Back in August 2021 I posted the first, in what I hope will become, a regular series that covers John Hayward’s fantastic book Dartmoor 365. The purpose of the book is simple enough, with Dartmoor being split into 365 square miles, with Hayward commenting on a particular feature within that square mile. The summer-time always allows me to stretch my legs a little further, and so I was able to tick off a few more squares. And Q7 Cuckoo Rock was one of them.

Cuckoo Rock is located a twenty-to-thirty minute walk east of Burrator reservoir, in the eastern section of Dartmoor. I walked toward it in late August in order to find a few geocaches and to take in the views, and on reaching the rock I was able to sit and admire the scenery; as shown in the gallery below.

As is always the case, the gallery images do not do the views from this location justice. But I think they do enough to showcase the beauty of this area.

So, why the name Cuckoo Rock? John Hayward outlines this feature:

‘From whichever angle you look at this rock it has a remarkable outline, though none of them has much resemblance to a Cuckoo. Perhaps its earned its name for quite a different reason. There are certainly Cuckoos around here, and Pipits too, in whose nests they often lay their eggs.’

The short Wikipedia page also suggests:

‘The origin of the name is disputed. Some claim it is that the shape of the top of the rock, while others say it is as the rock was an ideal point from which to hear cuckoos in spring’.

As for my own conclusion, there must surely be something in the interesting shape of the rock itself that has led to it being called Cuckoo Rock. Although Hayward is correct: it doesn’t actually resemble one. Yet despite this confusion it remains an interesting location, and it made the news back during the first lockdown in May 2020 when a 13-year old boy climbed it and realised he couldn’t get down. The Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team had to help the boy back to the ground.