Scattered across the high country of Dartmoor are over 200 tors - weathered outcrops of fractured rock, nearly always granite, on top of minor summits, generally rising just a little way about the rolling, treeless surroundings. Amongst the most extensive and prominent is Bellever Tor (1,455 feet), close to the centre of Dartmoor National Park, in the middle of a 3 mile arc of high ground on the west side of the East Dart River.
The rocks on the summit cover an area about 1000 feet across, with a group of large central formations surrounded by many smaller blocks, all showing the characteristic erosion into thin, parallel layers, and an hour or so could be spent exploring, looking for the most photogenic angles, as well as enjoying the panoramic views. The tor is named after the nearby hamlet of Bellever, beside an ancient ford over the river.
Many of the tors on Dartmoor are close to a paved road and so quick to visit but Bellever is just far enough to require a proper walk, of up to 1.5 miles, depending on the route; the summit can be reached from the north, south, east or west, since it lies close to the major B3212-B3357 junction, as well as the minor road to the hamlet.
Bellever Tor once looked out over typical grass-covered slopes in all directions but most of the land to the north is now part of a large forestry plantation, established in the 1930s. This part of Dartmoor is also notable for the many ancient sites, which provide another reason to visit, and although some are hidden within the forest and others are barely recognisable, a few can still readily be identified. Relics in the vicinity comprise hut circles, livestock enclosures, cairns and cists or kistvaens, which are box-shaped stone burial chambers, from the Neolithic period.
Walking Routes to the Tor
The most popular route to Bellever Tor is from the north, starting from the Dartmoor National Park visitor centre in Postbridge, along the B3212. A track on the opposite side of the road enters the forest and heads south, past several junctions, exiting the trees after about a mile and reaching the summit of the tor in 1.5 miles, after climbing 450 feet. The western approach is from a smaller parking place on the B3212, from where a track enters the forest and meets the northern approach; the shortest route via this track is 1.1 miles. The track formed part of the original road to Bellever prior to the plantation, and its eastwards continuation provides a route to the tor from the village, also 1.1 miles. There are two southern approaches, both less used; one begins from Dunnabridge Pound Farm on the B3357, heading north alongside a wall then across open land of gorse, bracken and grass, coming close to the plantation and arriving at the tor after 1.1 miles. The other option (1.2 miles) begins from a parking place 0.4 miles west, at the start of a short track from where a path forks left and soon is also following a wall, which curves round the edge of a broad, marshy valley and later approaches part of the plantation, before climbing to the tor.