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    Wistman’s Wood Walk

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    8.2 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    223 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Wistman’s Wood Walk

    If you enjoy lovely riverside walks that just so happen to pass through a swathe of ancient forest featuring trees that are hundreds of years old, then the Wistman’s Wood Walk is the perfect route for you. While out exploring this trail, you will walk along the banks of the West Dart River and take in views of the surrounding moorland terrain before traversing the moss-covered expanse of Wistman’s Wood to make the return leg of the journey on the opposite side of the river. An afternoon on this route is a great way to reconnect with nature in the beautiful, rugged, and sometimes spooky landscapes of Dartmoor National Park.

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    Route Description for Wistman’s Wood Walk

    While it isn’t an overly challenging journey, the Wistman’s Wood Walk does pass through some uneven and often boggy terrain that will not be suitable for walkers of every skill level. Be sure to wear sturdy walking boots - waterproof in the winter/spring - to better traverse the rugged terrain of the moor. Additionally, Wistman’s Wood is a sensitive ecosystem that is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, so take extra care when exploring the area surrounding the forest.

    If your aim is to check out a truly unique landscape in Dartmoor National Park, then a walk to Wistman’s Wood is just the type of adventure that you should be after. While out on the trail, you will traverse the rugged terrain of the moor to reach Wistman’s Wood, the remnants of an ancient forest that once covered all of Dartmoor. While it only covers a small area of about 9 acres now, the forest is beautifully scenic and is characterized by gnarled trees that are covered in moss and are home to venomous adders. No wonder the locals believe that it is haunted!

    Setting out from the car park in Two Bridges, head north along the lane and pass through the gate, continuing on for 0.6 km to arrive at a farm on your left. Make your way past the farm and pick up the path on the left in 130 m, using it to traverse the moor alongside the West Dart River on your left. Keep straight for the next 1.3 km, taking in the views of the barren terrain surrounding you, before arriving at the edge of Wistman’s Wood. Take some time to explore the area and appreciate the natural beauty of this unique place that is filled with gnarly, moss-covered trees that are hundreds of years old. Locals believe that the area is haunted by the devil, black hounds, and the souls of the dead, so it might be wise not to linger too long here.

    Continue on to the north and keep left along the trail, passing by Longaford Tor on your right to arrive at a crossing over the West Dart River. After making your way across the water, head to the left along the trail as it runs in between the river and the Davenport Leat, a type of small canal. Keep to the left for the next 2.9 km, enjoying the views of the West Dart River on your left and the rugged expanse of the moor and Beardown Tors on your right. After meeting up with a lane, turn left and follow it through Beardown Farm, which is a great place for camping in the area. Once you have passed the farm and crossed over the Cowsic River, head left at the junction and follow the path along the water’s edge, as it will eventually meet up with B3357. Turn left here and follow the road for a short distance to arrive back at the car park where you started the Wistman’s Wood Walk.

    Trail Highlights

    Wistman’s Wood

    A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) located within Dartmoor National Park, Wistman’s Wood is an ancient stretch of forest that features gnarled, stunted, moss-covered trees that are much older than they appear to be. Sitting at an altitude of 380 m-410 m, the forest is one of only three high altitude oakwoods on Dartmoor, making it one of the last remaining patches of a forest that once covered the entire area. It is estimated that many of the trees here are in the 200-400 year old range.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are there adders in Wistman’s Wood?

    Yes. Witsman’s Wood is home to a relatively large population of adders, although you may not encounter any while out walking in the area.

    How old are the trees in Wistman’s Wood?

    It is estimated that many of the oaks in Wistman’s Wood are over 200 years old, with the oldest of the bunch reaching 400 or even 500 years old.

    Insider Hints for Wistman’s Wood Walk

    • Crossing the West Dart River can be dangerous when river levels rise, so be extra vigilant.
    • Keep your dog on a lead, as livestock may be grazing in the area.
    • Where proper walking boots with good ankle support, as the ground along this trail can be blanketed in rocks and roots.
    • Water-resistant footwear is also recommended during wetter times of the year, as the trail can be very boggy.
    • Keep an eye out for venomous adders that call the wood home.

    Getting to the Wistman’s Wood Walk Trailhead

    To reach the trailhead for the Wistman’s Wood Walk from Princetown, drive to the northeast along Two Bridges Road/B3212 for 2.3 km and turn right onto B3357. After 0.3 km, make a left to enter the car park.

    Route Information

    • When to do


    • Backcountry Campsites

      Beardown Farm

    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Wistman’s Wood Walk Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Wistman’s Wood Walk Reviews

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