Dartmoor National Park Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by grayfo
  • Things to Do
    by grayfo
  • Me on top of Hay Tor Rock
    Me on top of Hay Tor Rock
    by King_Golo

Most Recent Things to Do in Dartmoor National Park

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    Haytor Rocks

    by grayfo Written Jun 17, 2014

    Haytor or Hay Tor and the adjacent Haytor Rocks are granite outcrops on Dartmoor that are very popular with coach parties and walking groups. It is 457 metres (1,499 feet) to the summit and provides excellent views of the coastline, the Teign estuary and the amazing countryside. Hey Tor derives its name from heah high and is the most visited tor on the moors, the outcrops are classified as an avenue tor meaning that the central section of the tor has been eroded leaving an avenue running between two outcrops.

    email %L[mailto: admin@haytorrock.co.uk] admin@haytorrock.co.uk

    June 2012

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • National/State Park

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    Dartmoor Ponies

    by grayfo Written Feb 13, 2013

    The Dartmoor ponies have been recorded living on the wild and inhospitable moors since the Middle Ages, the ponies are a particularly hardy breed with excellent stamina and are not really wild animals, but are all owned and protected by Dartmoor Commoners, who let them out on to the moors to graze for most of the year.

    It is actually illegal for visitors to feed the ponies although it is a common sight to see ponies being fed snacks through an open car window

    June 2012

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Walking!

    by King_Golo Written Oct 7, 2011

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    Evening panorama near Dartmeet

    With hundreds of trails, Dartmoor is a hiker's heaven. Those who are really fit and have the time will probably attempt to do the Two Moors Way from Dartmoor to Exmoor, but even for those who just want to go for a little walk there are dozens of places. Stop your car on one of the many little parking lots and just start walking over the soft ground. There's beauty everywhere in the Dartmoor, so it isn't difficult to find a good spot for a little walk. Just be reminded that the weather may change rather rapidly and that the Dartmoor mists are notorious.

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    Hay Tor Rocks

    by King_Golo Written Oct 7, 2011

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    Me on top of Hay Tor Rock
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    One of the most popular destinations in the eastern part of the Dartmoor, Hay Tor is also a beauty spot par excellence. At a height of 457m it provides views until the sea and over large parts of the beautiful scenery of the moor. Surrounded by fern, heath and gorse which make a lovely colourful contrast to the grey granite, and not difficult to access, Hay Tor sees very many visitors. You would have to come early in the morning or after all the buses have left to enjoy it alone. But even with the crowds around you'll be able to find some secluded spots. Don't miss climbing the actual Hay Tor Rocks - it's easy as steps were carved into the rock in the 19th century.

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    Bren Tor

    by King_Golo Written Oct 7, 2011

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    Bren Tor
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    Rising to a height of 335m, Bren Tor (or Brentor, as it is also spelt sometimes) is one of the most easily visible landmarks in the western part of Dartmoor. What makes it worth a visit is the tiny church on top. A barren rock in the middle of nowhere - not exactly a suitable place for a church, isn't it? Nonetheless, a church has been on top of Bren Tor for almost 900 years. Originally built by one Robert Giffard in 1130, it has undergone numerous changes and restorations and doesn't really look old. But you can enjoy great panoramic views from the tor, so the ascent is well worth it.

    According to local legends, it is the devil's "fault" that the church stands where it is. One legend tells that it was originally built at the foot of the tor, but the devil was enraged and threw all the stones on top of the hill to prevent churchgoers from reaching their church. Another legend tells of a wealthy merchant who survived a thunderstorm and promised to built a church on a prominent landmark in gratitude. Naturally, the devil didn't like this plan so he climbed up the hill every night and destroyed whatever had been built during the day. The parishioners turned to Archangel St Michael for help who hid on top and threw the boulders back at the devil who then left the scene and never came back.

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    Buckland-in-the-Moor

    by King_Golo Written Sep 27, 2011

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    The vestry at Buckland-in-the-Moor

    Buckland is another small village in Dartmoor NP and famous for its beautiful surroundings as well as its tiny church with a rather curious church clock. The village is not exactly easy to find as it is hidden deep in the woods and scattered over the hills surrounding the church. Therefore, it doesn't provide a beautiful overall impression but rather several smaller vistas separated from each other by the wood.

