Burrator Quarries

About this route

Located on the south-western edge of Dartmoor close to the impressive Burrator Reservoir are the disused Upper and Lower Burrator Quarries.

The Upper Burrator Quarry offers an opportunity to view a rare exposure of the contact between the Dartmoor granite and Devonian rocks. Indeed, veins of pink granite can be seen penetrating these rocks which were once slates resulting from the deep burial and intense deformation of mudstone, originally laid down in marine conditions. However, the high temperatures that resulted from the intrusion of the hot granite transformed them into re-crystallised rocks known as hornfels.  Minerals such as black tourmaline have been formed in the original slate.

Getting Around

On foot: both of the quarries are situated on Yennadon Down which is common land. You can roam freely on foot and on horseback.

By bus: there is a regular bus service from Yelverton to the nearby village of Dousland. There is also a regular service to Yelverton from Tavistock and Plymouth, visit the Travel Devon website for the latest times.

By bike: National Cycle Network Route 27 ‘Devon’s Coast to Coast’ from Plymouth to Ilfracombe runs near to Yelverton and the site.

By road: The site is accessed from the minor road heading east from Yelverton towards Burrator Reservoir. The site lies west of the road approx. 300 metres south of the reservoir’s dam.  Car parking is available in the southern quarry.

Car parking available in the southern quarry.
Take care, steep cliffs around the edge of quarries.

Interesting information

The Lower Burrator Quarry exposes granite intersected by a series of joints. Joints are fractures in the granite resulting from stresses caused by cooling, by pressures from earth movements or by the removal of a load when the rocks once above the granite are eroded away.

A booklet entitled ‘The evolution of a Dartmoor Landscape – exploring Burrator’ by Peter Keene, gives more detail on the geology of the quarries and the Burrator area in general. It is available to download or purchase from the Dartmoor National Park Authority website.

Burrator is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is managed by the South West Lakes Trust.

Photo of the road to Burrator on Dartmoor lined with granite marker stone
Road to Burrator by Mick Lobb

You can explore more in this area

Photo of a bridge over a river at Merrivale


Located on the west side of Dartmoor, this site is home to a number of impressive landforms that are defined