hikes in Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor National Park Walks
Covering 954km², Dartmoor National Park is the 11th largest national park in the UK and features a stunning landscape of open moors, craggy rock formations, and tranquil woodlands. Established as a national park in 1951, the area has become a popular destination for tourists looking to explore the rugged landscape; however, it has long been a hotbed for human activity, with remnants of early settlements that date back to the Neolithic period and Bronze Age.
While the interior of the park is fairly remote and sparsely populated, the surrounding area is filled with larger cities and towns that serve as the perfect jumping-off point to explore the park. In addition to spectacular walking routes, there are a number of other activities to be experienced here, including cycling, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, and camping. Whether you are simply looking to explore the trails or get invested in some local history, a trip to Dartmoor National Park is sure to be an engaging and memorable experience.
10 Amazing Walks In Dartmoor National Park
If you find yourself yearning for a rugged walking adventure in the south of England that is filled with picturesque scenery and sprinkled with unique local history, then Dartmoor National Park is the perfect place to fill your needs. The landscape here is characterized by the barren landscape of the moorland terrain that is interrupted only by rocky tors, tranquil forests, and charming villages. With a wide range of walking trails that range from short strolls to multi-day excursions, you will be sure to find the perfect trail to suit your skill level. Why not take the next step in planning your Dartmoor walking adventure by checking out this list of amazing trails that we’ve put together below:
- Castle Drogo and Cod Wood Circular Walk: Arguably one of the most popular walks in Dartmoor National Park, this route will take you through a scenic forest landscape and past several historic sites, including the 20th Century Castle Drogo and Fingle Bridge.
- Wistman's Wood Walk: This fascinating walk will take you across the moor and along the West Dart River to visit an ancient wood that is filled with trees that are hundreds of years old. The atmosphere here is almost magical, just don’t get too close to the forest, as it is populated with hard to spot adders!
- Fisherman's Path to Fingle Bridge: Another lovely walking route near Castle Drogo, the Fisherman’s Path to Fingle Bridge is a history-fuelled adventure that also features beautiful views of the surrounding woodland landscape.
- Dewerstone Walk: This rugged walking route in Dartmoor will see you climb uphill through the forest along the River Plym to reach the craggy area surrounding Dewerstone Rock. A popular destination for rock climbing enthusiasts, Dewerstone Rock was historically believed to be the spot where the devil and his hounds chased local inhabitants over the precipice to their demise.
- Haytor Quarry Loop: Offering a nice mix of local history and stunning views, the Haytor Quarry Loop will take you uphill to the rocky summit of Haytor, before descending to a quarry that was used in reconstructing the London Bridge.
- Hound Tor Walk: This short uphill walking route will see you traverse the rugged terrain of the moor to reach the rocky summit of Hound Tor. Here, you will experience panoramic views that sweep across the undulating landscape of Dartmoor.
- Meldon Reservoir and Black Tor Walk: A challenging route with a scenic reward, the Meldon Reservoir and Black Tor Walk is a fun adventure that will see you climb uphill alongside a river to reach several stunning vantage points overlooking the park.
- Burrator Reservoir Circular Walk: This walking route is perfect for a fun family adventure, as the paths here are well-maintained and the terrain isn’t very difficult. Along the trail, you will walk around the edge of a scenic reservoir and cross over two dam walls that offer pleasant views across the water.
- Burrator Reservoir and Princetown Walk: Another walk in the vicinity of the Burrator Reservoir, this trail is far longer and much more challenging, as it takes you across several rugged tors to the town of Princetown and back. Although it may be difficult, the trail offers an amazing chance to explore the beautifully scenic Dartmoor landscape.
- Spitchwick Manor Circular Walk: This fun adventure in Dartmoor will lead you through the park along peaceful rivers and through historic estates for views overlooking the surrounding landscape of the park. There are a few short uphill climbs to the top of nearby tors; however, these are manageable and make for a fun journey that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
When is the Best Time to Walk in Dartmoor National Park?
As it is located relatively close to the coast, Dartmoor National Park sees favourable temperatures (℃) year-round, generally ranging from the low single digits in the winter to the high teens in the summer. Some higher elevation areas across the moor can be quite exposed to the elements, which means that inclement weather will often be a factor in determining when to set out on a walking trip here. In order to see the most favourable conditions, you will likely want to plan your adventure in Dartmoor National Park during the May-September window. This will ensure that the trails are at their driest and temperatures are at their warmest.
Other Outdoor Activities in Dartmoor National Park
While walking the breathtakingly scenic trails is probably the most popular activity in Dartmoor National Park, there are a number of other activities that can be sought out to maximize your time spent here. The undulating terrain of the region makes for fun and often challenging cycling routes, and the rocky crags found atop many tors offer the perfect setting for rock climbing. Horseback riding, fishing, camping, and stargazing are other fun activities in the park, offering a wealth of reasons why you should make Dartmoor the location of your next adventure.
Adventure Holidays in Dartmoor National Park
When it comes to planning a lengthy outdoor excursion in an unfamiliar place, sometimes it is best to leave the logistics and specifics of the trip to the professionals. If you find yourself wanting to experience the natural beauty of Dartmoor National Park and the surrounding area with a guide, why not explore these exceptional adventure tours in South West England.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dartmoor National Park
Is Dartmoor National Park Free?
Yes. There is no admission fee to enter the park and there is a wide range of activities in the area that can be done for free.
Where is Dartmoor National Park?
Dartmoor National Park is an upland area that can be found in southern Devon County in the southwest of England.
Find other spectacular walking regions in the United Kingdom
- Lake District
- Peak District
- Cairngorms National Park
- Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
The best hikes in Dartmoor National Park
Yes, there are more than 10
Dartmoor National Park is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Dartmoor National Park that you should take a look at as well
Walking along the Two Moors Way Section 6: Chagford to Drewsteignton is a lovely experience… Read More
The Longaford Tor and Wistman’s Wood Circular Walk is an amazing adventure that will expose… Read More
At 15.7mi in length, the Two Bridges, Bellever, and Dartmeet Circular walk is… Read More
The Dartmoor Circular Walk: Hare Tor, Fur Tor, Lynch Tor is a long and rugged… Read More
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