Walking on Dartmoor
Dartmoor offers the ideal location in which to get away from it all and truly relax. Dartmoor is a huge area to describe and can offer and mean different things to different people. It is nigh on impossible to try and sum up the moor in a few words. We wanted to give you a real flavour of Dartmoor with a range of tours and places to visit. Some features can be reached simply from your vehicle, others require you to stretch your legs and truly experience what Dartmoor is all about.
A copy of the Dartmoor (OS Explorer Map) OL28 and a good compass are invaluable necessities as is all the usual walking gear if you intend to walk the open moor. Here are some of our favourites for possible inclusion into your itineraries:
(START: SX 765771): A very popular circular walk around Haytor.
The walk starts at the car park and visitor centre (postcode TQ14 9XS), before climbing up to Haytor Rocks. From here heading northwest to the former Haytor Quarry and passing the granite tramway en route to Smallacombe Rocks, with its ancient remains and fantastic view of the Becka Brook. Cross the brook by the footbridge at SX 752787, before climbing up to the medieval village of Hundaford (SX 747788) and on to Hound Tor - possibly the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Hound of the Baskervilles' at SX 743790. Heading south to Holwell Lawn (SX739782) via its cairn circle and kist (ancient tomb), before heading northeast to Greator Rocks (SX 747786). Returning to Haytor Rocks via Smallacombe Rocks at Grid Ref. SX 754782.
Fingle Bridge to Castle Drogo & Sharptor
(START: SX743899): The valley of the River Teign.
Fingle Bridge lies near Drewsteignton and is easily accessible from both Okehampton and Exeter. This circular walk of about four and a half miles heads north from the large car park at Fingle Bridge (postcode EX6 6PW) before turning west away from the road (SX 743901). The Iron Age hill fort of Prestonbury Castle lies just east of here. Follow the contours into Drewston Wood and Rectory Wood. The slope begins to level out on Piddledown Common before entering woodland again as it drops to the well known 'Hunter's Path'. At a T-junction in the route take the right hand path leading to the picturesque Sharp Tor, pausing to experience some wonderful views of the Teign Gorge below. If time and energy reserves permit continue on your westward journey and take time to visit Castle Drogo built between 1911 and 1931. Cross Hunter's Tor and follow the woodland walk back east to your vehicle at Fingle Bridge. NOTE: Please take care on some of the steeper slopes and wear suitable footwear.
Holne Moor Circular Walk
(START: SX 696699): A picturesque 3 mile walk near Ashburton
The start point is a disused quarry just to the northwest of Holne at Bear Wood on the road to Venford Reservoir (postcode TQ13 7ST). The path runs west passing the property named 'Stone Shallows'. Climb steadily onto Holne Moor crossing the watercourse known as Wheal Emma Leat, constructed in 1859 to drain the copper mine of that name. Follow the leat as it wends its way southwards pausing to enjoy the wonderful views where offered. Cross the granite bridge to head east now along the Sandy way - an ancient footpath linking Tavistock and Ashburton. Just before reaching the hamlet of Michelcombe, take the route offered northwards to climb back onto Holne Moor zig-zagging your way up the steep slope. Climb the hill to see your start point at the quarry below right.
Shipley Bridge and Avon Dam
(START: SX 680629): Suitable for families and the less able
This walk starts at the picturesque hamlet of Shipley Bridge just north of South Brent on the southern slopes of Dartmoor (postcode TQ10 9EL) and can be undertaken in two sections. The first section is well maintained and is suitable for pushchairs and even wheelchairs as it heads north from Shipley Bridge to the Avon Dam. The slope is not at all taxing and makes for a very enjoyable day out. Its popularity does mean however that parking can sometimes be a problem - so arrive early and park considerately. The route runs north from former China Clay Works along the western bank of the River Avon for about a quarter of a mile. It passes the large Hunter's Stone and the ruins of Brentmoor House as it wends its way between Black Tor and Woolholes Grid ref. SX 680636. Cross the river heading along the eastern bank passing the remains of some ancient cairns at SX 680630 as you look east up onto Dockwell Ridge. Continue on your way, for about threequarters of a mile to enter the sheltered Long-a-Traw valley. Cross the aptly named Small Brook at SX 682645 and continue on to the solidly built Avon Dam (SX 676656).
Those requiring further exercise can choose to undertake a further section of walk and explore the northern side of the dam to search for the ancient settlements, cairn circle and tomb (kist) marked on the slopes of Dean Moor at SX 676655 before retracing their steps to their vehicle - a round trip of about four and a half miles.
(START: SX 568692): Wonderful Woodland, Spectacular Scenery
This circular four and a half mile walk starts at the parking area beside Norsworthy Bridge (postcode PL20 6PF) at the northeastern corner of Burrator Reservoir, near Yelverton. The walk has something for everyone, wonderful woodland and great scenery. The route leaves the parking area near the old Norsworthy Farm and heads up a clearly defined track (Norsworthy Lane) to the northeast, ignore the wooded path on your left climbing steadily up the rocky path. Skirt the forest, actually Norsworthy Plantation, keeping it on your left and ignoring any woodland tracks running off to your left. Pass through Cockles Gate onto the moor as the route becomes easier. As you spy the restored Newleycombe Cross in the distance look for a gully that leads almost to the path from your left - Grid Ref. SX 581702. Head north now climbing to the right of the gully to pass the strangely named Crazy Well Pool at SX 582704. The area is dotted with ancient monuments and remnants of the tin working industry and it is believed that the Pool has a mine shaft at its centre so should not be inspected too closely.
Passing the Pool on your left climb steadily onto the southwestern slopes of Cramber Tor until you locate the watercourse named the Devonport Leat, built in the 1790's. Do not cross here but continue northwest now keeping the leat on your right as you pass Raddick Hill - another area rich in ancient cairns and settlements. Your route now descends quite sharply to reach an aqueduct, known locally as Iron Bridge, at SX 573713.
Follow the track as it trundles down into the Stanlake Plantation at SX 569709 keeping to the marked path. The path now crosses some stiles as it heads southwest skirting Leather Tor on its way towards Lowery Cross at Cross Gate - SX 561695. At Cross Gate pick up the road that leads away downhill to your start point.
Stay at a nearby Holiday Park and keep the kids amused all day! Parks in the vicinity include those at:
Plenty of hotels are available locally. Consider those in the local towns: