Best Locations to Wild Camp on Dartmoor

Spread the love
Taking in the views from Shelstone Tor, Dartmoor

In the past six years of Summit or Nothing I have camped in some pretty amazing locations up on Dartmoor. Here is a list of my favourite spots, some are close to the roads, ideal for beginners wanting to test the water, some are a little more deeper into the moor, ideal for those of you who really want to feel the isolation.

Please note that all the tors and locations in this article are to be found in the Dartmoor Camping Map and some fall within the military firing ranges so best to keep an eye on the firing times here!

You can also watch the accompanying video to this article to see just how stunning some of these wild camping locations really are.

Row Tor

Rowtor, near the car, yet with stunning panoramic views

Rowtor is located on the North Moor and although you can park within minutes walk from the car, once you are up on the tor itself, and in amongst the scattering of granite rocks,  you really do get a feel of the isolation that the moor offers.

There are stunning panoramic views of the high tors around, East Mill and West Mill Tor, Yes Tor and in the distance the likes of Higher Tor and Belstone tor too. This is perfect for anyone wanting to try the wild camping experience, or test out new gear. Once the sun goes down, you will be spoilt to a sky full of stars (as long as the cloud dissipates, that is).

However, this location falls within the Okehampton Firing Range, so make sure that you check the firing times before heading out. And a little south of the tor, you can have a look at the military railway circuit, a circular track which the army roll out moving targets on.

Watch my Rowtor Camp video here, where I tested the One Tigris Trekking Pole Tent 

Pew Tor

Pew Tor, near Merrivale, like an amphitheater

Based over by Merrivale, on the Tavistock side of the moor, Pew Tor is another tor that falls close to the car. There is a car park right beneath it on the western side, or you can park by Cox Tor and walk over Feather Tor via Windy Cross (Dartmoor’s most photographed cross), taking in the views of Vixen Tor (which you are not allowed to access). 

Pew Tor is a really interesting tor, it sits high up on a hill, and the rocks themselves form a kind of circular amphitheater. 

Here’s my Pew Tor mid week wild camp video where I enjoyed a tranquil camp with exquisite sunsets.

Shelstone Tor

Shelstone Tor, overlooking Black Tor and High Willhays

About 20/25mins walk from the large carpark by Sourton Tor, Shelstone is an awesome tor that sits on the edge of the huge West Okement Valley. 

Opposite you can watch the sunrise over High Willhays, Dartmoor highest tor, and beneath that Black Tor and one of the amazing stunted Oak woods, Black-a-Tor-Copse cling to the Eastern bank of the valley. Look carefully down the valley and you can see Lint’s Tor standing proud on its little  

There are plenty of places to pitch around this tor, tucking into the rocks on either side depending on the weather, and for the more adventurous of you out there, there are a great selection of over hanging rock to bivvy under. 

Watch my video when I camped at Shelstone Tor in the snow here!


Sheepstor, close to car park with steep climb

Nestled just on the edge of the South Moor, quite close to Yelverton, is Sheepstor.

Sheepstor is another location not too far from the car parks at either end of Burrator Reservoir and although the steep climb to the top is challenging, once up it offers superb views back over the nearby Burrator reservoir as well as across to its neighbours Leather Tor and Sharpitor.

Up top, there are some great places to pitch up your tent, with plenty of level ground to chose from. 

Watch my Sheepstor Windy Winter Camp here!

Oke Tor

Oke Tor, a great tor to camp whatever the weather

Back up on the North Moor once again for this tor, and a little further inland, too. Oke Tor is a great little cluster of rocks up on the ridge line above the vast  Taw Valley. 

Some interesting rocks for relaxing on, perfect for children to play on, and also ideal to pitch in tight too in heavier weather, and there is also some open planes to pitch on too, if you’d rather.

There are  views over to the high moors on the Western side of the tor, but the views to the East, taking in the valley from Belstone to Steeperton Tor are something else.

Here’s a wet and windy winter wild camp on Oke Tor! 

Steeperton Tor

Steeperton Tor, isolated with great views

Further inland from Oke Tor is another isolated tor, Steeperton Tor. Its visible from some way, the little hut on top the hill standing proud like some firm breast on a chilly day.

This is Nath’s favourite tor, the trek out to it makes you feel that you’ve earned it when you arrive, and the views back over the Taw Valley are absolutely breathtaking.

