Dartmoor National Park - Where Is Dartmoor on The Map?

Known as a moorland in southern Devon, England, Dartmoor National Park covers an area of 954 square kilometres (368 sq mi). This moorland contains several high granite hilltops known as ridges, which offer homes for the Dartmoor animals. Dartmoor National Park lies in Devon, halfway between Exeter and Plymouth. High Willhays is the highest peak, rising 621 meters (2,037 feet) above sea level. There are several ancient relics in this region.

Dartmoor National Park

It is one of the few places in the UK where Bronze Age relics can be found, and most of the moor appears to be littered with stone circles, rows of stones, and gravestones.

About Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor is an English area that preserves relics of its most primal era. It still retains legends of barren horsemen and demon visits that earned Dartmoor its enviable reputation and made it a preferred location for any tourist. Not only known as a place of historical sites and wildlife, but Dartmoor National Park is also a foggy area and is located on top of the ruins of a volcano.

where is dartmoor

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Dartmoor has a permanent population of 33,000 people, which grows dramatically during the high tourist season. Ashburton (population approximately 3,500), Buckfastleigh, Moretonhampstead, Princetown, Yelverton, Horrabridge, South Brent, Christow, and Chagford are the major communities in this National Park.

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History of Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor, a large wild environment of tremendous wealth and diversity spanning over 368 square miles, was designated as a National Park in 1951. It is a unique terrain, populated by towering granite blocks, mysterious circles and steep cliffs, old woodlands, robust bridges, quick streams, Dartmoor horses, lively stannary towns, and lonely villages. Dartmoor National Park's establishment means that the particular landscape beauty has been and continues to be closely safeguarded, with both wildlife and architectural and/or historic structures preserved.

Guide to Travel Dartmoor National Park

Approximately 40% of Dartmoor is available to the public and may be reached through several routes around the perimeter. The land is available to tourists all year and is free to enter. Dartmoor National Park is also one of the few areas in the UK that allow Wild Camping, but this is strictly enforced.

Guide to Travel Dartmoor National Park

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Check out the following for more about Dartmoor National Park planning.

How Do You Get To Dartmoor National Park?

By Car:  Dartmoor is easily accessible from the M5 highway in Devon, as well as the A30 and A38. The drive from Exeter or Plymouth takes 30 minutes.

Please maintain an average driving speed; even if the road is vacant, you should not drive too quickly. Because there are frequently ponies, sheep, or cattle roaming the desolate road. If you run at a high pace, you will almost certainly get into an accident while attempting to avoid them.

By Bus: There are buses with operating times based on weekdays, so you should make a note to avoid catching the wrong bus:

Catch the Country Bus route 193 Bovey Tracey - Newton Abbot via Haytor on Wednesdays and Fridays (excluding public holidays).

From Monday through Saturday (excluding public holidays), take the Country Bus route 178 Newton Abbot – Okehampton via Moretonhampstead & Chagford and the 98 Yelverton – Tavistock.

By Train, Boat, Plane: There are rail services to Exeter, Newton Abbot, and Plymouth. Because Exeter has an airport and Plymouth has a ferry port, travelling by them will save you more time than commuting by bus or car.

Where Can You Stay in Dartmoor National Park?

Dartmoor's friendliness is a wonderful contrast to its normal pristine beauty: there are various alternatives, from pastoral campsites to classy B&Bs and trendy cottage hotels. Choose from a variety of alternatives, all with a distinct local character, and if you're lucky, you'll get to appreciate stunning moorland vistas. 

Where Can You Stay in Dartmoor National Park?

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Camping is permitted on much of Dartmoor, but you should carefully consider locations where you can camp!. You can go wild camping in a tiny portable tent (backpack-sized), at least 100m off the road, for a night or two if you can remain in specified regions. You are not permitted to go wild camping in a large tent or car, and you are required to leave no trace.

20 Best Things To Do in Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park is no longer a desolate wasteland as it once was. If you’re planning to explore this amazing bit of land, here are the 20 best things to do in Dartmoor National Park to make your vacation more memorable!

Hiking

Dartmoor National Park spans 386 square miles and is home to moorlands, woods, rivers, ponds, and rocky granite tors.

There are several ways to experience and appreciate Devon and Dartmoor, whether on walking, by cycling, or on the back of a horse, but hiking seems to be the most popular.

dartmoor national park hiking

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These can range from a handful of miles to more than 12 miles, so please double-check your location before going on a Dartmoor National Park walk. Some of these routes will be difficult, while others will be easy, moderate, or guided treks.

Dartmoor is home to a variety of wildlife and cattle, so be mindful not to disturb, approach, touch, or feed any of them while on your walk.

Camping

There are some wonderful camping places in and around this rugged area that are well open to visitors, which is why camping in Dartmoor is becoming increasingly popular.

Wild camping is permitted on Dartmoor for up to two nights as part of a multi-day trip or hike. We described the sites where you are permitted to stay in the wild in the previous sections.

