Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/39

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
15
ELEVATION—THE TORS

been tilted up round it, forms an elevated region some thirty-two miles from north to south and twenty from east to west. The heated granite has altered the slates in contact with it, and is itself broken through on the west side by an upward gush of molten matter which has formed Whit Tor and Brent Tor.

The greatest elevations are reached on the outskirts, and there, also, is the finest scenery. The interior consists of rolling upland. It has been likened to a sea after a storm suddenly arrested and turned to stone; but a still better resemblance, if not so romantic, is that of a dust-sheet thrown over the dining-room chairs, the backs of which resemble the tors divided from one another by easy sweeps of turf.

Most of the heights are crowned with masses of rock standing up like old castles; these, and these only, are tors.[1] Such are the worn-down stumps of vast masses of mountain formation that have disappeared. There are no lakes on or about the moor, but this was not always so. Where is now Bovey Heathfield was once a noble sheet of water fifty fathoms deep. Here have been found beds of lignite, forests that have been overwhelmed by the wash from the moor, a canoe rudely hollowed out of an oak, and a curious wooden idol was exhumed leaning against a trunk of tree that had been swallowed up in a freshet. The canoe was nine feet long. Bronze spear-heads have also been found in this ancient lake, and moulds for casting bronze instruments. A

  1. The Welsh twr is a tower; twrr, a heap or pile. From the same root as the Latin turris.