Once again this tor falls within the Danger Zone so check those firing times before heading out, and be aware, that despite this being an isolated tor (or maybe because of it) it can often get busy up there, and there isn’t loads of spots to pitch up top, so be prepared to have to walk for a pitch.

Watch Nathan and myself camping on Steeperton Tor here! 

Great Staple Tor

Ponies, rocks and rainbow at Great Staple Tor

Some really interesting and beautiful rock stacks up here, and more panoramic view of the surrounding Merrivale area.  Great Staple is a fantastic tor to visit for beginners and pro’s.

Again, it is close enough to the car to elevate any pressure for those not too sure, but its a great spot to camp in the middle of a day exploring this part of the moor.

I have camped here twice, once with my son and the second time with my good friend Stan.On the second time, the wind hitting the main rocks led us to seek shelter on the Eastern side, and despite having visited and passing this tor so many times, the spot that we found was one of the most gorgeous spots I have ever camped.

We managed to tuck into the rocks, and the land swept away in front of us to reveal fantastic views back over towards Kingstor and the four winds car park. 

Watch myself and Stan camp on this spot in this video here! 

Black Tor

Black Tor, a sub zero tarp camp

Back to the north moor. Black Tor, as mentionoed earlier, is found on the opposite side of the west Okement valley to Shelstone Tor. However, it is about 100m higher, and it is for this reason that this tor is such an awesome one to camp at.

Its best reached from the eastern side of the West Okement River, fairly easily reached from Meldon reservoir, and falls outsside of the firing ranges. Its also a great tor to incorporate into any walk taking in the highest tors of dartmoor (High Willhays, Yes Tor etc).

Being up above the valley, and looking down on the likes of Black-a-tor-copse beneath you, you soon begin to realise just how deep the valley is, and it remains one of the most incredible views on the moors, in my humble opinion. 

But, once up top, there are plenty of places to tuck yourself in against the rocks to get out of the wind. I camped here in a tarp and bivvy set up when I had hiked across the North-western flank of the moor  during a particularly cold winter season, and that camp to this day remains one of my favourites. You can watch that full length video here!

Great Links Tor

Great Links Tor

Great Links Tor is another fantastic Tor found on the north moor, and another which falls safely outside of the military ranges.

This is one of the most prominent tors around, visible from most parts of the moor, and indeed from across the south west, too. It looks like a battleship and seems to dwarf all of the surrounding tors, which is an illusion as it is a good 30-40m’s shorter than High Willhays.

Being so high, and on the edge of the moor,  Great Links offers some of the best views across the rest of Devon and Cornwall, and you can even make out the ocean when it reflects the setting sun.

But, bare in mind, there is not too many level patches to pitch up here. We have had to move off and find shelter lower down the hill when we have shared the tor with a fellow campmer in the past. 

You can watch one of my favourite solo camps on this tor in this video here! 

Chinkwell Tor

Chinkwell Tor, one of the few places near Haytor that you can camp

Chinkwell Tor is one of the few places in the popular Haytor / Houndtor area that camping is permitted, and up on the top of this tor, the views of the surrounding area are absolutely stunning.

One of my favourite walks on Dartmoor is the Mini Ten Tors, which is a 10 mile circular route in this area, and passes through Chinkwell Tor, so perhaps you could incorporate the two if you so wish.

This part of the moor is absolutely lush, with more foliage entwined with the tors than the arid looking north moor, so its great to be able to take  in the views from here. You are also just above the small village of Widecombe on the moor too. 

This was my first Dartmoor camp after the initial covid lockdown. You can watch that glorious weather camp video here! 

Great Mis Tor

Great Mis Tor

Great Mis Tor is an absolute belter of a tor. Again, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned hiker and wild camper, this tor is one of the best locations to wild camp on the moor. 

Located in the Merrivale area, and falling just outside of the military range, Great Links has plenty to offer. A short walk up a track from the Four Winds Carpark, its ideal spot for anyone who doesn’t want to walk too far, but its large size and level ground mean that even if it is a busy up there, you are spoilt for choice of areas to pitch up.

The views once again are impeccable, as it is one of the highest tors in this area, and Merrivale is such a great part of the moor to explore. 

I have camped there three times altogether, the last time I camped I took a handful of my Summit or Nothing Patreons up there where we enjoyed a sunny day exploring the area only to be battered by the weather on top of the tor in the night. You can watch that video here