it deserves - an excellent route but unfortunately the moss puts most people off. In the centre of the wall is the deepest crackline; gain this from down and left with some rather tricky climbing. The main crack itself provides somewhat better protected (medium cams) climbing that can be laybacked or jammed.
22) Rough Justice E5 6a
A mega-route up the left hand line on the wall. Excellent fall potential from the crux and above. From the easy slab on the left (gained either up a drainage runnel or from North Face Chimney) move right onto the steeper slab and gain a shallow crack on the right (Friends).Climb up to a peg (crucial back-up wire just below) then move up, left and up to a groove (considerably easier for the tall). Climb more or less directly above to the top ... but don't fall off!!
23) Direct Justice E5 6b
A tricky start to an aleady tricky route. From the start of Rough Diamond climb straight up and left to gain Rough Justice. A bouldering mat will take some of the sting out of this.
24) North Face Chimney VS 4b
The green chimney. Bold.
Other routes continued
To the left of North Face Chimney is a giant detatched flake, the front face of which provides the first 2 routes and first pitches of the following 2.
25) Bridle Piton Slab Difficult
The slab right of the central crack is covered in flakes. Enjoyable.
The slabby wall to the right provides a good boulder problem at 5a (marked 25b on topo).
26) Central Chimney Difficult
The wide crack left of Bridle Piton Slab.
Descent from the previous 2 routes can be made via the rib to the left (looking down) - marked on topo). This can be tricky so consider using a rope.
27) Vandal and Ann HVS
Just to the left is a slab, easily identified by some old bits of metal sticking out
1) Climb the slab direct, with a hard boulder problem to start and then some interesting climbing up a shallow runnel. Belay on the ledge. Gear is provided by tying off the metal and Friends.
2) Move right and climb the obvious groove. Things get a little slopey at the top!
Variation - the wall right of pitch 2 can be also climbed 27b Little Gem E1 5b.
28) Diamond Sky E2 5b
A fine but negelcted start up the rib/arete to the left of Vandal and Ann. A top pitch can also be climbed - this takes the a rather bold and dirty line 10 ft left of Vandal and Ann. Pitch 1 is worthwhile in it's own right.
29) East Chimney Moderate
This is the giant chimney to the left, climbed on the outside edge. "Troglodytes and general deviants" can climb further inside at the same grade.
30) Canis VS 4b
A fine route. The line to the left of East Chimney. Climb to a fang of rock then up into the crack on the right. This leads to a ledge and overhang followed by a usually filthy slab leading to the summit.
Various pitches, up to severe, exist on the slab to the left - this is the East Face.
These are all from the following website.
www.javu.co.uk - Haytor Rocks
Bed and Breakfast - Camping and Accomodation
I am not sure of the camping rules as in tents when out on the open national park land. Its best to check locally or via the national park website for further information.
Dartmoor National Park Wildcamping Scheme
Bed and Breakfast are plenty within this area of Devon especially the small towns that are on the main A38 south Devon Express Way.
These are just some of the towns.
Newton Abbot - Bed and Breakfasts
Bovey Tracey - Bed and Breakfasts
Buckfastleigh - Bed and Breakfasts
Ivybridge - Bed and Breakfasts
Ashburton - Bed and Breakfasts
The nearest big cities to Dartmoor are Exeter, Torquay/Torbay and Plymouth.
Exeter - Bed and Breakfasts
Plymouth - Bed and Breakfasts
Torquay/Torbay - Bed and Breakfasts
I have two much loved and regular stayed in Bed and Breakfasts in this region. These are as follows.
The lovely Copper Kettle a Tea and Coffee shop also a Restaurent with bed and breakfast.
Contact details here
This is a splendid bed and breakfast situated in the quiet countryside of Avonwick and North Huish. It has a tributary river of the Avon running through its landscaped gardens. A large lake and even a waterfall at the far end of the gardens. It is a large period victorian mansion with fantastic rooms overlooking the countryside. They even have a pet peacock.
Contact details here
Camping and caravans.
Google Search Page
Other useful linksThe National Parks Website although given in other sections is again:-
Dartmoor National Park
The local Authorities for this area are as follows.
Devon County Council:-
Devon County Council
For visiting Devon and Tourist Information follow this link.
An interesting walk that can be done combining the Haytor Rocks in it is from the following link.
A walk combining Haytor Rocks
Distance: 6 miles
Start/End point: Lustleigh
Lustleigh Streetmap Link
And last the all important Weather via the BBC forecast link below.
BBC-Weather for the south west of England
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