Enjoy a 360 virtual tour of Foggintor Quarry once industrial, now all that remains is a idyllic, picturesque lake surrounded by granite cliffs
Foggintor quarry is about a mile walk from either along the track that leads to Yellowmeade Farm, or from Princetown itself following the old granite railway behind Station Cottages from the car park. Either way it’s an easy walk unless you’re carrying camping gear, if so you’ll want to take the lightest set up you have as a couple of my friends felt there arms were going to fall off after walking the mile trek. Without any gear though it would be an easy walk as its level and you just follow the old tramway all the way to the quarry, though the ground is a little uneven under foot with the granite sleepers still embedded in much of the ground.
We set our tents up on the outskirts of the quarry and were chilling with a drink when we were approached by a couple of park rangers. What we hadn’t realised was even though we had checked the camping map and the whole area is marked purple which is stated as fine to camp, the ranger told us that we weren’t allowed to camp where we were or anywhere within the grounds of the quarry ruins, the railway track or within site of Yellowmead farm. Thankfully they didn’t force us to move there and then. They were very reasonable and simply asked us to move on first thing in the morning. They also asked if we had parked any vehicles on the grass verge or down the track from the highway. If you do you will be asked to move your vehicle. There were many cars parked where they shouldn’t and the park ranger had left a note on all the cars windscreens. Thankfully it wasn’t any of us, so we didn’t have to move.
You could spend an hour here or you could spend all day. It just depends on how far you would like to walk and how much you want to see. There are the industrial ruins to look around, the quarry lake and many left over pieces of worked granite. You can walk to Swell Tor Quarry and see the remaining London Bridge corbels, then follow the old railway line around Kings Tor and back. You can even extend your walk to the Merrivale Stone Rows which are North West of the quarry.
Since Foggintor quarry closed nature has slowly been claiming it back for itself. The Tor of Foggintor has long since disappeared to the explosives, picks and shovels of the workers, all that now remains is a large basin lake surrounded by granite cliffs. You should take care when exploring the site as it is an unmanaged area with no official paths around or within. There are 100ft drops located around many of the edges and when the fog rolls in it can be really dangerous. These high cliffs do have some great routes to climb for climbers with lots of crags. The views south and west are excellent, particularly over Kings Tor and Great Staple Tor and if you’re here at the right time you’ll witness as we did, an amazing sunset. Finally not forgetting all the animals you’re surrounded by sheep, cattle, ponies and frogs. Don’t leave food unattended and when you leave, leave everything how you found it.
Foggintor Quarry also known as Royal Oak is located in Dartmoor, Devon, UK. It lies a mile along a rough track south from the Tavistock – Princetown road and has high, cleanly cut quarry faces, large rubble tips and the remains of numerous buildings.
- Foggintor was once a proper Tor however from around 1785 it was extensively quarried as the quality of the granite was found to be superior to granite from other quarries on Dartmoor.
- The Granite from this quarry was used to build the Dartmoor Prison constructed to house French prisoners of war and a number of the buildings in Princetown.
- Foggintor Quarry supplied the granite that was used to build famous landmarks such as Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London and stone from Swell Tor Quarry was used to construct the old London Bridge which was moved to the United States. A number of unused corbels from the London Bridge project remain at the side of the old railway at Swell Tor.
- It would have seen up to 400 people working within the quarry at its peak.
- Foggintor Quarry closed in 1906, however the railway served the other quarries long after and Swell Quarry continued to provide Granite until the 1930’s.
- The old GWR track bed was opened in 1823 as the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway (a horse-drawn tramway).
- For decades there were rumours and sightings of eerie humanoid figures seen lurking in the quarry at night and the locals dubbed them the ‘Shadow Men.’ It was later revealed they had actually been elite soldiers on top secret training missions.
- The area is used for climbing and water crossing Royal Marines training.
