Dartmoor is one of the UK’s last wild places and just 35 miles from Sidmouth. It’s a place of contrasts – dramatic granite tors, hidden sunken quarries, ancient standing stones and magical wooded valleys. It attracts thousands of visitors every year and the main roads and car parks can get busy in the summer time. However, it’s still big enough for you to find quiet places off the beaten track.
Things we like to do on Dartmoor:
The circular Teign Gorge walk near Castle Drogo – park at the castle car park if you’re planning to visit it (free for National trust members) or in the lane near to Fingle Bridge. From the castle car park follow the footpath signs down through the steep wooded valley to Fingle Bridge. Don’t cross the bridge, instead turn right to follow the path along the river Teign valley. At the footbridge take the path off to the right to climb back up towards the castle again. There’s a National Trust cafe by the car park and the pub at Fingle Bridge also serves food. Allow at least 2 hours for this walk, more if you stop off at the pub or cafe en route. Be prepared – it involves steep hils and could be muddy!
Haytor and the sunken quarry – park in the car park near the visitor centre on the B3387 or one of the others along that stretch of road. After exploring Haytor carry on with the tor behind you following the paths that lead off to the right. The quarry is not far, to the North East of the tor.
Lunch at the Cleave in Lustleigh – a lovely pub in a tiny village tucked away in the hills on the Eastern side of Dartmoor, off the A382. Its sheltered garden is a great place to relax and refuel after a walk on the moors.
Useful to know:
- The weather can change quickly and is often cooler and mistier than the surrounding areas so take an extra layer.
- If you’re likely to stray off the beaten track make sure you go prepared with proper walking boots and wet weather gear.
- Take maps or a GPS and make sure someone else knows where you’re going. If you’re feeling less adventurous then try a guided walk with an experienced local or download an audio walk to your smartphone.
- Call in at one of the visitor centres in Princetown, near Haytor or at Postbridge where you can pick up maps, guide books and get tips from the knowledgeable local staff.
Find out more about the Dartmoor National Park:
- Visit Dartmoor: the official tourist information site.
- Dartmoor National Park: the local government site.
- Legendary Dartmoor: the local legends, myths, folklore and archaeology of this ancient place.
- The Cleave at Lustleigh: a great example of a Dartmoor village pub.
- Castle Drogo: the Lutyens designed house is undergoing extensive restoration by the National Trust but there’s still lots to see, particularly in it’s formal gardens.