Brent Tor

About this route

Brent Tor is one of the most impressive rock outcrops on Dartmoor. With St Michael’s Church at its top, it makes a distinctive and famous silhouette on the Dartmoor skyline.  It is a unique example of an early Carboniferous basaltic volcano, now weathered down.

The tor is unusual as it is one of the few on Dartmoor not to be made of granite. In fact, it is formed from basaltic lava which flowed some 350 million years ago into a shallow sea that covered the area during the Lower Carboniferous and Devonian periods. As the lava flowed out into the sea some solidified  into globular masses known as pillow lavas. Others were broken up by explosive contact with the sea water.

This lava formed a mound on the sea floor which was then eroded by sea currents, with the resulting debris being washed down the slopes of the mound.  Debris of this nature can still be seen loose on the southern slopes of the tor.

Getting Around

By bike: The National Cycle Network Route 27 (Plymouth to Ilfracombe) runs near the site.

By bus: Services run between Okehampton and Tavistock, stopping at nearby North Brentor, see www.journeydevon.info for latest times.

By road: From Exeter take the A30, leaving it at Sourton and following towards Tavistock. A local road south-west from Lydford reaches North Brentor village.  A car park is located just below Brent Tor itself.

Facilities
Car park and toilets available directly west of Brent Tor.
Terrain
Steep uneven terrain.
Accessibility

Interesting information

Around the Tor are Iron Age earthworks, the remnants of a Hill fort.  Unusually, these are at the base of the Tor, rather than the summit as is more normal.

The Church of St Michel de Rupe (“Saint Michael of the Rock”) dates from the 13th century and measures 15 feet (4.6 m) wide and 37 feet (11 m) long. At one point, the Church may have been used as a beacon tower, used to spread word of enemies seen at sea.

Brent Tor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Photo by Chris Downe

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