Bench Tor, Holne, Dartmoor National Park

Bench Tor, Holne, Dartmoor National Park

If you're on holiday in Dartmoor National Park in Autumn then head for Bench Tor. Topping a spur of moorland that juts out into the Dart Gorge, it's a breathtaking place. The heavily wooded gorge walls are a riot of colour. After a spell of heavy rain, water roars in the River Dart below. We cannot recommend the place highly enough. It's also in the Dart Valley Nature Reserve and near two exceptionally popular visitor spots at New Bridge and Dartmeet.

We've positioned Bench Tor on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location. To visit, head for Venford Reservoir. There are two large car parking areas on either side of the dam. Start from the car parking area to the east as marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map. Bench Tor is to the north.

Grass tracks run across open moorland to the first outcrop on the edge of White Wood. From there, continue north to the outcrops on the edge of the spur. The views east and west into the gorge are very special. Mel Tor is across the gorge. Sharp Tor and its distinctive point are to the north west. The popular wild swimming spot Sharrah Pool is way below at the bottom of the gorge to the south east.

Note that you can drop down to the southern bank of the River Dart from the Bench Tor area. To do so, walk to the corner of the water works from the car parking area east of the dam. You pick up a wide track. Follow this and you come to a path on your left that runs down the side of Venford Brook to the River Dart. Great experience. Come back the same way or you'll have to clamber up through woods which is tough going.