Tavy Cleave to Ger Tor Circular Walk, Mary Tavy, Dartmoor National Park

Tavy Cleave to Ger Tor Circular Walk, Mary Tavy, Dartmoor National Park

Walking Tavy Cleave and Ger Tor

Tavy Cleave is a stunning valley cut by the River Tavy on the western side of Dartmoor. This walk follows the River Tavy in the valley and then loops around the top of Tavy Cleave to Tavy Cleave Tors and Ger Tor. The terrain in the upper section of Tavy Cleave is relatively difficult so this is for experienced walkers.

It's a wonderful circular walk with top views. You can also wild swim in the River Tavy on your way.


How far is it and how long will it take?

The walk is roughly 6 km/4 m in length. It's about 200m ascent.

The Ordnance Survey app states that this takes about 1.30 hrs. We tend to cover a Dartmoor mile in 30 mins so plan for 2 hrs to enjoy the views and take photos.


What's the walking like?

The walking is mostly flat and easy. There's a steep-ish ascent to get to the top of one of the valley walls.

The path is quite vague in the upper section of Tavy Cleave which is why we'd recommend it for experienced walkers only.


Is there a path?

Yes and no. There are paths by the leat and within the lower section of Tavy Cleave. The path becomes quite vague in the upper section of Tavy Cleave. You're then walking across open moorland on your return.


Is it well signposted?

No. This is a relatively remote river cleave/valley and open moorland.


Start at Lanehead/Lane End

Start at the car parking area at Lanehead/Lane End just up the road from Horndon and Mary Tavy on the edge of the British Army's Merrivale Firing Range as marked on Ordnance Survey Explorer mapping (print and digital). This car parking area is clearly visible on Google's satellite mapping. Google firing times before you go.


Follow the leat into Tavy Cleave

Walk east of the car parking area and you'll come to a leat, or man-made waterway, which curls around Nat Tor to the tail of Tavy Cleave. There's a good path at the side of the leat that eventually connects with a wide section of the River Tavy at the head of the leat. Ger Tor rises above you.

From the head of the leat, follow the north bank of the river into the heart of Tavy Cleave. You'll come to a flat area with the stunning Tavy Cleave Tors towering above you. This section of Tavy Cleave is popular with wild swimmers.

Note that there's a path that rises very steeply from this section of Tavy Cleave to the west side of Tavy Cleave Tors. Use this if you don't want to explore the upper section of Tavy Cleave.


Continue to the upper end of Tavy Cleave

Continue on the north bank of the river into the upper section of Tavy Cleave. The path turns into a skinny track and you pick your way along the riverbank past waterfalls and cascades. The terrain isn't easy but the sound and views back down the cleave are amazing.

You'll see an army hut ahead at the top of the valley where Rattle Brook flows into the River Tavy. Before you get to the area where the rivers meet, head up the side of the moor and walk back in the direction of Tavy Cleave Tors.


Head west along the top of Tavy Cleave to Ger Tor

You are now above the River Tavy on the lip of the cleave. Dartmoor's north plateau opens up with the distinctive mass of rocks at Fur Tor to the east.

Climb Tavy Cleave Tors for sensational views although be careful as the drops are big. Again, note that a path descends steeply to the valley floor here.

A track dips to a stream, runs past an ancient settlement and then rises to the beautiful Ger Tor. Again, the views from Ger Tor to Tavy Cleave and then beyond to Fur Tor are glorious.

From Ger Tor, drop down to Lane End.


Dartmoor sunsets

Given that Tavy Cleave is in the western section of Dartmoor National Park, try to walk this for sunset. The sun lights up the cleave and is magnificent as it sets over the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Cornwall.


Similar walks in Dartmoor National Park

If you're looking for similar valley walks then we'd recommend the Teign Gorge Circular Walk to the north of the Park and the Lustleigh Cleave to Hunter's Tor Circular Walk to the east of the Park.