- Explore the moor through letterboxing
- Visit one of the top local attractions, including abbeys, forts and museums
- Enjoy scrumptious local produce from one of the many farmers markets
Dartmoor is a place filled with mystery and intrigue, set in some truly breath-taking scenery. With a rich history boasting ancient abbeys, Iron Age hill forts and over 50 years of National Park status, Dartmoor is seen by many as the jewel in Devon’s crown. A vast expanse of wild, untamed moorland with pretty, traditional villages scattered around the area, it makes for the perfect place to get away from it all.
With pubs, inns and restaurants dotted around the area, there are so many culinary options, and guided walks offer the ideal way to work off all the great local cuisine! With local attractions including numerous abbeys, stately homes and an interesting tour around an operational cider press (with samples included!) there is so much to do during your stay.
Food and Drink
Dartmoor has a wide variety of restaurants and pubs. The beautifully quaint ‘Who’d have thought it’ Inn , Yelverton, offers fresh locally sourced pub grub, similar to that of the Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe in the Moor. The moor is littered with cosy pubs, making for a great place to rest during your exploring. The Riverford food kitchen, just South of Dartmoor, is an award winning restaurant that links to an interesting farm tour and boasts some of the finest fresh food and ingredients in the area. For fine dining, the Prince Hall Hotel offers a truly spectacular array of locally sourced treats.
Dartmoor offers such a wide selection of activities for the family to enjoy. Take in one of the striking Abbeys such as Buckland or Buckfast, go for a stroll around Lyndon Gorge, with its beautiful waterfall and ravine, or take a step back in time to Finch Foundry, the last operational water powered forge in England. For a true leap back into a golden age, look no further than the Dartmoor and South Devon Railway, which offer great views of the countryside through which they travel. Numerous museums can be found throughout the region, while the curious House of Marbles in Bovey Tracey offers a unique day out for the kids. Bridlecombe Cider Press also offers a tour around their operation followed by some much appreciated samples!
While Dartmoor is not a hub a large branded stores, you are sure to find an interesting array of shops spread all over Dartmoor. Food wise, there is a vast selection of delis, bakeries, butchers and cheese shops in the area, but if you want to source direct from the farm, many have a shop or buy from the weekly farmers markets held throughout the region. Small supermarkets and convenience stores are usually no more than a short drive away. There are a number of art galleries, craft shops and antiques fairs to explore during your stay.
History and Heritage
The distinctive tors that make Dartmoor so famous are derived from volcanic magma piercing the earth’s surface roughly 295 million years ago, then cooling into the rock mounds we enjoy today. An array of ancient abbeys and Iron Age hill forts are scattered across the tors, while the really adventurous can try their hand at letterboxing across the moor, a tradition started in the mid 1800’s. The park is preserved as a National Park, gaining its status in 1947.
Dartmoor has a military history stretching back over 200 years, and is still used by troops on exercise today. An ancient battlement with castles referenced at Okehampton and Lydford in the Doomesday Book.
There are a number of activities to be enjoyed during your stay on Dartmoor. Golf at one of four beautiful resorts (Bovey Castle, Tavistock Golf Club, Hurdwick and Wrangaton Golf Club), walking, horse riding, fishing and cycling can all be enjoyed with Dartmoor as a backdrop. One pastime that began in Dartmoor is that of letterboxing, which involves long picturesque walks in search of well-hidden jars containing a stamp to mark your progress. It’s the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon and a great opportunity to appreciate some magnificent scenery. Dartmoor is also has archaeological attractions, with numerous burial chambers and stone circles to be explored.
Dartmoor is around 20 miles from the beaches of South Devon - simple choose from the English Riviera, the South Hams and around Dawlish - where there is a beach to appeal to all. From the North there is slightly more travel involved, but for the intrepid a trip to Bude, with its beautiful beaches and ideal watersports conditions, is a perfect reward for your efforts.
Events and Entertainment
Dartmoor offers a number of ways to keep you entertained during your stay. For film buffs, there are cinemas in nearby Plymouth and Okehampton, theatres in nearby Teignmouth, Buckfastleigh, Dawlish and Plymouth will keep you happy if you prefer to watch something on stage. There are a number of guided walks that run all over the moor, taking in the majestic scenery on offer.
Okehampton also has a farmers market, with a great selection of locally sourced meat, eggs and fresh fruit and vegetables.
There are a variety of ways to travel to Dartmoor. Trains run to many stations in the area, North Dartmoor is probably best served by Exeter station, while the south can reached through Ivybridge, Totnes or Newton Abbot. From these stations a number of bus routes will take you the rest of the way, with the summer Haytor Hopper service running throughout the summer. The transmoor link bus also runs between Exeter and Plymouth, and is great for getting around the surrounding areas. The nearest airport is Exeter International or Plymouth.