Top 10 Best things to do on Dartmoor
Ten of the best attractions to see on Dartmoor in 2021
With its notoriously changeable weather, to the stage where you can experience four seasons of weather in just one day, windswept landscapes and weather that can vary from crisp and sunny to damp and misty.
The Dartmoor National Park is one of the wildest and largest open areas in England, featuring vast sweeping moorland and high granite Tors interspersed with ancient woodlands.
With so many great places to explore we have Created a list of the TEN BEST PLACES TO VISIT ON DARTMOOR.
When to visit.
- Springtime, you'll be greeted by hedgerows bursting with wildflowers and singing birds, Bluebells galore and spring lambs rambling on the moor.
- Summer offers ample opportunity for picnicking and swimming in the cool, clear waters of Dartmoors rivers.
- Autumn the hills are carpeted with stunning purple heather and the beautiful autumnal tree's.
- Winter is great for a stroll across the bleak moorlands or seeing some snow, but remember to reward yourself by enjoying a pint next to a roaring fires in one of the many welcoming pubs.
1: Enjoy a hike from Castle Drogo to Fingle Gorge
By far the most famous and popular walks in the territory, a 2 hour round trip will take you past a stunning castle as you wind your way through an Oak Island gorge over an ancient stone bridge to one area best known traditional pubs.
The walk starts as you follow The River Teign, close to Castle Drogo famous for being the last castle ever constructed in England when there is finally completed in 1930. The route is clearly signposted and it will take you through Fingle gorge. Following the path you'll be treated to stunning views of the river valley as you reach the lower fisher's path, you'll walk along a spectacular riverbank. Surrounded by ancient woodland featuring a river full of otters, salmon, and trout, you may even be treated to the sight of woodpeckers or kingfishers gliding between its shaded pools.
Along the way you encounter some small rocky beaches that offer the perfect opportunity for a picnic if the weather suits you may even want to dip your toe in the cool crisp water. As you reach the other side of the valley, you can glimpse an iron age hill on which Preston break castle sits. The key features of the walk is Fingle Bridge, which has ancient stone arches that stretch across the foot of the gorge. As you cross the bridge, you'll see the warm and welcoming The Fingle Bridge Inn. Here you can enjoy an afternoon cream tea, while sitting on a well-appointed terrace conveniently overlooking the river. I recommend visiting in the springtime as the woods are carpeted with stunning daffodils and bluebells.
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Derek Voller - geograph.org.uk/p/5421751
2: Visit the stunning village of Lustleigh
Located close to Lustleigh Cleave n a stunning tree covered valley, you will find what I can only describe as a picture postcard village. This wonderful location features tea rooms accommodation local shops attached pub and even a 13th century church and is the perfect opportunity to take a rest as you navigate this wonderful walking territory. Highly recommend that you visit the village. In a wooded Combe, this is one of the hairiest best-kept secrets and is perfectly maintained. its wonderful thatched colleges have been neatly grouped around its ancient church, and its neatly appointed village shop is on one side. The Primrose Tea rooms on the opposite side offer you the perfect opportunity to relax and soak in the atmosphere of this truly unique village
3: Learn about the history of the region at Dartmoor Prison
Once home to notorious prisoners such as the Acid Bath Murderer and Frank Mitchell "The Mad Axeman", an ancient prison is in the town of Princeton. Once home to American and French prisoners of war when it was first constructed in the 1800s by the 1850s it became home to some notorious convicts. Today I still hold up to 640 inmates. When you visit its museum below its looming gates, you will get a unique and chilling glimpse of what life was like inside the prison. Being treated to famous escape stories, ancient medicals, straight jackets and even knives, prisoners being held there made that the prison is a unique experience. The modern prison was once home to many violent criminals, but today it's viewed more than a category receiver. For anyone who's interested in the history of Dartmoor the museum will start now for you a unique insight some most fascinating items are the confiscated year including makes you weapons you will find there. I found the knuckle dusters that were made from 6-in nails and the razor stuck to the tip of toothbrush particularly disturbing.
