After missing Legis Tor a couple of weeks ago (because of not finding a suitable crossing place on the Plym during the Trowlesworthy Tor walk) I had been studying my map and considering tackling it from a slightly different angle. I thought I could combine it with a visit to Gutter Tor and a relatively leisurely walk across Ringmoor Down. I passed Gutter Tor on my first walk (of this latest series) but didn’t have the time to climb to the summit so it would be nice to bag that one too while I was mopping up Legis Tor.
We’ve been having rather lovely warm weather down here on Dartmoor over the last few weeks and starting out the weather was warm and sunny again. It’s rare that I get to walk on the Moor without having to wear a fleece. As a rule I never wear shorts because they offer no protection against the sun, the flora and fauna. As a teenager out walking on the Moor I saw one of my mates take an adder bite to his leg while we were crossing a bog at the foot of Great Mis Tor. Myself, I’ve seen plenty of Grass Snakes (capable of a painful bite), Adders and maybe worst of all these days, Ticks. Ticks carry all sorts of nasty diseases and offering them easy access to my skin isn’t something I want to do….. so trousers are always worn.
I parked my car at Lynch Common car park (SX554657, PL20 6PU) next to Brisworthy Plantation and headed across the common toward Ringmoor Cottage and once I reached the cottage, I crossed over the style and onto Ringmoor Down. Ringmoor is privately owned land but is covered under the Dartmoor Permissive Access Agreement which allows people onto the land although I believe they are obliged to stick to the paths and bridleways that criss-cross the area. Ringmoor Down is mainly a very large hill and so as I followed the track to Gutter Tor, I was climbing. The views to the North are quite something with the immediate scene dominated by the massive Sheepstor and other Tors that surround Burrator. As I reached what was the summit of the hill, Gutter Tor came into view about 1km to the east. As you approach it again you have to navigate over the fence that surrounds Ringmoor Down. Gutter Tor itself is quite a sizable collection of large stacks which appear deceptively small when viewed from the track to Ditsworthy. Up there you get a really different view of Drizzlecombe and Ditsworthy Warren House.
From Gutter Tor I followed the boundary on the eastern edge of Ringmoor to Legis Tor. I didn’t want to go wandering off as Legis Mire sits right in the middle of this area and I didn’t fancy picking my way through. Legis Tor is quite a strange Tor. Clearly it was once a typical Tor consisting of large stacks of granite, however over time those stacks have eroded and collapsed under their own weight and what is left is, from the North a rather unimpressive pile of rocks although the profile from the South is quite different as Legis Tor holds quite a demanding position over the Plym Valley.
The route back was pretty straight forward. I made my way down the slope of Legis Tor crossing one of the River Plym’s tributaries before making my way along the southern boundary of Ringmoor Down. A couple of hundred meters up from the river is a rather well preserved stone circle with a stone row to the north. I sat in the centre of the circle for a few minutes before continuing back to Brisworthy Plantation. I found a gate on the SE edge of the Plantation and walked through the beautiful woods back to the car. I can remember going to Brisworthy back in the early 1980s when I was (briefly) in the Scouts. We practised fire lighting, camp-craft and I can remember cooking ‘campfire twists’ on sticks and baking apples in tin foil…. of course these days I would imagine it’s not allowed! Locked gates make access more difficulty to the Plantation as well as several of the bridleways whose gates have been padlocked. Anyway, I got back to the car and took 10 mins just to sit and enjoy the sun and peace and quiet before heading home.