Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor National Park Location
Dartmoor National Park lies with the county of Devon, covering some 368 square miles. It’s a landscape of contrasts. In part a granite plateau dotted with distinctive tors (high rocks), deep valleys (combes) with fast flowing rivers and gorse and heather covered moorlands grazed by sheep, cattle and Dartmoor ponies.
These hardy ponies have roamed Dartmoor since pre-historic times. Hoof-prints of domesticated ponies dating back around 3,500 years were found on Dartmoor during an archaeological excavation in the 1970s. These indigenous ponies are now quite rare.
The Park has 734km of public rights of way in all - 357km of footpaths, 356km of bridleways and 19km of byways. For anyone wishing to experience the landscapes of both Dartmoor and Exmoor the 163km Two Moors Way joins the two National Parks. The 35,000 hectares of common land also offer foot and horse riding access. While the Park’s eight reservoirs offer fishing with some rivers accessible for both fishing and canoeing.
The Park's landscape has inspired poets, artists, photographers and authors - and featured on the silver and small screen, more recently on TV in the BBC Sherlock Holmes adventure, Hound of the Baskervilles and in cinemas in Steven Spielberg's War Horse.
Camping in Dartmoor National Park
Things to do from the campsite
There are walks direct from the site on to Dartmoor. Letterboxing – a form of orienteering
Plenty of walking and cycling apportunities, for example, cycle or walk the Granite Way, a spectacular 11-mile track from Lydford to Okehampaton. Fish for brown and rainbow trout on Burrator reservoir (permits from the garage in Yelverton). Horse-riding is available from the award-winning Cholwell Riding Stables at Mary Tavy near Tavistock.
Tavistock farmers’ market is usually held on the second and forth Saturday of every month. Tour of Britain Cycle Race, 20 September, Haytor < >
Places to visit
A good place to start your visit to Dartmoor is the National Park Visitor Centre at Princetown, east of Tavistock Club Site. Displays and exhibitions here give a wonderful insight into the history, culture and wildlife of the area. Princetown also offers excellent access to the north and south moors for hill walkers. Further east is Hay Tor (the most popular Tor on Dartmoor) and the Granite Tramway. Head south east from Tavistock Club Site for Sheepstor, the beautiful village where Stephen Spielberg’s Warhorse was filmed. Nearby Burrator Reservoir has a circular cycling/walking track that follows the lanes around the water and is suitable for families. Many more trails lead off onto Dartmoor. North of Tavistock campsite, Lydford boasts a castle and the stunning Lyford Gorge which stretches for one and a half miles from the Devil’s Cauldron whirlpool to the 100ft Whitelady Waterfall.
Things to do from the campsite:
Sit back and admire the views across Dartmoor from your pitch. The Two Moors Way passes a few hundred yards from Teign Valley campsite or walk to the nearby Drewsteignton and enjoy a well-earned pint at the Drew Arms.
Fernworthy Reservoir south west of Teign Valley Club Site is great for bird watching. Fly fishing is available for brown trout, sea trout and salmon on the upper reaches of the River Teign south of the site. Chagford is home of letterboxing on Dartmoor, while Kennick Reservoir near Bovey Tracy is a top rated premier rainbow trout fishery with angling from the banks and boats. Permits can be purchased from the permit hut. See also Tavistock Club Site.
Chagstock Music Festival, 19-20 July, Widecombe Fair, 10 September. See Tavistock Club Site
Places to visit:
A few miles south west of Teign Valley Club Site near Drewsteington is Castle Drogo, England’s newest Castle. This National Trust property has a delightful formal garden and woodland walks. Carry on to Chagford, a charming mining town, which is well worth a look. Nearby Fernworthy Reservoir is perfect for bird watching. Pack a picnic and head for Trenchford and Tottiford Reservoirs south east of Dartmoor campsite and then enjoy a three mile walk around the waters. The stunning Canonteign Falls in the heart of the Teign Valley is England’s highest waterfall at 220ft and is surrounded by beautiful woodland. There’s a children’s assault course and play area here. Becky Falls, south of Teign Valley Club campsite near Manaton is also worth visiting. Head west from the campsite for the National Trust run Finch Foundry at Sticklepath. This last remaining water-powered forge in England gives a unique insight into village life in the 19th century.
Teign Valley campsite is also handy for south Devon’s coastal resorts.