Bellever village, Devon
Bellever is a hamlet in the middle of Dartmoor. It lies a mile south of Postbridge alongside the East Dart River.
The settlement is first reported in a Duchy of Cornwall record from 1355 which gives the name of a farm here as Welford, a contraction of wielle (spring) and ford. However, in his High Dartmoor (1983), Eric Hemery proposed that the name comes from bal (mine) and ford, meaning the mine by the ford.
Until the period after World War II the hamlet consisted of Bellever Farm (owned by the Duchy of Cornwall) and its outbuildings, with a small number of cottages for the farm workers. The farm gained a reputation for the introduction of Galloway and Aberdeen Angus cattle onto Dartmoor.
However in 1930 the Forestry Commission bought the farm and began a large planting scheme here. Bellever is the second largest of the six blocks of woodland owned by the Forestry Commission on Dartmoor, it totals 568 hectares of which 440 are under conifer which is mainly Sitka Spruce. Several houses were built in the 1950s to house the forestry workers. The coniferous plantation known as Bellever Forest surrounds the hamlet on its north, west and south sides. Over the years it has been realised that the forest provided a lot of other opportunities and benefits other than timber production, recreation has increased, the importance of biodiversity has increased consequently the management of the forest has changed and its list of priorities have changed with timber production being further down the line now.
In 1934 some of the barns of Bellever Farm were let to the Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales) and now form the oldest, still functioning youth hostel in Devon.
Since 2011 the hamlet has been served by a daily bus service that runs between Yelverton, Princetown, Postbridge and Tavistock. During the summer the Forestry Commission run a small visitor centre by the East Dart river.
The landmark of Bellever Tor lies one mile to the southwest.
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: