Sheltered from the wind, the sun warms our backs as we sit and watch the sunshine glint off the still water. If we stand we can see miles of moorland stretched out before us, Great Mis Tor and Little Mis Tor behind us and Kings Tor to the right. Although less than 20 minutes drive from Tavistock, we could be in the middle of nowhere.
This is Foggintor Quarry.
For more than a hundred years, Foggintor Quarry was one of three great Dartmoor granite quarries, providing the stone for famous landmarks such as Nelson’s Column. The quarries have long since fallen silent and the moors have reclaimed the industrial landscape.
The last 80 years have seen the scarred pit transformed into a still, deep lake with the surrounding landscape betraying clues to its former life. The stone walls of buildings crumbled in the distant past now provide shelter for stoical Dartmoor ponies and windswept sheep. Large stones hewn from the earth lie scattered and old quarry waste forms a crumbling edifice.
To get there, park at the entrance to Yellowmeade Farm, just off the BB3357 and follow the flat, surfaced track that leads to the quarry, just over 1km away. The lake at Foggintor Quarry is a clamber over uneven ground towards the water’s edge, but be warned, this landscape has extreme drops and deep water so keep children closely supervised and exercise caution near edges.
If you prefer to stay on the track, there is plenty to see and explore as you pass the quarry. The expanse of Dartmoor that unfolds before you is quite simply breathtaking. The former railways lines that served the quarries create a flat walking route from Foggintor to Swelltor Quarry around the imposing King’s Tor and can be followed all the way to Princetown if you wanted to seriously stretch your legs.
For those who prefer a more sedate pace, then end your journey at Foggintor Quarry. Find a flat rock on which to sit and soak up the view before returning to your car.
To treat yourselves at the end of your walk, continue along the BB3357 for another five minutes and stop at the Two Bridges Hotel, perfect for tea and cake and it welcomes four legged members of the family too.
Distance: 2.5 km
Suitable for all terrain pushchairs and wheelchairs, although the path is uneven in places.
Photographs by Lee Maxwell www.lee-maxwell.com