Walking on Dartmoor
National Park and surrounding areas
By John Earle
This guidebook contains route descriptions for 42 day walks in the Dartmoor National Park and its surrounding area. The walks all vary in length from 2 to 12 miles long and each route is graded by difficulty from easy to moderate or hard. Most of the walks are circular with a few longer routes that are linear and involve ascents of tors.
SeasonsYear-round walking, although extremely busy in peak summer months. Winter walking can require advanced navigation skills. Often boggy!
CentresWidecombe-in-the-Moor, Princetown, Dartmeet, Stepsbridge and Postbridge.
DifficultyMainly easy to moderate walking, not technical. Often boggy, with grass tussocks. Mists can cause navigation difficulties.
Must SeeRolling, sweeping horizons, prehistoric stone circles such as at Merrivale, wild remote 'tors', Dartmoor ponies.
This guidebook, Walking on Dartmoor, contains 42 day walks in the Dartmoor National Park in Devon. The walks in this guidebook are grouped into four large areas of Dartmoor: South Moor, Widecombe Walks, North East Moor and North West Moor. Furthermore most of the walks in this guidebook are circular and are graded by length: long – 12km (7.5 miles) or more; medium – 4km to 12km (2.5 to 7.5 miles) and short – under 4km (2.5 miles).
Each walk is also classed as hard, moderate or easy, depending on the difficulty of the terrain, any necessary climbing and the map reading and navigation skills involved. With nearly all the routes in Walking on Dartmoor, it is possible to shorten them by cutting off corners and leading back onto the route at another place. It is also easy to link walks together in order to create a longer walk if you so wish, and this guidebook includes the itineraries to 5 long-distance walks.
Dartmoor has been called the last great wilderness in England largely due to the fact that it is possible to get further from roads and civilisation than anywhere else in the country. It is generally wild and lonely, with remote areas of uplands and mountains that even in holiday periods it’s possible to get away and walk all day without seeing a soul.
Unlike many upland areas, it is possible to walk anywhere you like on Dartmoor because it is still countryside. You don’t have to follow ridges or valleys like you would do in mountainous regions. However, Dartmoor is a deceptive country for walking because, as it isn’t a true mountainous region and looks like rolling undulating landscape, many people think it is easy to finish walks in a fast time. This is just not possible because walking on Dartmoor will take you over tussocks of grass, heather (bracken in the summer months), peat hags, marshy areas, gorse bushes, and rocky slopes all within a few miles of each other, which will inevitably slow you down.
Geology and formation of Dartmoor
Man on Dartmoor
Legends of Dartmoor
Where to stay
Maps and compasses
Climbing on Dartmoor
Walking on Dartmoor
Using the Guide
1. Bel Tor Corner, Dr Blackall's Drive, new Bridge, Spitchwick, Leusdon
2. Sharp Tor, Rowbrook Farm, Double Dart Gorge, Dartmeet, Dartmeet Hill, The Coffin Stone
3. Michelcombe, Sandy Way, Holne Ridge, Hapstead Ford, Chalk Ford, Scorriton (or back to Michelcombe)
4. Scorriton, Chalk Ford, Hapstead Ford, Ryder's Hill, Snowdon, Pupers Hill, Lud Gate, Chalk Ford
5. Cross Furzes, Water Oak Corner, Huntingdon Cross, Huntingdon Warren, Lud Gate (Part of the Abbot's Way)
6. Shipley Bridge, Avon Dam, Eastern White Barrow, Western White Barrow, Crossways, Red Lake China Clay Works, Broad Falls, Huntingdon Warren House, Gripper's Hill, Dockwell Ridge, Shipley Tor
7. Shipley Bridge, Zeal, Ball Gate, Glasscombe Corner, Three Barrows, Two Moors Way via Redlake Mineral Railway Track (or Quickbeam Hill), Western White Barrow, Petre's Pits, Bala Brook
8. New Waste, Erme Valley, Piles Copse, Downing's House, The Dancers, Erme Plains, Erme Head, Langcombe Hill, Yealm Head, Yealm Steps, Stalldown Barrow, Hillson's House
9. Cadover Bridge, Trowlesworthy Warren House, Trowlesworthy Tors, Hen Tor, Shavercombe Head, Shell Top, Pen Beacon
10. Cadover Bridge, Trowlesworthy Warren House, Valley of the River Plym, Ditsworthy Warren House, Giants Basin, Plym Steps, Plym Ford, Eylesbarrow Mine, Scout Hut, Gutter Tor Legis Tor
11. Gutter Tor, Legis Tor, Meavy Pool, Ditsworthy Warren House
