Combestone Tor is popular with many a visitor to Dartmoor National Park, being an excellent geological site that offers gorgeous views over the surrounding valleys. It also helps that the tor (old Celtic for a rocky outcrop or pinnacle) is situated less than 70 metres from a nearby car park, meaning that it can be enjoyed by everyone rather than only the most experienced climbers.
IT’S A BIG’UN
These outcrops, like the many tors found throughout Dartmoor National Park, are formed through freeze-thaw action over the course of millions of years. Before the Ice Age, when the surrounding land was fertile and covered with trees, water would seep into the bedrock and clean the dirt from above it, exposing it to the elements. When a cooler climate took over and the temperature would rapidly vary over the course of the day, the exposed rock was eroded by the water within it being frozen (and hence expanded) and unfrozen repeatedly.
Combestone Tor is the park’s prime example of such weathering that occurred to most of the land in the area, with much of the process showed in various stages across the rocky face. Measuring in at around four metres tall at its highest point, the outcrop is also popular as a “bouldering” site – a type of rock climbing done without ropes or harnesses. Since the climb is relatively short in comparison to other nearby climbing spots, it is used as a warm-up for veterans or as an introduction to a real-world climb for newbies.
OF DRUIDS AND PIXIES
Around the summit of the outcrop lie many small basins, often thought to have been used for ancient Druidic ceremonies. This would correspond well with the discovery of many more Druidic symbols and carvings dotted around the location in Dartmoor.
In old legend, the rock basins were not only for human use, but were used by the resident piskies (known as “pixies” nowadays) as meeting spots like many modern public pools. Campers often tell of long nights where the sounds of the pixies’ mischief still purportedly resound in the area.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
B3357 (Rd), Higher Longford, Moorshop, Tavistock
Devon, England, PL19 9LQ
+44 (0)1822 618 672
- Address: Venford Reservoir Rd, Hexworthy, Devon, England, UK, PL20 6SE
- GPS: 50.531225975537694,-3.877667461901865
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: PL20 6SE (near)
- Entrance Fees: Free Access
- Disabled Access: Poor
- Visibility from Road: Fair
- Image Credits: Andrew Longden