Walk 1083 - printer friendly version
Eylesbarrow & Sheeps Tor Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 8.0 miles / 13 km
Ascent - 1020 feet / 309 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SX568693
Lat 50.505938 + Long -4.0207773
Postcode PL20 6PF (approx. location only)
This southwestern sector of Dartmoor contains some of the National Park's finest scenery with Sheeps Tor dominating the landscape. Dartmoor is also home to a wide variety of antiquities and some of these are included in this route. More recent but no less interesting is the inclusion of Ditsworthy Warren, which was a commercial rabbit warren that closed in the mid-1950s.
The start is the small parking area at Norsworthy Bridge (Grid ref. SX 568693). From here continue along the road towards Sheeps Tor. Cross the small road bridge over a stream and bear right along a walled lane with the forest on your right. Pass the remains of Middleworth Farm on your right, which was one of the farms abandoned when the Burrator Reservoir was built.
Continue on the main path to reach the ruins of the farm at Deancombe. Just after the first group of buildings go left up a tree-lined path. Stay on this path to a gate which leads you onto open moorland. Stay with this path for a short way before trending half left to reach the summit of Down Tor from where there is a good view west. From the summit head east through the clitter field and head for a path that runs to the north (left) of a large stone enclosure.
From Down Tor go R through the clitter field on the eastern slope and make for a path running parallel with, and to the L of the large stone-walled enclosure. Follow the path uphill and continue through clitter to the crest of the slope and head for the circle and single stone row marked on the map (Grid ref. SX 588693). This prehistoric monument is very impressive with the stones running for over a thousand feet.
Continue to the eastern end of the stone row veering slightly north to reach a circular enclosure. From here go straight to the cairn, a massive heap of stones. From the cairn turn south east across open moorland to the summit of Eylesbarrow. The views from here are extensive and include much of both the north and south moors. Leave the summit in a southerly direction on a path that drops down to the ruins of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine.
Turn right onto the track and continue with this as it swings south passing a number of ruined mine buildings en route. Cross over the Drizzlecombe at a ford (Grid ref. SX 592675) and contour round to the right in the approximate direction of Shavercombe Tor. You will then soon reach the Drizzlecombe prehistoric stone rows and the huge cairn known as Giant's Basin. The prehistoric remains at Drizzlecombe rank amongst the finest on Dartmoor including three parallel rows and the tallest menhir on Dartmoor.
Follow the rows to their southeastern end and continue in the same direction towards a small group of trees on the skyline. Quite soon you will join the track leading to Ditsworthy Warren, which was once the largest commercial rabbit warren on Dartmoor. Just past the house at Ditsworthy Warren turn right to follow Edward's Path. This path contours the slopes of Eastern Tor and leads you to a small plantation of trees, a Scouts Hut and a track.
Turn right onto the track, following for some 100 metres or so. After crossing the leat go left and follow it uphill until it swings sharp left. From this point continue directly towards the summit of Sheeps Tor. Well known as a classic viewpoint the summit has plenty to keep you interested including the Pixies' Cave.
From the summit follow the distinct ridge northwards before descending half right down the slope in a northeasterly direction. About half way down veer left and make for the Narrator Plantation keeping the boundary wall on your right. Go through the gate (Grid ref. SX 567687) and follow the bridlepath down to the road. Turn right and you will soon be back at the start.