Information & Summary
This walk is relatively easy, it follows the route of a disused railway serving the abandoned quarries in the Princetown and Kings Tor area. Visiting the quarries is the highlight of the walk. There is a short amount of open moorland walking and some difficult terrain underfoot around the quarries. I covered around 10km on this walk and it took around 4 hours leaving plenty of time to look around Princetown.
The start point is easily reached and the Car park in Princetown behind the visitor centre provides access to shops, galleries, and local pubs for refreshments and toilets. (Note there is small charge for use of the toilet) Car parking charges are minimal.
View Foggintor, Sewel Quarry and Kings Tor in a larger map
Walk Route And Notes.
The walks begins in the visitor Dartmoor Visitor Centre car park in Princetown. Leave the car park using the vehicle entrance and turn left, follow the road passing the fire station on the left. When you reach the road sign for Station cottages leave the road taking the path on your left. Directly in front you will see the GWR stable.
The GWR (Great western Railway) stable (c.1909) is the last remaining commercial property from the Princetown Railway Station. The station was located to the left of the stable. The Station Masters house and railway cottages still survive.
Follow the path past the stable and pass through a small gate. To your left you pass the station cottages and continuing on our walk we come to the end of a small plantation. To our left we can see the famous Dartmoor landmark of the radio mast at North Hessary Tor. The Railway track now stretches away in front of us. Follow the track as it curves gently around the moorland, along the way we pass over a small bridge between some railings. Continue along the track passing through the railway cutting with high banks to your left and right. Exit the cutting, just before the next railway bridge we leave the safety of the track. (We will join this section of track here again on our return route)
Turn of the track to your right descending and crossing a boggy area, care must be taken to pick a safe route across the small bog. On reaching firmer ground on the other side a feint path can be seen climbing the hillside to Foggintor Quarry. Care must be taken in limited visibility, as the quarry is unfenced with shear and unforgiving drops on all sides. As you approach the quarry edge you will encounter testament to the sites popularity with rock climbers; there are a multitude of metal spikes in the ground for tying on ropes. Our route takes us around right hand side of the quarry descending as the route curves around to the left to eventually join the railway track. Take some time to explore there are many opportunities for photographers but stay safe the quarry is a dangerous place.
On reaching the railway track you will see the remains of Hill cottages in front of you. Turn left and head along the track leave the quarry workings behind and look up to your right a wide a clearly defined grassy track will come into view climbing up hill this will take us to Swell Tor quarry our next destination. From the railway track take the path leading downhill to the right. This path will take us across 2 railway cuttings and a smaller path before joining the wide grassy track we could see after leaving Foggintor. Climb up the wide track to the edge of Swell Tor quarry. Swell Tor is best visited in fine weather the descent under foot can some times be uneven and slippery when wet. Before racing ahead and descending to our next railway track take some time to observe the landscape and photography opportunities. (Watch where you put your feet!) There are many routes that you could follow across the top of the quarry, to try and describe a precise one would leave you with a list of instructions impossible to follow. Trace the line of the edge of the quarry downhill. As you near the bottom of the quarry the way ahead will become more distinct as obvious paths emerge from the ground.
Photographers, various interesting landscape will open up before you with the ruined quarry workings making an interesting foreground looking across the moorland and ruined buildings below.
After descending you will find yourself on a disused railway siding with some ruined quarry buildings. Turn right and follow the track. Along the way you will see evidence of the quarrying work with half completed worked stone strewn across the track, including a line discarded granite corbels; these were destined for London Bridge but for whatever reason were left behind. Continuing along the siding you will see the main railway line below to our left climbing to meet us before an embankment at the foot of Kings Tor.
If you wish leave the track and climb to the top of Kings Tor, from here there are views across to Foggintor Quarry and the surrounding moorland. If you take this detour carry on over the top of the Tor and descend the other side to pick up the railway track once more.
Staying on the track we will cross another railway bridge with wooden handrails on each side. The way ahead then turns to the right passing through a railway cutting before straightening out then turning right again as we begin the return leg of our walk. The way back is easy, continue to follow the railway track. You can see the full extent of Foggintor quarry to our right as we pass by, the full size of the spoil heaps is revealed. The track twists and turns gradually as we head back to Princetown. We will join our outward-bound route after crossing the railway bridge where we first left the track from Princetown at the start of the walk. Follow this back past the Station cottages, and the GWR stable arriving back at the car park.
The Author has produced the following photographs at the locations on this walk. There are many other unique possabilities. The challenge is to go and find them. If you would like some help, want to learn about your camera or improve your landscape photography, join me on a Dartmoor20 Photography Workshop