Tavistock to Princetown

Windy Post Cross

Windy Post Cross (SX 53443 74297 ) also known as Beckamoor Cross, has been standing on the Whitchurch  common for centuries with nothing but the murmuring of the Grimstone and Sortridge Leat for company for company. According to the English Heritage the cross is of medieval origin and dates to the 15th century. The Windy Stone Cross has obviously also been used for surveying purposes as a bench mark has been cut into its shaft. The bench mark itself is recored on the Ordnance Survey 1:10560 map of 1887.

It is believed that the Windy Post Cross was used as a way marker on the Tavistock to Ashburton trans-moor track, which was in effect  an early medieval route that connected the Tavistock and Buckfast Abbeys. For more information on the cross see  Legendary Dartmoor entry on the Windy Post Cross.

Visiting Windy Post Cross is easy. Starting from the car park (SX 53081 75134) just follow the footpath down to the cross. Alternatively drop your car on the Tavistock to Princetown Road (SX 53382 75183) and take a gentle stroll along the Grimstone and Sortridge Leat, which will guide you to the Cross. Don’t forget to take in the views along the walk as they are actually quite nice.

Early Morning at Windy Post Cross

Great Staple Tor

Great Staple Tor is an amazing place to take pictures mainly because of its steeples of granite blocks that perch on each other creating all kinds of unusual shapes from different angles. Moreover, early morning and late evenings, the interaction of the light with the rocks creates a wealth of opportunities for taking stunning photos. Great Staple Tor is easy to get to. From the small car park at SX 539750 just walk north up the slopes of the Little Staple Tor and from there carry on north up to the Great Staple. 

Staple Tor

Merrivale Stones

The group of monuments at Merrivale is one of the finest on the moor mainly because of its richness in prehistoric monuments. The site comprises two stone rows, a stone circle, several cairns and a standing stone. Both rows are actually double rows, each more than 150 meters long and comprising about 200 stones. The monuments were probably built over a long period, between about 2500 BC and 1000 BC.

The Merrivale Stones are within a few minutes walk from the  Four Winds car park (Grid Ref: SX 56075 74897) on the B3357

Merrivale Stones

Foggintor Quarry

Foggintor was one of the three great granite quarries of Dartmoor, the other two being: Haytor, and Merrivale. Stone started to be quarried at Foggintor around 1820 and it was abandoned about 80 years ago in 1938. Quarry operations were substantial enough to warrant building not only offices, but also cottages, a day school and chapel, all just beside the canyon-like quarry. In its hey day more than 400 people where employed in the area. Little now remains of the this “village” and the associated industrial buildings apart from some walls and their ground-plans. The stones from the houses and mining office were reused to build North Hessary television mast.  

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, while locally it was used in the construction of a vast number of buildings including the famous Dartmoor Prison and nearby village of Princetown. In order to transport the quarried granite from Dartmoor to  the Plymouth Docks, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt (1762-1833) had a horse-drawn tramway constructed in 1823,  which was later replaced by the Yelverton to princetown railway. Traces of the railway tracks can still be seen today.

Sunset at Foggintor Quarry
Foggintor Quarry at Night

Nowadays,  nature has reclaimed the site and it is absolutely stunning during sunshine and quite gothic when the mist rolls in. The quarry itself now  contains a small lake, ideal fro wild swimming. Foggintor Quarry (Grid Ref. SX 56590 73692) can easily be reached on foot from a small car park (Grid Ref. SX 56719 74987) on the B3357.