Walking the Dartmoor Way
109-mile hike around Dartmoor National Park
By Sue Viccars
Guide to the Dartmoor Way, a waymarked 175km (109 mile) circular walking route around the edge of Devon's beautiful Dartmoor. Presented in 10 stages (plus the High Moor Link which can be used to create two shorter loops), the route takes in wooded valleys, sparkling streams, moorland, farmland and attractive towns and villages.
SeasonsIdeal in the 'shoulder' months: wild flowers, lambs and foals in spring; rusty bracken moorland, colourful oak woods and diverse fungi in autumn. Expect cooler and wetter weather in autumn and winter.
CentresIvybridge, South Brent, Buckfastleigh, Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Manaton, Moretonhampstead, Chagford, South Zeal, Sticklepath, Belstone, Okehampton, Sourton, Lydford, Mary Tavy, Peter Tavy, Tavistock, Yelverton, Cornwood, Holne, Hexworthy, Princetown
DifficultyIncludes short but steep ascents and descents, but the route is well signed and split into easily manageable day walks. Alternative low-level routes listed for days when visibility is poor, and navigation may be a challenge.
Must SeeDartmoor National Park; Redlake Tramway; Buckfast Abbey; Haytor Rocks and the Haytor Granite Tramway, built in 1820; the Teign Gorge; Cranbrook Iron Age hillfort; Castle Drogo; Belstone Cleave and the Taw River; Okehampton castle; Meldon Viaduct and bluebell woodland; Dartmoor's highest point, High Willhays; Lydford Castle; The Dewerstone; Lee Moor china clay workings; Princetown's Napoleonic prison
This guidebook presents the Dartmoor Way, a 175km (109 mile) walk around Dartmoor National Park in Devon. Walked in 10 day-long stages between 12.75 and 20.5km (8 and 12.75 miles) in length, this waymarked route skirts the edge of England's largest granite moorland, passing through towns including Ivybridge, Ashburton, Okehampton and Tavistock. Also included is the 2-day High Moor Link, which crosses the moor's higher ground. With 1:50,000 scale OS maps for each stage, the book includes notes on nature, history and local landmarks such as Haytor Rocks, the Teign gorge and Dewerstone crags. Taking in ancient paths, tracks and quiet lanes, the route is mostly at low level and is suitable for most walkers, although some stages involve short, steep climbs and descents. Accommodation, parking and public transport are covered, allowing walkers to choose whether to tackle the route in one go or as individual day walks. Each stage includes low-level detours in case of bad weather, as well as details of walking the route in reverse, giving readers flexibility over direction of travel. Further options include creating shorter loops joined by the High Moor Link, or walking the entire circular route in 7 days.
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After gaining a degree in Geography and Archaeology at Exeter University Sue Viccars worked for a London map publisher before grabbing the chance to return to Devon, where she spent 20 years commissioning walking, equestrian and countryside books for David & Charles Publishers. She received her first walking book commission three weeks after going freelance in 2000 and since then has written or contributed to around 20 books (and edited dozens more), specialising in her home territory of southwest England, with particular reference to Dartmoor and Exmoor. She writes the walks for Exmoor: the country magazine, and has been editor of Dartmoor Magazine since 2008.View author profile
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