    Your first stop should be the church of St. Peter and its very picturesque vestry next to it. While the rest of the village lies hidden, the church sits on a slope, well visible from around. It's another typical village church, but is had got some interesting aspects as well. The most important is the rather original church clock. It doesn't have numbers on its face but letters spelling "MY DEAR MOTHER" as it was a gift from William Whitley and dedicated to his mother. St. Peter's Church also achieved the world record in change ringing in 1990 when 5,040 changes were rung in 6.5 hours.

    Following the lane down into the valley you come to the next sight of Buckland - a set of thatched cottages that snuggle into a hollow next to a little stream. There are several other beautiful cottages around.

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    Widecombe-in-the-Moor

    by King_Golo Written Sep 27, 2011

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    St Pancras Church in Widecombe

    Widecombe (pronounced "widdicom") is a small village in the middle of Dartmoor. By small, I mean approximately 50 inhabitants. In comparison with other Dartmoor villages, this makes it almost a city. Hence, Widecombe's church is nicknamed the "Cathedral of the Moor". It is a beautiful little church which is visible from every hill surrounding Widecombe and makes for a nice shot with the barren landscape in the background. From the inside, it's a typical village church: not much to see, but a lot of locally interesting things. There is a showcase displaying the famous Widecombe mare who was so strong that she could carry seven drunken men home from Widecombe Fair - at once! And there is an account of the curious events of 21st October 1638. During a service, the church was struck by lightning which wreaked havoc. A plaque commemorating the events reads the following:

    "[...] One man was struck dead, two wounded so they died two hours after
    No father could think on his son or mother mind her daughter
    One man was scorcht so that he liv'd but fourteen days and died
    Whose cloaths was verry little burnt but many were beside
    Were wounded, scorcht and stupefied in that strange a storm
    Which who had seen would say twas hard for to preserve a worm
    The different affection of people then were such
    That touching some particulars we have omitted much
    But what we here related have is truth in most men's mouths
    Some had there skin all over scorcht yet no harm in their cloaths
    One man had money in his purse which melted was in part
    A key likewise which hung thereto and yet the purse no hurt
    Save only some black holes so small as with a needle made. [...]"

    Surrounding the church are a few shops and cafes which provide the masses of bus tourists coming to see the "Cathedral in the Moor" with souvenirs and coffee. If you come early or in the late afternoon, however, you will have the village almost for yourself.

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    Lydford Gorge

    by King_Golo Written Sep 24, 2011

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    White Lady Waterfall

    A beautiful and not too difficult 2-hour round hike takes you to South England's deepest gorge and highest waterfall at once. Lydford Gorge is 10km away from Tavistock at the westernmost area of Dartmoor. It is owned by the National Trust, meaning you have to pay a rather high admission fee, but it's worth it if you come shortly after the gorge opens and you still have it all for yourself. The track first takes you along the rim of the gorge before you descend towards the waterfall known as the White Lady. It's only a meter wide, but 27.2m deep, thereby making it a romantic and picturesque place. As with every beautiful place, there is also a legend. If you fall into the river and see a lady in white standing in the waterfall, you will not drown. Due to the fierce currents in some places, it is unadvisable to try the experiment yourself... The path continues next to the river behind the waterfall and eventually ends at the ravine "Devil's Cauldron" where you can stand directly above the rushing waters of River Lyd, separated from it only by a grid structure. From there, it's only 5 minutes back to the visitor centre.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Wistman's Wood

    by King_Golo Written Sep 24, 2011

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    Wistman's Wood

    This place is mystical: a tiny forest of gnarled oak trees amidst the open heath of the Dartmoor. It looks as though druids would come at night to brew healing potions or to perform obscure rituals on the moss-overgrown rocks that lie scattered between the trees. The trees themselves sometimes seem to be creatures that will awake in those lonely hours of twilight...

    Wistman's Wood is a must when you are in Dartmoor. Even if you're not into mystery stories, it will enthral you immediately. Easily accessible by a pleasant 2km walk from Two Bridges, the wood is popular during daytime, but you will have it all for yourself if you come after 5.30pm. But don't get lost! The druids might be waiting...

    P.S.: Today's wood consists of two parts. One is open to the public, the other is fenced in order to let the undergrowth become denser again. Only 200 years ago, though, Wistman's Wood was impermeable. It took an expedition 4 hours to cross its dense undergrowth - and they gave up in the middle!

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    Stop the car..............

    by leics Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Cist and tree

    ...............just stop it somewhere safe, and preferably empty of people, and get out. Wrap yourself up if it's cold, put on your waterproofs if it's wet. Just walk a little bit; hear the silence, feel the isolation, imagine yourself on the moor as it once was. Get an ordnanace survey (OS) map and just look at how the archaeology is everywhere; the stone rows and circles, the cists, the cairns, the mine-working, the solid stone walls which enclose fields from prehistory. the deserted Medieval villages, the prehistoric roundhouse foundations.

    You can't explore Dartmoor from a car, you have to walk it to know it. But leaving the car for a little while, and actually being in the scene rather than just seeing it, will give you just a taste of what's out there.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Look at the walls...........

    by leics Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    ..............they are everywhere, stone-faced and entwined with tree roots, or standing bare and stern-faced against the wind. Some date back to prehistory, others to Medieval times. A close look will show the skill and craftsmanship involved. Take the time to notice.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Widecombe In The Moor

    by freya_heaven Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Widecombe

    Widecombe I think must be the most visited tourist attraction on Dartmoor. A very prettly little village set in a valley surrounded by beautiful moorland. Coachloads decend to Widecombe and especially for the September Fayre.

    Gorgeous old church, granite village houses, some of which are now quaint gift shops full of trinkets & t towels. Wild ponys can usually be found on on the village green, plus a couple of cafes for the obligatory Devonshire cream tea.

    Widecombe is the home of the poem "Uncle Tom Cobbley" & his fiasco with his poor mule getting to the fayre with his friends, which had been sung by many a folk band.

    "Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare,
    All along, down along, out along, lee,
    For I want for to go to Widecombe Fair,
    With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
    Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
    Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
    Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

    To read the rest of the poem visit the web site I have provided.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park

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    DISCOVER DARTMOOR

    by iris2002 Updated Nov 21, 2006

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    Iris on Dartmoor

    Discover-Dartmoor

    Cast your worries and cares aside
    Hold hands and teeter across granite stepping stones
    Throw your head back and laugh at tall tales in the pub
    Grin ear to ear on reaching a towering tor summit
    Shriek with delight at the sight of ponies roaming free
    Giggle as you lie back on a picnic rug, surrounded by heather
    Jump for joy at landing a fish for your supper
    Glow with pride upon spotting a flashing kingfisher
    Indulge in quality time, spent with those you love and treasure

    Laughter the best medicine.
    Feel alive!
    Take time.
    Share precious moments.
    Appreciate the good things in life.
    Re-discover yourself.
    Enjoy.
    You deserve it.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Adventure Travel
    • National/State Park

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    Trekking the 5 Tor (or 10 Tor) challenge

    by iris2002 Written Nov 12, 2006

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    Hameldown Dartmoor

    HAMELDOWN
    is an impressive ridge of granite on the east side of Dartmoor. Although it is quite high (532m) it is easily accessed and provides splendid views over a good part of Devon. A number of old, large cairns lie along the ridge. Some bones have been found inside some of them. Hameldown lies to the south of the famous Bronze Age four acre settlement of Grimspound.
    This is a very straightforward walk which involves a little climbing. Most of the walk is on the flat ridge of Hameldown following part of the Two Moors Way. You can park your car on the roadside at SX 697808 - but there's only room for 5 or 6 cars. Unless the weather is bad it is a dry walk with no boggy bits. But be careful of mist - although there is an obvious path for most of the walk. As described the walk takes about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace. The walk may be extended by carrying along the Hameldown towards Widecombe.
    This area lies outside the army firing ranges.

    Related to:
    • Horse Riding
    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Do a lot of walking!

    by kooka3 Written Feb 19, 2005

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    Dartmoor is one of the most beautiful areas. I wish I had more time to hike and look around, but any time you can spend in the Park will be worth it!

    I loved the Tors (pics of those forthcoming!), espcially Hound Tor, which supposedly inspired The Hound of the Baskervilles.

    There is plenty of variety in the park, so take time to see as much as possible.

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Dartmoor National Park Things to Do

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