The quarry is located on a flat and desolate part of Dartmoor in the heart of a landscape scattered with granite boulders and old industrial ruins. There was once a rocky outcrop, known locally as a Foggin Tor, now there is just a vast and rugged pit filled with clear cold water. Decommissioned nearly 80 years ago, nature has had time to reclaim her own and turn the site back into a spectacular landscape that is beautiful in the sunshine and very gloomy and Gothic when the light fades and the fog roles in. It has become a popular destination but can be dangerous with drops of well over 100ft and many hidden chasms. This is an unmanaged (wild) destination without official paths, barriers or guides. Extreme caution is advised when visiting. Encompassing an area of 954 square kilometres (368 sq mi), Dartmoor is an area of natural moorland in the county of Devon, England. It is a designated National Park.
Foggintor was one of the three great granite quarries of Dartmoor, the other two being: Haytor, and Merrivale. During the early 1840s Foggintor Quarry supplied the granite that was used to build famous London landmarks such as Nelson’s Column and London Bridge. Locally it was used for a vast number of buildings including the famous Dartmoor Prison and nearby village of Princetown. Local railways were used to transport the granite and the remains of their track beds can still be used as convenient hiking trails.
Work started at Foggintor around 1820 and finished in 1938. For 118 years the quarry provided Britain with some of the finest building material available. What was once a thriving mining community with as many as 400 people is now just a memory but all around Foggintor the ruins and foundations of the buildings remind the visitor how important this site once was to the Victorians. The stones from the houses and mining office were reused to build North Hessary television mast.
Today Foggintor Quarry is used for a wide variety of outdoor adventure sports including rock climbing, abseiling, wild water swimming, scuba diving and hiking. The area is notorious for the cold winds that blow across the moorland but the lower levels of the quarry are usually very sheltered and silent. It has also become a refuge for small wildlife and birds.
Between 1955 and 1980 there were persistent local rumours that that the quarries of Dartmoor, and Foggintor in particular, were the home of strange grey humanoid figures that became known as the ‘Shadow Men’. Dartmoor is rich with myths and legends and so this one attracted no more attention than any of the others – except that this one turned out to be true. The grey men were eventually revealed to be soldiers from some of Britain’s most elite units who were using the area for night time training. Today, Foggintor Quarry is still used by soldiers as part of their exercises but with much less secrecy. In fact, it’s now quite common to see units of the royal marines using the area and quite recently it was used by troops of the Royal Netherlands Navy who even stretched an assault wire from cliff to cliff over the lake.
Foggintor Quarry is an unregulated destination with many cliffs around a deep water pool. Significant caution is advised when visiting. Poor weather such as rain and fog can make this area even more dangerous.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
B3357 (Rd), Higher Longford, Moorshop, Tavistock
Devon, England, PL19 9LQ
+44 (0)1822 618 672
- Address: B3212, Princetown, Devon, England, United Kingdom, PL20 6QG
- GPS: 50.54386667,-4.024627778
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: PL20 6QG
- Entrance Fees: Free Access
- Disabled Access: No access for mobillity impaired people.
- Visibility from Road: None
- Image Credits: Header Image: ASC Photography