Beardown Man Standing Stone, Princetown, Dartmoor National Park

Beardown Man Standing Stone, Princetown, Dartmoor National Park

The River Cowsic rises in a particularly boggy area of Dartmoor's north plateau close to the source of the River Tavy and West Dart River. The river cuts a deep valley that runs down to the Two Bridges area. If you walk the moorland west of this river, you'll see a tall, thin object breaking the skyline on the opposite side of the valley. It's a surreal sight and, as we've written on one of our sister sites 'PictureTheUK', is reminiscent of the black slab in Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey'. Up close, the stone is huge and all the more impressive because there's very little else of note in the surrounding area apart from the flat, rocky outcrops of the evocatively named Devil's Tor.

To visit, we'd recommend you walk in from the car parking area at Holming Beam. Cross the River Cowsic using the footbridge below Holming Beam and follow one of the army tracks up towards the rocky outcrops of Beardown Tors. You'll connect with another track that takes you to Lydford Tor. Stiles take you over a wall north to Devil's Tor. This is the beginning of the high north plateau so the terrain is wet and boggy. Beardown Man Standing Stone is unmissable from Devil's Tor. Note the remote Fur Tor and Cut Hill are to the north. We'd very much recommend a visit. We've positioned Beardown Man Standing Stone on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its exact location.

You can also walk in from the car parking area across the road from Two Bridges Hotel. Consult the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map but paths run up either side of the West Dart River valley to the high moors where the standing stone is located. If you're coming from this direction, we'd recommend following the path up the western side of the valley past Beardown Tors as this avoids crossing the West Dart River at Wistman's Wood Ford. If you follow the path up the eastern side of the valley through Wistman's Wood then you have to ford the river. After a spell of dry weather, this is fine. After wet weather, the river is impassable so best to stick to the other side to avoid a crossing.

Also note that Beardown Man Standing Stone is in a firing range. Google army firing times before you go.

If this is of interest, also see the largest stone at Drizzle Combe Standing Stone and the large stones at the northern end of Stalldown Stone Row. Both are on the southern moor.