Dartmoor - Yes Tor and High Willhays

28 September 2003

While Lucy and Henry were winning one of their classes at the Okehampton & District Show, Stephen and George went for a walk to the top of Dartmoor, the highest point in southern England. Yes Tor and High Willhays are the only two summits over 2000 feet high to be found south of the Peak District.

As we climb away from Meldon Reservoir, Meldon Viaduct comes into view. The viaduct is up to 150 feet above the valley floor, and is now used as a cycle track.

Much of Dartmoor, including the area to be visited today, has been used as a military firing range for over 200 years, and so it is necessary to check beforehand (phone 0800 458 4868) that firing is not taking place. This post is one of those that marks the boundary of the military area.

As we near the top of Yes Tor (619m/2031ft above sea level) after a long slog up the path-less west side, the trig point and flag pole (for live firing warning flags) come into view on the rocky tor of the summit.

From Yes Tor, we travel across the shallow depression to High Willhays. George had seemed to find the climb to Yes Tor a bit tiring, but after a 30-second lie down, recovered all his energy and here runs back to get the slowcoach!

One of the many rocky tors on the summit plateau, all of which George visited

Here he is waiting for me again, having visited the top.

Having climbed all the minor tops, George waits for me below the cairn on High Willhays, at 621m (2037ft) the highest point of Dartmoor and southern England.

Another rocky top for George to explore

Looking back past the top of High Willhays to Yes Tor

George looking pleased with himself, having bagged every boulder on the summit plateau. From here, we descended to the valley of the West Okement River. Unfortunately we strayed a little too far north-west, and found ourselves unable to reach the grassy path running alongside the river, and had a difficult hour's walk above the bracken line, dodging among the large boulders on the steep slope before we could finally descend to the river, which we then followed back to the reservoir and thus to the car.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson