Six Great Dartmoor Photography Locations
The Best Scenic Dartmoor Photography locations to explore with your Camera
The wonderful heather covered moorlands and deep wooded valleys of South West England's Dartmoor National Park, provides opportunities to acquire breath-taking views and dramatic landscape photography while exploring the beautiful wildlife and natural scenes that Dartmoor has to offer.
Dartmoor offers a perfect backdrop to any photographer wishing to capture inspiring images of the countries rural landscapes. Being a Devon-based photographer affords you many great locations to photograph to capture some amazing images of the Devon coast or some Stunning examples of Dartmoor Landscape Photography.
I'm always looking for new places to explore with my camera, from the more well known to the hidden gems and being a Devon-based landscape photographer I'm often found wondering the moorland with my camera in my hand. WIth that in mind I hope this articles helps you explore the wonderful Dartmoor National Park.
See our Top 6 Dartmoor Photographic Locations for Visiting with your Camera.
1: Holwell Lawn Tor – The Famous Hawthorn Tree
The area consists of several large Tors, including the very famous Haytor rocks, but Holwell tor is unique due to the large hawthorn tree which looks to be part of the Tor, it’s a classic Dartmoor photographic location and one I would highly recommend a visit to.
The compositions are semi-limited and you will have to try and use the rocks lying on the ground for some foreground interest to make your images unique.
Holwell lawn can be accessed after a 15min walk from many of the smaller car parks by Haytor and Saddletor.
To find Holwell Tor simply walk behind Haytor Rock with Saddle Tor at 80 degrees to your left. You should eventually see Holwell Lawn Tor and the Hawthorn Tree.
Holwell can be a little tricky to locate at first but you can use grid reference: 50.57928168983975, -3.767462060723997 to help you locate it.
The tree can also look a little bit bare in the winter, so your best visiting during the Summer months when the tree is full of leaves.
When you have finished at Holwell Tree why not stop by Saddle Tor and Haytor to capture some more interesting pictures.
2: Great Staple Tor – Dartmoors Stacked Peaks
In the middle of a windswept moorland, not far from Princetown, you will happen upon my favorite tor on Dartmoor, Great Staple Tor.
Great Staple Tor isn't the highest of the tors that Dartmoor has to offer, but the several stacks of rocks, create a great array of interest to capture some stunning photography of Dartmoor's high moorland.
The stacks appear to be almost man made with their rocks seemingly perfectly balanced on top of the tor. They are a great place to visit for views of the surrounding landscape, with views down towards Plymouth and Tavistock.
The walk to Great Staple Tor takes a good 25 mins from the Cox Tor Car Park and includes a good amount of elevation, but once at the top you are treated with 360 degree sweeping views across the moorland, so its highly recommended to visit and capture an array of great landscape photography.
3: Brentor Church – The Church in the Sky
One of the most amazing destinations to visit in the south west region of England is the church called Brentor. There are so many benefits associated with this beautiful place. As it sits atop a sub-sea volcanic plume (created when Dartmoor was under water) this edifice appears to rise out of the earth and teeter on edge as it juts high above everything else and towers over its surrounding countryside.
There is a popular story with Brentor church as well. It goes that when the church was being built, the Devil tried to stop the builders progress by moving the church further up the hill every day, determined to finish it the townsfolk and builders continued to build it at the top of the hill anyway in defiance of the Devil.
Brentor Church has a small car park located at the very bottom of it, and it is a short walk up to the top. The panoramic views are breath-taking and stretch for miles, I highly recommend taking a visit to Brentor Church and highly advise taking your time and enjoying the scenery before trying to compose anything.
Check out all about Brentor Church on their official website - https://brentorchurch.org.uk/
4: East Dart Woods – Silver Birch Galore
The Dartmoor National Park is rich with forests, streams, animals and plants. One notable part of the park includes the East Dart and Yarmer Woods area that stretches between Bovey Tracey and Manaton in Devon. This area provides ample opportunities for photographers because of its dramatic canopy of trees, most notably beech, birch and Oak trees that are hundreds of years old - as evidenced by their knobby trunks.
