Stay in Dartmoor
Dartmoor National Park is approximately 368 square miles - the largest and wildest area of open country in southern England. Dartmoor is a mixture of heather-covered moorland and wooded gorges, beautiful lake-like reservoirs and tumbling rocky rivers, thriving market towns and villages, patchwork farmland and craggy granite tors. Nearly half of Dartmoor is made up of open moorland. Dartmoor also homes nature reserves and sites of Special Scientific Interest, endangered birds and rare plants, and thousands of ancient monuments and archaeological sites, including burial chambers, and stone circles - more than anywhere else in Europe.
If you wish there are many guided walks to join, or stables offering horse rides for all ages, as well as bikes for hire and many cycle routes. There are the remains of mines and quarries, and on the fringes of the moor, you will find ruined castles, pretty villages, medieval abbeys, ancient churches and bridges. There is a great range of accommodation in Dartmoor, from self catering holiday cottages to friendly guest houses and luxury hotels and spas.
Dartmoor has the most amazing landscape, offering something different to the visitor at all times of year. When you visit Dartmoor you will find picturesque Dartmoor villages, traditional thatched cottages and narrow lanes. Villages like Lustleigh or Moretonhampstead are well worth visiting. There are also historic market towns like Tavistock, Bovey Tracey and Okehampton, with traditional shops, tearooms and pubs.
The town of Princetown is the highest town on Dartmoor, and one of the highest in the UK, and is home to the infamous Dartmoor Prison, originally built to house prisoners of war from the Napoleonic Wars, but still houses prisoners today in one of the most remote prison locations in the UK. Dartmoor events include the Widecombe Fair, held every September in the village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor and the annual Ten Tors challenge for young people from across the UK.
Steeped in History
From as early as 3500BC our ancestors were building chambered cairns on Dartmoor and creating settlements across the landscape with stone huts and boundaries. The remains of many, such as Grimspound, can still be visited today and offer visitors an amazing glimpse into the distant past. There are deserted mediaeval villages to explore such as the one at Hound Tor and once-powerful castles around the fringes of the moor at Okehampton, Lydford - which became a notorious prison, and Castle Drogo, the last to be built in England.
Dartmoor is a walker's paradise offering a wide range of routes and degrees of difficulty from secluded woodlands to windswept tors. The landscape is ever-changing throughout the year and walks can be arranged to take in many wonderful features of the landscape from reservoirs, leats and waterfalls to rugged outcrops and isolated stone circles. If you are feeling adventurous, grab an OS map and do your own thing or maybe opt for an organised event such as the annual Ten Tors Challenge. Whichever suits you, be sure to take note of the safety precautions to make sure you enjoy your visit without getting into any potential difficulties!
There are many exciting events happening across Dartmoor through the year and the Dartmoor area offers several world class visitor attractions not to be missed.