Foggintor Quarry opened around 1820 and was originally known as “Royal Oak Quarry”. There were known to be up to 30 cottages, a Manager’s house, smithy, powder house, dressing sheds, stables and Wesleyan chapel built 1883. In its peak year of 1861, 183 people were living here. Closure of Foggintor Quarry came in 1906, however, the community of houses which developed around the Foggintor Quarry continued to house quarrymen and their families employed at the nearby Swell Tor Quarry which continued in operation until 1938.
We set our tents up on the outskirts of the quarry and were chilling with a drink when we were approached by a couple of park rangers. What we hadn’t realised was even though we had checked the camping map and the whole area is marked purple which is stated as fine to camp, the ranger told us that we weren’t allowed to camp where we were or anywhere within the grounds of the quarry ruins, the railway track or within site of Yellowmead farm. Thankfully they didn’t force us to move there and then. They were very reasonable and simply asked us to move on first thing in the morning.
- King’s Tor
- London Bridge corbels
- Merrivale Standing Stone
- Merrivale Stone Rows
- North Hessary Tor
- Rock climbing
- Swell Tor
- West Mead Quarry
- Windy Post Granite Cross
- Wild water swimming
From the car park off the B3357, it’s around a 20 minute mile walk to Foggintor Quarry following the remains of the old granite railway.
- Wheelchair access is difficult with granite railway sleepers embedded into the paths making it uneven, but it could be possible with off road wheels.
B3212, Yelverton PL20 6SS. Reached using the B3357 and between Tavistock and Two Bridges.
- Bus, 98 from Tavistock to Dartmoor Prison. Get off at the Cross Stop by the gate for North Hessary Tor transmission station.
- Car, Car parking was at the small quarry seen on turning into the track to Yellowmeade Farm and across the road from there, by the ruins of Foggintor Mission Hall. There is also some space up the hill at the old Pump House. You can also park on the Yelverton to Princetown road and follow the disused granite railway to the quarry.
- Cycling keep the moor car free and yourself fit, check out the Dartmoor Way for routes.
- Taxi, Mooreland Taxis 01626 835095.
- Walking/hiking, Around 4 miles from Princetown.
Tip: Only park in the car parks, you have to keep your vehicle within 15m of the highway or you will be asked to move by a park ranger or a note left on your windscreen.
Tip: Remember Dartmoor has a 40mph speed limit to protect the cattle, sheep and ponies who freely roam the moor and can wander onto the roads at any time.
- Only park in the car parks or keep your vehicle within 15m of the highway. If not you will be asked to move by a park ranger or a note left on your windscreen.
- Do not get too close to the rim of the quarry as you walk around it! There are 100 ft drops to the bottom.
- You are not allowed to camp anywhere within the grounds of the quarry ruins, the railway track or within site of Yellowmead farm.
- Camping, individuals and small groups are allowed to camp for up to two nights in the same place without asking permission. When planning your trip, make sure you check-out the Dartmoor Wild Camping map. All wild campers must adhere to the Dartmoor Backpack Camping Code.
- You can see all my camping gear here.
- It is important to keep all gates shut in order to prevent cross-breeding with ponies from the surrounding area. Please do not feed the ponies.
- The ponies on Dartmoor aren’t wild animals. They all belong to farmers. Many years ago they were used to transport things like food, wool and tin across the moor or they worked in the mines.
- The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust is a registered charity dedicated to the preservation of the Dartmoor pony breed. The pedigree and approved heritage Dartmoor ponies graze the moor, helping to keep the vegetation down and create diverse grassland areas for wildlife.
- Beware of adders, the Uk’s only venomous snake. Though seldom fatal, adder bites can have nasty effects, including swelling, drowsiness, vomiting and diarrhoea, so you should always see a doctor straight away. Adders bite hundreds of people every year, but have caused only 14 fatalities since 1876 (and none since 1975).
- Leave no trace, take your rubbish home and leave it how you find it.
- Don’t light fires or BBQ’s directly on the grass, always use a rock or a camping stove/bbq with legs so not to damage the ground.
- If the weather deteriorates do not hesitate to turn back.
- Dogs must be kept on a lead in the presence of grazing animals.
- Get £50 off your first Airbnb trip click here.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?