12. Ditsworthy Warren House, Giants Basin, (Plym Steps, Plym Ford), Eylesbarrow Mine, Scout Hut
13. Shaugh Bridge, West Down, North Wood, Dunstone, Cadover Bridge, Wigford Down, Dewerstone Rock
14. Norsworthy Bridge, Burrator Reservoir, Deancombe, Cuckoo Rock, Potato Cave, Eylesbarrow Tin Mine, Nun's Cross Farm, Siward's Cross, Stone Row, Down Tor
15. Norsworthy Bridge, Track (Newleycombe Lake), Older Bridge, Devonport Leat, Crazy Well Pool, Raddick Lane, Leather Tor Bridge, (Lower Cross)
16. Stanlake, Devonport Leat and Aqueduct, Raddick Hill, Cramber Tor, Cramber Pool, Hart Tor, Prehistoric and Tinners’ Remains on River Meavy, Black Tor
17. Routrundle, Disused Railway Track, Ingra Tor, Swelltor Quarries, King's Tor, Merrivale Prehistoric Remains, Yellowmeade Farm, Foggintor Quarries, Leeden Tor
18. Vixen Tor, Heckwood Tor, Pew Tor, Feather Tor, Windypost Cross
19. Nun's Cross Farm, Abbot's Way, Plym Ford, Great Gnats Head, Erme Pits, Grant's Pot, Phillpott's Cave, Duck's Pool, Black Lane, Fox Tor, Childe's Tomb, Whiteworks
20. Saddle Bridge, Horse Ford, O Brook, Hooten Wheals, The Henroost, Skir Ford, Skir Gut or Girt, Skir Hill, Horn's Cross, Combestone Tor
21. Saddle Tor, Low Man, Hay Tor, Hay Tor Quarries, Granite Railway, Holwell Quarries, (Great Tor), Smallacombe Rocks, Grea Tor Rocks, Medieval Village, Hound Tor, (Chinkwell Tor, Bell Tor), Bonehill Rocks, Top Tor, Foale's Arrishes
22. Bonehill Rocks, Bell Tor, Chinkwell Tor, Honeybag Tor, Thornhill Lane
23. Cold East Cross, Rippon Tor, Newhouse, Foale's Arrishes, Tunhill Rocks, Blackslade Ford, Buckland Beacon
24. Bennett's Cross, Birch Tor, Headland Warren, Stone Row, Headland Warren Farm, Hookney Tor, King's Barrow, Grimspound, (Hameldown Tor), Headland Warren, Mines
25. Hameldown Beacon, Hameldown Tor, Grimspound, Headland Warren Farm, Mines, Soussons Forest, Cator Common
26. Prehistoric Remains, Bellever Tor, Laughter Tor, Huccaby, Brimpts, Babeny, (Dartmeet), Snaily House, Bellever
27. Corndon Down and Tor, Sherwell, Yar Tor
28. Visits to Bowerman's Nose, Jay's Grave, Dunnabridge Pound
North East Moor
29. Crockern Tor, Longaford Tor, White Tors, Brown's House, Flat Tor, Rough Tor, Wistman's Wood, Two Bridges
30. Drift Lane, Roundy Park, Valley of the East Dart, Waterfalls, Sandy Hole, (Cut Hill, Fur Tor), Statts House, Beehive Hut, The Sheepfold
31. Assycombe Hill, Chagford Common, Mine, King's Oven, Warren House Inn
32. Fernworthy Circle, Grey Wethers, Sittaford Tor, Quintin's Man, Whitehorse Hill, Hangingstone Hill, Watern Tor, Teignhead Farm
33. Kestor Rock, Shovel Down, Teign-e-ver Clapper bridge, Scorhill Down, Batworthy Corner
34. Cullever Steps, Oke Tor, Knack Mine, Steeperton Tor, Steeperton Gorge, Taw Marsh, Belstone, Nine Stones, Belstone Tor
North West Moor
35. Moor Gate, Black Down, Yes Tor, High Willhays, West Mill Tor
36. Meldon Reservoir, Black-a-Tor Copse, Sandy Ford, Valley of the West Okement River, Cranmere Pool
37. Brat Tor, Bleak House, (Great Links Tor), Rattlebook Peat Works, Corn Ridge, Branscombe's Loaf, Sourton Tors, Ice Works
38. The Lich Way, Lynch Tor, Fur Tor, Sandy Ford, Watern Oke, Tavy Cleave
39. Higher Godsworthy, The Longstone, White Tor, Stephens’ Grave, Wedlake
40. Staple Tors, Roos Tor, Cox Tor
41. Great Mis Tor, Langstone Moor Circle, Prehistoric and Tinners’ Remains in Walkham Valley
42. Beardown Tors, Foxholes, Crow Tor, Devil's Tor, Beardown Man, Broad Hole, Cowsic River Valley
The Abbot's Way
The Lich Way
Two Moors Way
The Perambulation of 1240
The Mariner's Way
Appendix A Route Summary Table
Appendix B Glossary of Dartmoor Terms
Appendix C Useful Contacts
Appendix D Bibliography
OS Landranger Series, Sheets (1:50,000):
191 Okehampton and North Dartmoor
202 Torbay and South Dartmoor
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Walk 8 - New Waste & the Erme Valley:
This walk should start at grid ref 625611 but permissive access through gate was withdrawn in June 2014 so alternative carpark near to walk is Harford Moor Gate which is about 2 miles to the east of the proper start.
(Thanks to Phil Oliver for this update)
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John Earle is an experienced mountaineer, TV film maker and trek-leader. He runs a successful outdoor education centre on Dartmoor and is well known for his films about Cornwall and Dartmoor. He is also author of Cicerone guide to Cornwall and Exmoor and the Quantocks.View Guidebooks by John Earle