Rising to 457 m (1,499.3 ft) within the wild Dartmoor landscape of South Devon is the natural geological spectacle, Haytor Rocks. Also known as Hay Tor or Hey Tor, this distinctive granite tor is easily the most famous of the numerous tors that are dotted throughout the moor. Visible on the skyline between the nearby towns of Exeter and Totnes it forms a distinctive, particularly pleasing silhouette, which is often depicted on postcards. This unusual shape is typical of an avenue granite tor, which is formed when the central section of the tor is eroded leaving two outcrops with an avenue between them. The bulk of the tor consists of coarse grain granite, but a small area at the base is made of finer grain granite, which is easily eroded. This has created an overhang of rock, leaving a rock shelter that stretches as far as two to three feet out. The Haytor Rocks and quarries around it are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and as such are protected from development.
Popular not only for its shape, Haytor Rock’s proximity to the road has made it an accessible tourist destination. Standing next to the tor, visitors are raised above the surrounding landscape, which offers sprawling views of the rolling countryside and the coastline of the Teign Estuary.
Tourists are offered the opportunity to climb the tor on ascents of varying difficulty, allowing even the most inexperienced climber to have a go. The area is popular with walkers who often take a trek along the Templer Way, a route that follows the old Haytor Granite Tramway. The tramway, that is still visible today, was once used to transport granite from the quarries that lie on the northern slopes of Haytor Down.