However, you must have a thorough preparation, because camping in a deserted place like this can be inconvenient.

You must not light a campfire when camping in the wild on Dartmoor. Use a steamer for cooking instead.

Some moor areas have no phone service, making navigation difficult in inclement weather.

dartmoor national park camping

Photo on Ellis Brighham

Dartmoor does not accept big groups of people to camp in the wild, and huge tents are not permitted. Instead, pack tiny with lightweight tents to avoid getting bulky while moving the stuff around.

Camping must be at least 100 meters away from any road. The area where you pitch your tent must be kept clean, and any waste must be collected before you depart.

Even in the summer, heavy rain is possible on Dartmoor.

Some areas you might consider for this trip include River Dart Country Park, Hennock Hideaways Campground, Ashbourne Woods, etc.

Climb Brent Tor And Take In The Scenery From St Michael's Church

Brent Tor is one of Dartmoor's most well-known churches. The distinctive Church of St Michael de Rupe and the settlement of Brentor form a distinctive feature in the Dartmoor skyline that is popular with tourists. To get to Brent Tor, begin your journey from the church car lot (PL19 0NP) and follow the boardwalk to the summit.

Walking through Wistman’s Wood, Devon

Wistman's Wood is a short hike along a well-marked trail in the heart of Dartmoor National Park. Nestled among lichen-covered trees in a forest that has not been disturbed for hundreds of years. Climb the Wistman's Wood valley to the top of Longaford Tor, where you can enjoy panoramic views of windy Dartmoor and potentially see Princetown and its historic prison, Cut Hill - Dartmoor most remote from any road.

Walking through Wistman’s Wood

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Fingle Woods - An Interesting Forest to Explore

Fingle Woods is an 825-acre ancient woodland in Devon's Teign Valley, at the northern boundary of Dartmoor National Park. It is located on the south bank of the river, downstream of Finger Bridge. Previously, many portions of Finger Woods were inaccessible to the public; however, during the last two years, the National Trust and Woodland Trust have installed several miles of improved walking trails and markers. Enjoy the lovely morning sun, or glimpse the brilliant blue of the kingfisher as it dashes down the banks of the Fingle River, and hear the rap of woodpeckers and otters. You may also try the Wildflower Search, which includes anything from weed lawns and anemones to daffodils.

Horse Riding - A Memorable Activity at Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor is a favoured destination to go horseback riding because of its stunning scenery, tough courses, wide sky and solitude, and surrounding elements. This is one of the most popular activities in Dartmoor National Park. 

Horse Riding - A Memorable Activity at Dartmoor National Park

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Many Dartmoor public houses accept riders and provide leashes or oars, water for your horse, and a nearby picnic table. Even if you've tethered your horse to the brace, keep an eye on it when you're not riding.

Holwell Lawn Bluebell Circular Walk

In Dartmoor National Park, Holwell Lawn is the most popular location to see green dumbbells. Bluebells bloom for approximately a week in late spring, generally in May, and create a carpet of blue. From Hound Tor's large parking lot, you will see a massive pile of rock in front of you. Looking down from the peak, the green dumbbells of the Hound Tor Abandoned Medieval Settlement and Greater Rocks can be seen to the west and southwest.

White Lady Falls

White Lady Falls

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Whitelady Falls pours down through Lydford Gorge, producing a stunning waterfall where the Lyd River joins the Burn River, surrounded by scenery resembling a mossy and fern rainforest. If you go after a hard rain, you'll see the falls at their most dramatic: white noise and sprays of water on your skin will help bury your thoughts and transport you far.

Haytor Quarry

Haytor Quarry, the largest of the region's five granite quarries, features two regions of historical mining activity and several accompanying damage heaps. The mine was constructed in the late 1800s and was dispersed over the nineteenth century until the 1860s. Despite having a lesser wildlife value than terrestrial plantations, this area is home to rare butterflies. Sky parks, pipit meadows, stonechats, wheatears, Dartford warblers, and crows are all common in moors. After you've climbed it, you'll see a lake with mysterious water at the mountain's foot, where you may relax for a while.

Cycling around Burrator Reservoir

The Burrator is a lovely body of water flanked on all sides by plantations and police, with stunning views over the reservoir to Sheeps Tor, Peak Hill, and Sharpitor moors.

Cycling around Burrator Reservoir

Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

Cycling is one of the greatest ways to view Dartmoor, and the Princetown diversion, which takes you down the old railroad to Yelverton and Burrator Reservoir, is a popular and enjoyable way to visit during the summer.

Meldon Reservoir is another gorgeous Dartmoor reservoir worth seeing.

Bowerman's Nose

On Dartmoor, there are several granite outcrops; some are as big and awe-inspiring as the Vixen Tor, but none are weirder than Bowerman's Nose, a tall stone column. It is one of Dartmoor National Park's most well-known attractions. You may look up stories about this man online to see why this location is so popular with travellers.

