Best walks in Dartmoor National Park
This huge moorland scattered with staggering granite tors in the south-east of Devon is a hiker's paradise – discover the best walking routes in Dartmoor National Park with our guide.
Dartmoor National Park comprises 386 square miles of moorlands, forests, rivers, wetlands and craggy granite tors.
Since its designation in 1951 – the first national park to be established in Britain – Dartmoor's varied habitats and prehistoric remains have lured visitors from all over the world. To this day it continues to be an important recreation ground for outdoor enthusiasts.
One of the best ways to explore Dartmoor is on its impressive network of footpaths.
Discover some of the best routes with our favourite walks in Dartmoor National Park, including Wistman's Wood, Hound Tor and Lydford Gorge.
Teign Gorge, Devon
The River Teign tumbles off windswept moors, swirling and carving through a spectacular gorge overhung with crooked oaks and beeches. The fresh woodland air invigorates the soul, while the peace is occasionally broken by the chilling bellows of a stag.
Take an walk from Castle Drogo through Piddledown Common and Fingle Wood a see one of England’s largest woodland restoration projects.
- 6.9km/4.2 miles
- 2 hours
Wistman's Wood, Devon
Dartmoor National Park's ancient Wistman’s Wood is reached on an easy walk on a waymarked path from Two Bridges car park.
Peer in beneath the trees' lichen-covered boughs to a woodland that has remained unspoilt for hundreds of years.
- 2.5 hours
Lydford Gorge, Devon
Stretching for 1½ miles, the steep-sided Lydford Gorge is a spectacular chasm in the hills. At one end lies the impressive Devil’s Cauldron whirlpool, while the 30m (100ft)-high White Lady waterfall is at the other.
The gorge was naturally formed in the rocky hills over thousands of years, by the process of ‘river capture’, where one river merges with another, following gradual erosion of the rocks between the two. Today, the raging torrent runs through a deep chasm surrounded by trees.
- 4.2km/2.6 miles
- 1.5 hours
Rich in history and legend, Dartmoor National Park offers an exhilarating challenge for walkers and some of the most dramatic views in England, including this one from the summit of Sharpitor.
The circular route starts and finishes near the tor, taking in views of Burrator Reservoir.
- 7.1km/4.4 miles
- 2.5 hours
Discover the delicate tones of the skylark, and many other Dartmoor delights, on this remote ramble through the national park's northern moors and tors.
Just three miles below its source, on Dartmoor’s wild north moor, the River Taw meanders gently across Taw Plain. The jagged tors of Belstone Common and the slopes of Cosdon Hill overlook this natural amphitheatre, wonderful not only for its watery beauty but also for its acoustic qualities.
- 8.8km/5.5 miles
- 4 hours
Great Staple and White Tor, Devon
White (pronounced Whit) Tor, standing above the Tavy valley, offers a spectacular vantage point. On the broad summit, among the multitude of rocks and clitter, there are stone structures that were originally assumed to be an iron age hillfort but are more likely a neolithic enclosure – the uncertainty adds to the mystery.
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It’s wonderful to explore the layers of history to be found on Dartmoor, a true palimpsest. Discover the mysterious remains with a walk from Great Staple Tor to White Tor.
- 10.3km/6.4 miles
- 3.5 hours
Hound Tor, Devon
Ghosts, witches and dragons: walkers looking for some scary stories should head for Dartmoor. This moderate walking route takes in a host of Dartmoor's famous tors – Saddle, Haytor, Howell Tor and Hound Tor.
- 8.5km/5.2 miles
- 3 hours
Venford Reservoir and Bench Tor, Devon
Climb from the placid waters of Venford Reservoir to a grand vista overlooking the hills and valleys of Dartmoor National Park – it’s the perfect place to spread out your picnic blanket before returning via charming waterfalls.
- 2.8km/1.7 miles
- 1.5 hours
Gutter Tor, Devon
The hills, moorlands and coastlines of Devon’s landscape have long provided inspiration for Britain’s authors, poets and playwrights, from Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle to Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen.
Discover the landscape that inspired Michael Morpurgo's War Horse with this four-mile walk from Gutter Tor to Higher Hartor Tor in Dartmoor National Park.
- 6.4km/3.9 miles
- 2.5 hours
Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.
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