4: Wonder at the breathtaking views from Hound Tor
If you're looking for a photo op or a place just to see some of the most expensive views of the moors Hound Tor is where to visit. Lucas will tell you that this part of Dartmoor served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's famous Sherlock Holmes classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Tor itself is easily accessible, at what appointment I need to just a half-mile walk from the viewpoint to grassy Dells and parts. From the top of the climb you will be treated to a stunning view of the moor and other famous Tors in the area including the Bowerman’ nose and Widecombe-in-the-Moor. At the lower end of the Tor you'll even find what remains of a medieval village
5: Relax and enjoy a cup of tea at Endsleigh Hotel
In an area that is famous for the cream tease, it's difficult to choose a favorite location. But this romantic country hotel is one of my recommendations. Not least because of his lovely setting and its super size offerings. I love the fact that you can drink some fresh loose leaf tea from stunning China cups while enjoying a freshly baked scone with strawberry jam and buttercream. All of which let me sample the unique surroundings of its wood panel drawing room, offering stunning views of its grade one listed gardens.
6: Base yourself in Ashburton
If you're truly going to explore the Dartmoor area, you'll want to find the base for your adventures. I highly recommend staying in Ashburton features an excellent cross-section of an old age moor town with more traditional buildings. Its winding streets are lined with granite colleges and elegant terraces. You can purchase anything on the main street from upcycled antiques to the latest rucksacks. Known as the gateway to the moor, Ashburton is an elegant town, making it a perfect base to explore the area.
7: Meet the locals at the Rugglestone Inn
While in the area you're going to have to sample Butcombe Best Bitte and what better place to do it than in the regal stone in where it's poor directly from the barrel. After a long day exploring the murders, the open fires and flagstone floors of the Inn and the opportunity to share some banter with locals is difficult to miss. Didn't itself also have two restaurants one of which allows you the opportunity to eat outside and better weather by crossing a small bridge find a shelter to a garden area equipped with beautiful views and picnic tables. If the weather is a little inhospitable, you can simply snuggle up next to the open log fire and enjoy a beautiful dinner or lunch. What I can only describe as an old-fashioned village boozer, it packs classically low ceiling and wood-beamed ceilings with history and full of local characters just waiting to tell you some stories.
8: Step back in time at the Grimspound
As you probably gathered, the Moors are steeped in history and Brimsbound it's a perfect example of an early prehistoric settlement on a bracket covered hillside you'll find an area lettered with 24 hot circles dating back to the bronze age that also feature a sturdy impact perimeter wall. Archaeologists will tell you it was first settled in 1300 BC underground houses were constructed using double ground walls and rubble that is an infill. This is you as this provided and dry inner stone wall. Historians believe that it acted as a summer incumbent for prehistoric peoples. Strolling around this unique environment as you wander through the hearts surrounded by knee-high walls, you'll get a unique insight into life in the area 3,000 years ago.
9: If you are looking from somewhere to stay, try Bovey Castle
Although it's not actually a castle, and it lacks any ancient heritage, Bovey Castle offers stunning amenities and superb views for anyone who's deciding to stay in the area. In the middle of a private sport estate it has a children's playground, archery area, croquet field, fly-fishing lake, tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool and even an 18-hole championship golf course.
10: Eat at the award-winning Gidleigh Park
If you intend to spend some time and money in the Dartmoor area, you must treat yourself to a meal at Gidleigh Park. this old school manner is just one of a handful of two-star mature restaurants in Britain. Head chef Michael kings includes local seafood, meat, dairy produce and even forest mushrooms on his menu. He also boasts an impressive wine list for anyone who fancies a tipple.
What's your favorite things to do Dartmoor? Let us know in the Comments box below!
You might find our blog on the 10 Best Short Dartmoor Walks useful
Meet the Author:
I am a Devon based Photographer, who enjoys travel, hiking, rugby and photographing the beautiful world in which we live in, I see photography as a creative expression upon visiting beautiful places. Each picture often tells a story.
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Sebastien Coell Photography