Tavy Cleave Circular Photography Walk
Information and summary
Tavy Cleave offers some of the most striking scenery for Landscape photography on the Dartmoor. This walk takes us straight from the car park onto the moor and climbs gently gaining height and providing stunning views along the Cleave.
The walk can be demanding, but that is of course dependant on your physical fitness, and as photographers we do tend to carry more weight in our packs than your average day walker. The climbs are not to difficult and mine was broken several times stopping to take photographs. Picking my way along the bottom of the Cleave was difficult with indistinct paths, boggy and very uneven ground. It would be very easy to twist an ankle or worse here. Tavy Cleave is fairly remote and is often deserted - so approach with caution. The walk should only attempted by experiences walkers, the ability to Navigate by map and compass is essential.
Our Walk takes us inside the Willsworthy Range, this a live firing exercise area for the MOD. must ensure that you obey all notices and warning.
Walk And Route Notes
Access to Tavy Cleave is not difficult, though the nearest Car Parking point is remote. And requires the navigation of several lanes which begin when turning off the A386 from Tavistock to Mary Tavy at the Mary Tavy Inn. The Car Park - Lane End - can be found on the OS Map (SX 537 823) essential for this walk
At this point the exact route becomes indistinct and you are left free to chose your own navigation. With the map and compass and good visual clues on a clear day navigation is not difficult. Nat Tor lies to your East after a short climb. The Tor provides a good view across the lower end of the Cleave and is a good viewpoint to observe the sun rising over the higher moor and With Ger Tor being our next objective clearly in front of us.
The Route to Gertor is even less clear but at least it can be seen clearly ahead. I try and follow the contour around the cleave whilst gently gaining height, The Granite boulders strewn randomly around provide good foreground interest and by following the Contour of the cleave, you are best placed to take advantage of them should lighting provide an opportunity to capture more images on the way.
The top of Ger tor is a great spot to take that well earned rest (Boiled Eggs and Coffee provide welcome nourishment on my walk!), on windy days there are enough formations of granite to provide suitable shelter regardless of the wind direction. The Tor provides stunning view down into the Cleave and the river Tavy sparkles in the sunshine as it flows below. A challenge to photograph as the river and landscape contain the extremes of exposure - impossible to capture in single exposure except when it is dull and overcast.
Hare Tor is our next summit to capture and can be seen to the North slightly to the East. As with Ger Tor my preferred route is to follow the contours of the Cleave keeping the Tor slightly to the North and then turn North at an appropriate point, looking a the map and reading the Landsape before you will reveal an obvious route to follow using the contours of the land so that you do not lose the altitude you have gained so far - I call it smart walking, why make it hard, unless of course it photograph is to be gained as a result.