It’s been a couple of weeks since my excursion on the north moor and last week I went in search of bluebell woods to photograph but the results were disappointing and so I didn’t post anything. This week I decided to visit a tor that I can’t ever remember bagging. I’ve driven past Bellever Tor many times over the years but have always been put off by how popular it is. I don’t make any secret of the fact that I love walking on the moor to get away from people and so the idea of Bellever Tor has never really appealed. This week I wanted an easy shortish walk and Bellever presented the perfect opportunity. I decided it was time to pay it a visit.
There are several car parks for Bellever Tor, some of them Pay and Display. I opted for a small pull-in (SX 634770) off the B3212 Postbridge Road close to the infamous ‘Hairy Hands’ bridge. From here it was a gentle climb up into the plantation and along the forest paths. It was beautiful in the forest with the sun streaming between the trees and as I was quite early, I found myself completely alone save for the birds and animals that inhabit the plantation.
The walk through the trees took ten minutes or so before I emerged into the clearing and followed the easy path up to Bellever itself. As I crossed onto the main track I met a rather large walking group also making their way up to the summit. I must say it was a unique experience for me to be stood at the summit of a tor surrounded by so many people. Soon enough though they made their way south to continue their walk and I climbed up onto one of the granite stacks. I now understood the draw of Bellever Tor as the views we just utterly breath-taking; it has to be one of the best views on the whole of Dartmoor with completely unrestricted, 360° views all around.
I sat on the top of the tor for a good half an hour enjoying the scenery, peace and fresh air while drinking tea from my little flask. People came and went in this time but nobody really spent a great deal time up there. I made my way back down the northern side of Bellever Tor and continued along the track for about a mile. Off to one side I saw a Cist hidden away so I followed the path for a few metres before it opened out into a little clearing. I found the most well preserved Cairn Circle, Cist & Stone Row. I am presuming that the site has been renovated at some point however it’s been done beautifully.
Cists or Kistvaens are common on Dartmoor and date from the late Neolithic / early Bronze Age (between 2500 & 1500 BC). Used as burial chambers and constructed by excavating a large hole, lined with four slabs of granite which protrude above the surface, with a slab on the floor and a cap stone balanced on the top as a roof, a stone box if you will. The cremated remains of the dead were interned in the Cist or the body placed straight into the chamber in a seated foetal position. On Dartmoor most Cists are empty, dug up and raided over the years. A few years ago on Whitehorse Hill, a farmer found an intact Cist. This presented a unique research opportunity and the many valuable artefacts found are now on display at the Visitor Centre in Princetown.
I headed back to the car making my way back through the forest. An enjoyable little walk with another Dartmoor 365 square & new tor bagged.
RouteDownload my GPX file
Photos from this walk