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Over 65% of Dartmoor straddles a large granite plateau - igneous rock intruded over 295 million years ago. Dartmoor is the largest of the 6 granite regions, which combine to form the spine of the Westcountry.
The area was at one time known as Dartmoor forest, a royal hunting ground covered by English Oak woodland. Centuries of farming, house and shipbuilding have depleted the original woodland - with only a few small areas of ancient woodland cover remaining, leaving a distinctive moorland landscape of gorse and heather, - punctuated by Dartmoor's distinctive Tors (high rocks) and cut by deep valleys, 'combes', and fast-flowing rivers and streams.
Sheep, cattle and semi-wild Dartmoor ponies graze the moorland, whilst the wooded areas, provide homes for deer, badger and a vast array of wildlife. The countryside in the southeast is more conventionally beautiful, with rolling hills, wooded valleys and picturesque thatched villages.
Approximately 40% of the total land inside the Dartmoor National park is common land, with open access.
In the north-western region of the Park around High Willhays and Yes Tor - stretching south and east towards tavistock and princetown approximately 15% of the park is on leased to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and is therefore subject to closure for firing practice for part of the year.
The Dartmoor National Park has over 160 Tors in total - some of the main main Tors are featured below;
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