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Information and summary

Tavy Cleave offers some of the most striking scenery for Landscape photography on the Dartmoor. This walk takes us straight from the car park onto the moor and climbs gently gaining height and providing stunning views along the Cleave.

The walk can be demanding, but that is of course dependant on your physical fitness, and as photographers we do tend to carry more weight in our packs than your average day walker. The climbs are not to difficult and mine was broken several times stopping to take photographs. Picking my way along the bottom of the Cleave was difficult with indistinct paths, boggy and very uneven ground. It would be very easy to twist an ankle or worse here. Tavy Cleave is fairly remote and is often deserted - so approach with caution. The walk should only attempted by experiences walkers, the ability to Navigate by map and compass is essential.

Our Walk takes us inside the Willsworthy Range, this a live firing exercise area for the MOD. must ensure that you obey all notices and warning.


Route Map


Walk And Route Notes

Lane End CarparkAccess to Tavy Cleave is not difficult, though the nearest Car Parking point is remote. And requires the navigation of several lanes which begin when turning off the A386 from Tavistock to Mary Tavy at the Mary Tavy Inn. The Car Park - Lane End - can be found on the OS Map (SX 537 823) essential for this walk

Tavy Cleave Crossing The Mine LeatThe walk begins by leaving the car park, walking back towards the cattle grid and turning to your left following the very well defined track onto the moor with the carpark behind and Nattor Farm on your left. Soon you will approach the entrance to Nattor Farm, here you turn your back on the farm and head uphill beginning the slow and gentle climb to Nattor. The trail leading uphill takes us towards a gate, the boundary markers of the Willsworthy Range soon come into view (Red and white Posts) Check the flag poles seen on the tops of the tors to make sure no warning flags are flying. The Gate opens up onto a bridge taking you across Mine Leat.

Taking a Brake above Tavy Cleave this point the exact route becomes indistinct and you are left free to chose your own navigation. With the map and compass and good visual clues on a clear day navigation is not difficult. Nat Tor lies to your East after a short climb. The Tor provides a good view across the lower end of the Cleave and is a good viewpoint to observe the sun rising over the higher moor and With Ger Tor being our next objective clearly in front of us.

The Route to Gertor is even less clear but at least it can be seen clearly ahead. I try and follow the contour around the cleave whilst gently gaining height, The Granite boulders strewn randomly around provide good foreground interest and by following the Contour of the cleave, you are best placed to take advantage of them should lighting provide an opportunity to capture more images on the way.

From The Top of GertorThe top of Ger tor is a great spot to take that well earned rest (Boiled Eggs and Coffee provide welcome nourishment on my walk!), on windy days there are enough formations of granite to provide suitable shelter regardless of the wind direction. The Tor provides stunning view down into the Cleave and the river Tavy sparkles in the sunshine as it flows below. A challenge to photograph as the river and landscape contain the extremes of exposure - impossible to capture in single exposure except when it is dull and overcast.

Hare Tor is our next summit to capture and can be seen to the North slightly to the East. As with Ger Tor my preferred route is to follow the contours of the Cleave keeping the Tor slightly to the North and then turn North at an appropriate point, looking a the map and reading the Landsape before you will reveal an obvious route to follow using the contours of the land so that you do not lose the altitude you have gained so far - I call it smart walking, why make it hard, unless of course it photograph is to be gained as a result.

Hare Tor PanoramaHare Tor provides a wonderful Panoramic view showing our route so far and also where we are heading next. I am sure on the right day with low story clouds and and dramatic lighting it yield so more first class photographs revealing the remoteness and exposure attached to this place, but today on my walk it is bright, early June without a cloud in the sky, I leave the camera in the bag and look forwards at Sharp Tor in the North just a small distance away. Climbing Sharptor is optional as our route is now going to turn down hill to the East following Dead Lake to Dead Lake Foot. (If you Climb Sharp Tor make sure you return to the southern side Of Dead Lake before heading to Dead Lake foot or you will be on the wrong side of the stream at the bottom.)
Tavy Cleave Waterfall, Colour Panoramic Print
With the waterfall shown as a backdrop, this offers a great spot for lunch, the waterfall it self provides many opportunities for photography and a selection are included in the photographs shown below. Continuing from hear the walk is much easier with well defined paths lead you back to the Mine Leat, follow this back to the gate above Nattor Farm and retrace your steps back to the carpark. It is worth visiting this waterfall on its own, take a look at the Tavy Cleave Waterfall Location Guide.

Photographs Taken Along The Walk

I walked this route at different times of the year and with different weather conditions. The Cleave has never failed to present interesting and different photographic opportunities. The are a few examples of the images taken, All of these images are available to purchased.

I run photography workshops on Dartmoor, I would be happy to visit the locations io the walk during a workshop although maybe not by the same route as this. If you are interested in a Dartmoor Photograph Workshop Please Visit the Dartmoor Photograph Workshop Page 

The Author and Photographer does not accept any liability for loss, damage or injury resulting from the use of this website. The descriptions and maps are designed to be an aide to finding good photographic locations in the Dartmoor National Park and should not be use as the sole method of navigation. Take care on Dartmoor, the weather can change fast, the landscape is often featureless and difficult to navigate. Ensure you carry an Ordinance Survey Map and compass at all times and that you can use them. Wear good supportive footwear ideally walking boots and always carry waterproofs drinks and snacks.