Bowerman's Nose

Photo on Unsplash

Castle Drogo

High above the Teign Gorge, Castle Drogo stands. Sir Edwin Lutyens created it for self-made millionaire Julius Drewe. Although it has a charming aspect, this astonishing structure was the last castle ever erected in England, having been constructed only 100 years ago. Outside the castle, stroll through the vibrant, formal gardens, which change colour with the seasons. Alternatively, visit the Teign Valley, which has a lovely canyon abounding with animals.

Photographing for The Dartmoor National Park Wild Camping

Dartmoor is rugged and pristine terrain with famous mountains and dazzling valleys with rivers and streams running through them, making it ideal for photography. With countless rows of stones, circles, and towns, this is the most gorgeous prehistoric and bronze age period. It also has a long industrial history, with tin mine relics scattered over the moors, leaving an indelible impact on the Dartmoor landscape.

Dartmoor photography may be difficult since the weather isn't always cooperative, and you might frequently trek for miles to a place just to have the sun slip behind a cloud.

Photographing for The Dartmoor National Park Wild Camping

Photo on Unsplash

Fishing on Dartmoor

The Dartmoor’s rivers are well-known for their wild brown trout, sea trout, and trout fishing. Much of the river fishing on Dartmoor is private property, however, portions of the East and West Dart Rivers can be fished with a Duchy of Cornwall permission.

Bring along your best fishing equipment and you'll have a fantastic time with the magnificent landscape!

Cadover Bridge

Cadover Bridge is a famous destination at the Dartmoor National Park's southwestern boundary, close to Plymouth and the South Devon coast. There are several activities in the surrounding region, ranging from walking to wild swimming, picnics to pub lunches. Bring your picnic basket and head to Cadover Bridge on the banks of the River Plym. You can have a riverfront dinner here, but don’t forget to keep it clean when you leave. 

Cadover Bridge

Photo on Pinterest

Wild Swimming - A Favorite Water Activity

Dartmoor has various unique wild swimming places. You'll discover refreshing water flowing through steep woods, complete with natural pools and waterslides. Rivers are often calm, not very deep, and quite cold. Whether you want to cool off your feet or go for a good swim, there's something for everyone.

Take note that the location where you wish to swim permits you to do so. Because some lakes have proprietors, I believe you should gently request permission to do this activity here.

Shopping at Dartmoor National Park

Buy Dartmoor delicacies at local merchants, sample the finest Dartmoor meat as a speciality, peruse the artisan booths and galleries, and look for first edition books, artwork, and wooden toys to take home as a keepsake. Take note of the pricing because they vary by area.

Visiting Dartmoor Market

Dartmoor is brimming with charming towns and villages worth seeing. Stroll around the markets and pick up a local memento before stopping for ice cream tea.

Dartmoor towns and villages that are worth seeing include Ashburton, Widdecombe-in-the-Moor, Bovey Tracey, Lustleigh, and Tavistock.

Letterboxing On Dartmoor

A Victorian-era activity that preserves the beauty, simplicity, and enjoyment that captivates and enthrals legions of admirers today.

Participants, or Letter Writers, scour valleys and valleys for hidden treasures, following clues, or just looking beneath boulders.

Letterboxing On Dartmoor

Photo on Flickr

In addition to Dartmoor-appropriate clothes, you will need a map, a compass, and knowledge of how to use both to find the Mailbox. There are several methods to get assistance and hints. The yearly Mailbox Meetup, held on a clock-changing Sunday in March and October at the Lee Moor Village Hall, raises funds for charity.

This is a brand new tourist attraction that everyone who travels Dartmoor National Park wants to experience.

Watch Out For Wild Ponies

There is no more classic Dartmoor picture than a herd of ponies grazing together, with the gorgeous, breathtaking Dartmoor as a backdrop. Ponies are a significant element of Dartmoor's history, tradition, culture, and scenery. All horses are now 'owned' by horse owners, but they have not been tamed, so it’s best to stay away from them. Pony feeding is also prohibited.

Take A Hot Air Balloon Flight Above Dartmoor

If you have quite a generous budget for the trip, consider viewing Dartmoor from a hot air balloon. This is, without a doubt, the finest experience you should attempt. The breathtaking vistas are even more spectacular on clear days when you can see as far as Yes Tor, Dartmoor's highest peak, or even the Brecon Beacons in Wales.

You can book your Dartmoor hot air balloon flight right here.

Take A Hot Air Balloon Flight Above Dartmoor

Photo on Moorland View Cottage

Explore the highest peaks on foot, ride your bike up the steepest hills, ride your horse across the moors, risk cold water dips while wild swimming, try kayaking and hiking, or relax with a day of calm fishing.

In conclusion, there are so many ways to explore Dartmoor National Park! All you need to do is pack enough luggage for the vacation and take care of your health. Hopefully, the information in this post will assist you in having the greatest Dartmoor experiences!

Vy Nguyen


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