Walk through the Tors

Walk No.1: Hay Tor, Hound Tor, the Medieval Village and Bowerman’s Nose


Hay Tor from close up on a sunny day.

Before the Walk Ahead

Difficulty: moderate

Length: 7.75 miles/12.5 km

Time: 4-6 hours approximately

This particular walk takes place on the eastern half of Dartmoor, a few miles away from the town of Bovey Tracey. It showcases some of the most iconic natural rock formations and quarries, from the legendary shape of Bowerman’s Nose, to the haunting shadows that inspired Conan Doyle in Hound Tor.

Before you decide to take this walk on Dartmoor, we recommend you take a look to our preparation tips, as this walk can be quite challenging if you don’t plan ahead. Also, this particular walk can be slightly difficult for novice hikers, but it can be modified to make it slightly easier to trek, or in case of bad weather conditions: there are several car parks and roads in between Haytor and Hound Tor, which can work as starting points for the walks depending on your mode of transportation.

For additional references, we recommend you look up John Earle’s Dartmoor Walks into History, as well as make use of available maps and compasses for the region.

Step 1: From the Car Park to Hay Tor

There are a couple of car parks you might be able to use as a starting point for the walk, since they are both relatively close to Hay Tor and Saddle Tor, and each starting point would have their own benefits.

The car park near Saddle Tor is usually less busy during Dartmoor’s more frequented times of year. If you decide to start from there, walk through the northeast path, between two summits. From there you would also be able to see Low Man, Dartmoor’s largest natural rock face (with climbs that can be over 150 feet, it’s an incredible climbing challenge). Hay Tor can be seen relatively close from Low Man, so it’s a good idea to use the view as a way of navigating towards it.

The Hay Tor car park has a bathroom, several snack vans, and even an information centre situated inside its boundaries, which also makes it a good starting point. In fact, this car park is so close to Hay Tor that to start your walk, you can just simply walks towards the tor on the top of the hill. The hike uphill can be pretty long even when starting from the car park (approximately 20 to 30 minutes), so be prepared to wrestle against the slope and the strong gales.