The starkly beautiful expanse on Dartmoor was made into a national park in 1951. Enormous stone tors, ancient clapper bridges, and sturdy Dartmoor ponies have been attracting visitors ever since. Dartmoor is home to roughly 33,000 people, but even through the winter months you’ll find visitors exploring this wonderful landscape. Below we give you the details of one of our favourite walks and some of the wonders of Dartmoor National Park that are virtually on our doorstep.
Circular Dartmoor Walks
Walks of varying difficulties can be found all over Dartmoor. Regardless of the length or time of year, it is advisable to be prepared; Dartmoor weather can be fickle and change quickly.
One moderately difficult walk we love begins just beyond Mary Tavy. This 4.5 mile circular walk includes some rough paths, a bit of a scramble over boulders and breath-taking scenery, so wear sturdy walking boots.
The route takes you past Nat Tor along the Tavy River with wonderful views, past Ger Tor and through landscape that truly feels a million miles from anywhere. The wildlife, plants and rapids provide some stunning photo opportunities. After leaving the Tavy River, you’ll connect with a smaller stream and follow this until you reach Hare Tor which appears on the horizon after taking the path which seems to be heading in the wrong direction.
A detailed Dartmoor walking map can be downloaded for free from the Visit Dartmoor website for this walk and others. The inns at Mary Tavy and Peter Tavy will serve a welcome pint and, if you arrive at the right time, a meal, after your Dartmoor ramble.
Walking on Dartmoor can quickly become disorientating. It’s advisable that you take a Dartmoor map and compass to make sure you don’t lose your way.
Historic Sites on Dartmoor
Within a rough 10km radius of us are over 400 site of archaeological interest! Not all are accessible to the public, but many can be spotted when walking on Dartmoor using public byways, bridleways and footpaths. Sites include Roman pavements, points where treasure such as silver coins have been uncovered and Anglo-Saxon burial grounds.
More recent history includes the 18th century engine house named Wheal Betsy, a local landmark that is now owned by the National Trust. The ruin has been made safe and stands in memory of Dartmoor’s mining past. It’s a wonderful place to stop for a picnic while children play hide-and-seek and is also just a short walk from the small village of Mary Tavy.
Dartmoor national park covers a massive 954 square kilometres and every square metre is sure to delight and surprise. Not least of all, our particular corner. We’re already taking bookings for next year.