To me the crowning gem of the area is the ever-green trees and silver birches that are dotted around. You can capture some unique images of golden Birches in the autumn framed against the luscious greens in the background.
Parking is very straightforward as there are a number of smaller carparks dotted along the road by the location, so it’s a great choice if time is not on your side, although due to the landscape blocking out a lot of the sun, be sure to get there a few hours before sunset.
Find Dartmoor Carparks here - https://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/enjoy-dartmoor/planning-your-visit/car-parks
A telephoto lens is a good choice here to gain some compression which in photography terms means you can magnify your subject this will have the effect of fitting more background into your images compared to your subject.
Learn more about the Tree's at Yarner woods - https://eastdartmoorwoods.org/
5: Emsworthy Mire – That Red Barn
Dartmoor's Emsworthy Mire is a great place to visit, the area allows you to capture some great bluebell photography with the great subject of Emsworthy Red Barn to create some great interest in the Scene.
The Bluebells at Emsworthy arrive quite late compared to the forests and you will want to be aiming to visit the location in May to capture the best images.
Be sure to take a wide angle lens to capture the flowers close up whilst ensuring you capture the nearby trees and the barn.
Parking is quite easy and you can walk from the many carparks along the road such as the ones by Haytor or Saddletor.
To easily find the location simply park at the carpark by Saddletor and Emsworthy Mire is to the right of the road in the direction going towards Widecombe in the Moor Church, you should be able to see the Red Barn before you get to the location.
6: Bowerman’s Nose – The Frozen Hunter
Bowerman’s Nose on Dartmoor is a unique Tor indeed, it’s worth a visit for many reasons as well as making a good photographic location, it’s also full of rich folklore.
The story of Bowerman goes like this. Bowerman was once the area’s most famous Hunter who used to roam the Moors with a pack of large dogs.
“One day while he was hunting, one of his hounds disrupted some witches during their incantation of a spell. One witch turned herself into a hare and led Bowerman into a mire (a wet boggy hole) to trap him. The witches then turned Bowerman to stone as well as his three hounds who now sit on top of hound tor”.
Bowerman sits at Hayne Down and is a fifteen-minute walk from Hound Tor car park. It's easily found on Google Maps and you can then follow the trail around the corner from the car park which will take you to Bowermans Nose, .
Now there are some technical aspects to photographing at this location. There isn't much variety in how to photograph Bowermans Nose, the subject looses it shape from different angles, that being said the landscape seems ever changing here so be sure to visit during different times of the year.
The image captured here, was taken over a long exposure of around 60 seconds. This is undertaken by fitting a filter over the lens almost like a pair of sunglasses, this reduces the light entering the camera and allows photographers to capture images with movement such as the clouds in this capture.
Once you have finished on Dartmoor why not explore the rest of Devon from the natural scenes in the South Hams to the rugged cliffs of North Devon, there is plenty to be photographed.
WHY I CHOOSE TO CREATE PHOTOGRAPHIC DARTMOOR PRINTS
The reason for this is simple. I have spent the last 15 years working across a range of Dartmoor locations and the last 5 years photographing it and it really is a wonderful place encompassing a range of remote natural landscapes and thatched villages interspersed between rolling hills, heather covered moorlands and deep wooded valleys.
Time spent and Photography on Dartmoor allows you to capture amazing sunrise's, the wild Dartmoor ponies running amok, bluebells appearing among the forests and the snowdrops appearing along the Devon hedgerow .
Dartmoor at 368 square miles of rugged landscape has so much to see and explore and I would highly recommend a visit.
What's your favorite place to visit on Dartmoor? Let us know in the Comments box below!
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Meet the Author:
I am a Dartmoor 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