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Foggintor Quarry – A favourite place to visit

One of our favourite afternoon walks especially as it is only a 5 minute drive up the road.
Amazing views always guaranteed.

The Quarry

One great silence is the quarry now – an amphitheatre of peace and quiet hemmed by the broken abutments of granite, and opening upon the hillside. The heather extends over wide, dun spaces to a blue distance, where evening lies dim upon the plains beneath; round about a minor music of dripping water tinkles from the sides of the quarry; a current of air brushes the pools and for a moment frets their pale surfaces; the dead rushes murmur and then are silent; here and there, along the steps and steep places; flash the white scuts of the rabbits. A pebble is dislodged by one of them, and falling into the water beneath, sets rings of light widening out upon it and raises a little shadow.”, Phillpotts, p.78.

Foggintor Quarry is a disused quarry that has filled with water and now is a deep, still lake, used for visiting hikers, film locations, training for armed force, wild swimmers and climbing enthusiasts. You can enjoy a very memorable walk here, a picnic will give you a view over the lake, with Great Mis and Little Mis Tor at your back and Kings Tor alongside. You can walk down to the waters edge but beware as the paths are rocky and sometimes slippery. There is a most beautiful walk around the top of the quarry, looking out over the water from the high height.

the detective came to a great crater that gaped on the hillside, and stood above the dead quarry workings of Foggintor. Underneath him opened a cavity with sides two hundred feet high. Its peaks and precipices fell, here, by granite granite steps, here stark and sheer over broad faces of granite, where only weeds and saplings of mountain ash and thorn could find a foothold.  The bottom was one vast litter of stone and fern, where foxgloves nodded above the masses of debris and wild things made their home. Water fell over many a shelf and in the desolation lay great and small pools.” – p.10.

Foggintor was a working quarry throughout the 1800s and 1900s. One of the 3 great granite quarries in Dartmoor, providing stone for Nelson’s Column and other famous landmarks

1841; “Foggintor Granite is at present extensively used for all the purposes which granite has been hitherto applied. It is superior to any other in this country for steps. plinths, string and blocking courses, ashlars, pedestals, obelisks, columns, cornices, and indeed for all the other purposes of architecture because of the freedom and comparative ease with which it can be worked… whilst the purity and evenness of its colour, and the fineness of its texture in the deep beds, give it an advantages not possessed in an equal degree by the produce of any other quarry in Great Britain.”, Civil Engineer & Architect Journal, p.322.

In the November of 1858 it was reported in many newspapers that a 10 pound powder blast removed a single block of granite weighing over 1,000 tons, it measured 45 ft. long, 25 ft. wide and 14 ft. thick. This just gives some idea as to how effective the quarrying operation was at Foggintor.

If you would like further information about Foggintor we recommend the Visit Dartmoor Website for lots of information.

The Other Buildings around the Quarry

When you visit the quarry you can see remnants of the older buildings, left in situ alongside the quarry. An old chapel stands in pieces over looking Kings Tor. Standing there you can imagine this was a place full of hustle and bustle and with many of the workers living nearby quite a large community grew up in and around the quarry. This led to a need for the school and after using the nearby Mission Hall a much larger school was built on the site of what today is Four Winds carpark.

The Quarry is an easy place to find. Parking can sometimes we limited so I always suggest an early visit. You enter the pathway to the quarry on the entrance to Yellow Mead Farm. The is on the B3357 Tavistock to Princetown Road. (just up the hill from the Park). Parking here or outside the old South West Water building, you can walk along the solid path to the quarry. Alternatively you can start from Princetown and walk along the old railway line.

The quarry is often used for training for emergency services, army etc. It’s extreme landscape proving a mean task for climbers and extreme training. The dogs love the pool for wild swimming, (even a few people join them too but it is chilly!). The ponies, sheep and cattle wild amongst the rocks strewn across this moorland, leaving a desolate but welcoming place to visit, especially at sunset.