Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks, walking the Stone Rows and Stone Circles of Dartmoor
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Dartmoor Walk: Merrivale Complex

ROUTE: Easy walk. Start Princetown. Finish Princetown. Distance 11km.

SITES OF INTEREST: Merrivale Complex & Walkhampton Settlements

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Walk originally based on the discontinued Transmoor Bus Service. Probably now possible starting from Plymouth to Yelverton or starting from Tavistock.

Merrivale Complex

Start Princetown bus stop. Go pass the High Moorland Visitor Centre and on to Station Road. At the end of station road follow the disused rail path westwards. This is the Yelverton-Princetown railway which was built in 1881 using most of the trackbed of the earlier Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway (P & DR), a horse truck tramroad opened in 1823 for the purpose of transporting granite. The line was closed in 1956, see the wikipedia entry for Yelverton-Princetown railway for more detail.

Follow the rail path for around 2 km until it starts to approach Swell Tor and King's Tor. The track hugs the contours looping around Swell Tor and King Tor then having almost doubled back on itself it heads south to curve around Ingra Tor. In the near distance there is a bridge visible over the rail track as it heads towards Ingra Tor. On the slopes below to the left is the Yes Tor Bottom Bronze Age pound and settlements.

Follow the rail path further towards King's Tor. On the right are two forks, the first heads to Foggintor Quarries but this can be investigated on the way back so keep on the main path until it starts to curve round King's Tor. From here there is a relatively dry route down to the Merrivale Complex. Descend the slope heading north towards a wall enclosing a field. Follow the wall to the right. Find a suitable place to cross the Long Ash Brook and then head west towards the Merrivale menhir which should now be visible. The Merrivale Complex including the stone circle and stone rows are not very far away.

Return to Princetown via Foggintor Quarries. The most direct route is across quite boggy terrain. This can be avoided by by heading towards Yellowmeade farm but sticking to the higher ground near the rail track path used on the way out. A route into Foggintor Quarries can then be found passing the enormous spoil tips. Alternatively return by retracing the outward route and taking the fork in the track mentioned earlier to get to Foggintor. Another alternative drier route is to walk from the Merrivale Complex sticking close to the road to join the path that heads due S to Foggintor.

Page last updated 22/8/11