A combination of summer camping trips and post-holiday quarantining meant that we had an unexpected hiatus from Dartmoor. Last weekend we finally made it back, for the short walk up Rippon Tor.
Rippon Tor is just a kilometre or so up the road from Haytor but, lacking a large outcrop to scramble on, only gets a fraction of its visitors. On a day when every available space was taken between Haytor’s top car park and the visitor centre, we saw about a dozen people on our hill. It’s usually a fairly quiet place and always has a wild, remote feel to it. There’s even a small cairn around the trig point, which gives a bit of shelter when the wind drives drizzle over the summit. It often does. I helped out with a few bird surveys here in the early 2000s, and although I rarely saw a lapwing I did get many opportunities o test my waterproofs out.
The boys scampered up the hill, exploring every pile of rocks along the way, while we enjoyed the late summer sunshine. As well as the ubiquitous heather and gorse, we spotted plenty of tormentil in flower and the hill was covered in bilberries. Dartmoor’s bilberries are small and hard to spot, so being able to gather a small handful to share was quite a treat.
The views from the top are fantastic – probably the best on this side of the moor. In one direction you can see clear across to Princetown, while on the other side the Teign Estuary can easily be spotted. Rippon Tor is also a bit higher than most of its neighbours too, making it a really place to spot and photograph other tors.
Rippon Tor is at SX747756. The nearest car park is at Hemsworthy Gate, where the B3387 meets the Buckland road. From there it’s only around 700m to the top.