Vixiana, the witch of Vixen Tor, Dartmoor


Vixiana, the witch of Vixen Tor

Dartmoor is a place of many strange legends and folktales featuring the most extraordinary characters. One of the most extraordinary must surely be Vixiana the Witch of Vixen Tor. She was also known as Vixana and had an evil reputation among the local people who greatly feared her. There are a number of different versions of her story and the one presented here has been pieced together from more than one source. A brief description of the tor followed by the story of how Vixiana came to meet her match is presented here and concludes with a few conundrums to think about.

Vixen Tor

The tor is situated between Tavistock and Princetown on Dartmoor. It is also called ‘The Sphinx of Dartmoor” because of its sphinx-like appearance when viewed at certain angles. Some say it’s a vixen. Others say that when seen in silhouette to the sky it can also resemble an old man wearing a cap who has his back turned on his wife. Different people tend to see different things but essentially it is a mass of granite that appears to be made from rocks piled on top of each other.

Vixen Tor became a place of ill omen and foreboding in the lifetime of Vixiana who had a terrifying reputation. According to tradition at her bidding, creatures from the Underworld had hollowed out a cave which ran underneath the tor. There on bleak and wild Dartmoor she lived in that cave alone.


She was ugly and so old that the local people could only ever remember her as being old even when they were children. She just got older and older, uglier and uglier and more evil as the years passed by.  Read more


6 thoughts on “Vixiana, the witch of Vixen Tor, Dartmoor

  1. Loved the questions you posed at the end, as they were on my mind the whole time I was reading it. I wondered if he’d have a heart great enough to transform her evilness, by seeing her frailty and disconnection. I found his delight in her death no different than hers of others. Great piece and fable with powerful lessons.

    • Yes, sometimes our judgements of others are rather shallow and perhaps if we made an effort to just reach out, just maybe … Thanks for reading and commenting, greatly appreciated!

  2. Don’t know if you’ve thought about it, or if you even have time, Zteve, but there are magazines and journals (online and print), as well as anthologies, and folktales and fairytales and other fantasy subjects [in fiction] are always being sought. Some are quite good-paying, too. If you want me to send along 2 or three suggestions from time to time , LMK (I know you’re nice enough to read my “Monday markets” and “Submission Saturday/Sunday” posts, so you’ve no doubt seen some there, like Enchanted Conversation). I hardly get time to tweet these days, as you’ve probably noticed! Anyway, keep it up. These are so good, and, once again, I learn 1 thing (at a minimum). I had no idea what a ‘tor’ [other than a publisher of SF/F, ha-ha] was until you explained it.

    • Thanks Leigh any suggestions would be very welcome and yes I do check out and read and enjoy your blog. I am seeking ways to improve and develop further so any suggestions would be welcome and appreciated. Thanks for your kind comments!

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