The what3words address takes you to an off road parking area close to Haytor Rocks. This is the middle of three parking areas along this road and all in a short stretch. One is at the National Park Visitor Centre. The middle parking area is close to one of the tracks up Haytor Rocks, and this is where our walk began.

It’s a popular spot and a steady climb to the  top; we started here on a sunny Saturday in June and, although fairly busy, it wasn’t too bad. It’s well worth the effort for the 360 degree views from the top. However, we didn’t linger for very long before following another track down heading north-east towards the ‘tramway.’

The Haytor Granite Tramway was a remarkable tramway built in 1820 to transport granite from Haytor Down to the Stover Canal. What made it unique was that its track was formed of granite sections, shaped to guide the wheels of horse-drawn wagons. The granite from the quarries near Haytor Rock was in high demand for constructing public buildings and bridges in England. The tramway covered a distance of 10 miles and featured granite blocks cut into L-shaped sections to create the track. These blocks guided the wagon wheels, allowing efficient transport of the heavy granite. By 1858 the quarries had closed, unable to compete with cheaper, Cornish granite. Most of the granite sections are still in the ground.

At the tramway we turned left towards Holwell Tor. The tramway path skirts around the northern side of the Tor where an inconspicuous, narrow path on the right then took us down (fairly steeply in parts) towards the Becka Brook. There  is a narrow, stone slab that bridges the brook and the the path continues on in a straight line from the bridge and soon passes through a gate. Although the OS map doesn’t show a path, it’s clear on the ground.

We paused at the bottom of Hound Tor but didn’t climb to the top, instead turning east on a well used path that passes the site of an abandoned medieval settlement on the left. This atmospheric site consists of a cluster of 13th-century stone longhouses, where families lived at one end and animals were kept at the other. Originally farmed in the Bronze Age, Hound Tor was likely abandoned in the early 14th century.

From here the route took us towards Smallacombe Rocks, climbing steadily from the woodland. At the top we sat a while and enjoyed the expansive views before continuing on and re-joining the tramway for a little while until we eventually reached the road (the B3387). From here it was a short walk back to our car; there’s a path beside the road.

We really enjoyed this walk. The weather was kind to us, the views were fabulous and there was plenty of variety and wildlife; the foxgloves, when we were there in early June, were lovely.

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