Staple Tor – Dartmoor Locations #1

In Articles On Monday, October 24, 2011

The first of my Dartmoor Locations series, I will be covering the enigmatic Staple Tor. The article covers how to get there, what to shoot and some common pitfalls. I also share a number of my favourite images of Staple Tor.

This is the first of my Dartmoor location reviews. I’ll start with an all-time classic, Staple Tor.

Staple Tor is an iconic Tor on the western moor, just off the B3357. It’s striking granite stacks are amongst the best on Dartmoor and that, combined with its easy accessibility, makes it one of the favourite locations for photographers. Don’t let the number of images of this Tor put you off though, there is always plenty to shoot!

Mist surrounding Staple Tor

Staple Tor from King Tor with mist rolling in after sunset

How to get there

Staple Tor is about 300m north of the B3357 on the western side side of the moor towards Tavistock. If coming from the west then drive past the main Cox Tor Car park and stop at the car park which is a few hundred meters down the road to your left. If coming from the east then head up the hill past the Dartmoor in and you will see the parking spot on your right. From the car park you can see the tor itself with Middle Staple Tor a little bit closer to you. No doubt I wont have to spell out how to walk there, but it is very easy going! You will know when you have arrived because you will be surrounded by several massive granite stacks.

[map from google]

Photo Opportunities

There are an enormous number of potential shots at the tor in all directions in almost any light it really is that good. I am sure the images on this page will give you a feel of what is possible (don’t copy them, find you own shots!). I strongly recommend properly exploring the tor to give yourself a feel for the location and the many potential images that may be made. If you are lost for ideas this is a great location to keep it simple! The stacks of granite at Staple Tor create such striking silhouettes that you really can’t go wrong!


Staple Tor silhouetted against the sunset

Staple Tor has a number of granite tors which can make excellent silhouettes

There is an excellent 360 degree view from Staple Tor. From here you can see the winding walkham valley to the north and west, Vixen Tor towards the south west and Brentor on the western horizon. Over my many visits to the Staple Tor, it has been rare that I havent been able to make something from the view.

Nearby to the north is Roos Tor, altogether harder to photography and less impressive, however it is still worth exploring given its proximity and there are good compositions to be found.

Roos Tor drifting mist

Roos Tor at sunrise in the summer. You can often see mist down in the valley.

To the south is Middle Staple Tor, which you passed on your way. I am yet to make a successful image of this tor, but it certainly is possible.

To the west is Cox Tor, a quarried Tor with very little potential for the photography. Similarly Great Mis Tor to the east poses considerable challenge when trying to find compositions, but certainly I have seen some nice images from here.

Notable pitfalls

Towards the south-west lies the radio mast at Hessary Tor.  In the winter at sunrise it is almost impossible to avoid the mast it if you wish to include the sun in your image.

In the early and late summer Great Mis Tor will delay sunrise light striking the Tor. Be sure to check the sunrise direction relative to Great Mis if you wish to capture the last moments of light.

More images of Staple Tor

Snow Covers Staple Tor

Staple Tor is great to visit in the snow

Staple Tor Pink Cirrus

Staple Tor with cirrus above long after sunset

sunrise Staple Tor

Staple Tor is a great location for sunrise but be aware of the Hessary Tor mast!


  1. Hi Alex. Nice write up, I’m off to copy your compositions! Only joking 😉 Thanks for making the effort to write the blog, people do read them even if they don’t respond.

  2. Could wehave more of your Dartmoor blogs please?

  3. Thanks for info, I visit Exeter 4 or 5 times a year from Dover in Kent, so great opportunity to get down there early to sneak upto moor for pictures.

  4. Jeff Allen 1st April 2015

    Alex any thoughts on the Tors around Okehampton the North West section of Datmoor because of its proximity to the army ranges etc seldom get talked about as much and the highest Tor High Willhays is in this area along with Yes Tor with West Mill Tor & Rowtor in the area all accessable along the Dinger Track.

  5. Great stuff. Thanks for the info its much appreciated.
    Your images are also, fantastic.

  6. Hi, Walked to Staple Tor this am, so interested to see your photos- brilliant. Thank you.

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