Vixen Tor is one of the few tors that you can look down upon from other places on Dartmoor. I first photographed it from the Great, Middle and Little Staple Tors at around 450 m altitude looking down upon Vixen Tor at 320 metres altitude. At the same time it is probably the tallest tor with its granite blocks rising around 30 metres above ground.
A vixen is a female fox but it also means a shrew. And it is this later meaning that is important here, as the name comes from the evil shrew, Vixana, that lived in a cave at the foot of the tor. She was tall and thin with a large hooked nose. Every morning Vixana would climb the tor to look out for unwary wanderers crossing the moor. When the unsuspecting traveller came close to a bog at the foot of the tor, Vixana would wave her gnarled stick and immediately the fog would envelope the moor and the walker would fail to find his way and ber sucked down in the bog, where he would die to the delight of the witch.
But a young Moorman, with the ability to see through mist and also make himself invisible, was able to avoid Vixana’s magic and climbed unseen up on the tor and succeeded to push her over the edge to her death on the boulders below. The Moorman settled down nearby and married a beautiful young girl.
And all of this must be true, because I have got it from a reliable source.