Our Top 10 Favourite Dartmoor Walks (2018)

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Walking On Dartmoor, Peter Tavy

In a little less than 3 years Nathan and myself have knocked off over 100 squares of the Dartmoor 365 in the process of our Dartmoor Hiking. So it’s no wonder that we often get asked, What is the Best Walk on Dartmoor, or What are the best Dartmoor walks?

Well, we thought it was high time that we compiled this list, Our Top 10 Favourite Dartmoor walks… so far. Just don’t be surprised if you don’t find Cranmere Pool in this list!

You can WATCH THE VIDEO OF OUR TOP 10 DARTMOOR WALKS HERE!! and don’t forget to order You own Dartmoor OS Map if you are going out on the moor. 

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Dartmoor in the mist, Nath at Higher Belstone Tor

10. Belstone

This moderate 9-mile circular walk starts near Okehampton camp and takes us at first to the dual summit of Belstone  Tor and Higher Tor, separated by Irishman’s wall.

From here, an ankle-snapping descent down to the river Taw and a lengthy and disorientating climb back up the Western bank of Cosdon Hill brings us to Cosdon Beacon, home of the first real Summit or Nothing war cry.

A 2km trek across bleak open moorland led us to Little Hound Tor where we took in our first stone circle, before summitting Hound Tor itself (not that Hound Tor).

A quick descent and laborious ascent up to the top of the bleak Steeperton Tor (Nath’s favourite), the last tor of the day, and then its back to the start back via a spider web of tracks.

The Dartmoor fog-shrouded our route, but I’m sure on a clear day the views would be spectacular. If only we had thought to take in Oke Tor Whilst we were there.  

Find the directions of the Belstone Route in the Dartmoor section of our hiking and camping section in the website, or watch the video here (WARNING – the video does contain strong language)

9. Two Bridges/ Wistman’s Wood

Longaford Tor, the Two-Bridges Circular Walk

strenuous 8-mile Dartmoor hike from Two Bridges (which was made all the harder for the excessive amount of weight we decided to carry for our second camp).

Starting just above Two Bridges, it was a morning of constant ascent and Tor bagging. Starting with the humble Crockern Tor, we headed north via Littaford Tor to the mountainous Longaford Tor, where it’s recommended to take a minute or two to take in the views.

A quick north-easterly trek from here to Higher White Tor, and then a break in the constant climbing.

However, the break in the climb is replaced by a squelchy downhill hike across the marshy terrain surrounding the ruins of Browns House, which I found more interesting than Nath did.

Heading West of here another climb to the highest point of the day, the desolate Rough Tor and then more traveling Westward until we reached Devils Tor, home of the impressive Beardown Man standing stone.

A laborious and thankless 2km slog across bleak and tussocky marshland to the trio of Tors that make up Beardown Tors, before heading East, downhill and through some more awful terrain, and across the river to reach the edge of the mysterious Wistman’s Wood, in many ways the highlight of the day and a great way to end the walk.  

You can follow the directions of this walk in our hiking and camping section or watch the video here (WARNING– does contain strong language)

8. Princetown – Foggintor Quarry

Having just been struck by the beast of the East, when we did this moderate 8-mile walk, the wintery landscape made for even more appealing viewing, but this walk covers some great historical landscapes that are the highlight of any Dartmoor Hiking.

Starting in the main carpark at Princetown, we headed out of town, via the famous Dartmoor prison, before heading up to the mast clad tor that is North Hessary Tor, with some fun in the snow on the way.

From here, a south-westerly hike across moorland until we joined the quarry tracks that led us to both Foggintor and Swelltor Quarries. Two great locations for site seers and photographers alike, with the picturesque rock faces and the historical remains of the old buildings.

After a windy yet picturesque track hike away to the south, we made it up to the top of the rocky outcrop of Ingra Tor to take in some views, and then made it over to the Leeden Tor, for a quick shout before we scarpered back to Princetown, escaping the wintery rain.  

You can watch the video of this walk here.

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The view from Sheepstor of the Barren South Moor

7. Burrator

This short 5-mile walk was a great way to ease ourselves back into the hiking after Christmas of 2016.

Starting at the car park south of Burrator, the walk lead us straight alongside the reservoir and gave us impressive views across the water, with the astounding Sheepstor in the background.

After finding our way up through Crofts Plantation, we broke out onto the edge of Peak Hill, where we climbed north up to visit the rock-strewn Sharpitor.

Heading south-east we scrambled up the rocky face of Leather Tor, before descending through what’s known in the trade as a non-descript boulder field, until; we broke out onto the road below.

After following the road until the car park at Narrator Plantation we entered the woodland, weaving through the path until we came out at the base of Sheepstor for the biggest climb of the day up to the Summit. From here, it was steady stomp back to the car via the southern end of the Reservoir.

You can follow the directions for this walk here or watch the video here (WARNING – video may contain strong language)

6. Peter Tavy

Set Tor – unlisted on the OS map

This moderate 9-mile walk was suggested to us by a friend of the show and knowledgeable Dartmoor Tor Bagger, Max.

Beginning the days hike at Smeardon Down Tor, we traveled east into the moors picking up two tors unlisted on OS Maps along the way, Furze Tor and Set Tor.

Following the track until the crossway, we took in the historical site of Stephen’s Grave, another Dartmoor Legend, from where we then veered north, taking a look at the settlements at the base of the hill, before heading east up the hill to take in White Tor.

As we headed south downhill to the river below, we passed by the old tin workings as we circled the stone wall, then headed back up the lengthy bare bank of Roos Tor where the views open up to take in Great StapleGreat Mis and Cox Tor.

A short yomp over to Great Staple Tor before heading back towards the start, journeying north-west between Cox and Roos Tor, taking in Great Combe Tor and the little riverside woodland on the way.  

You can watch the video of this walk here.

Scorhill Stone Circle, Gidleigh

5. Gidleigh

This 7-mile circular takes a look at Dartmoor’s diversity, with open moorland, mountainous tors, historical and ancient sites, woodland walks and winding country lanes upon the itinerary.

After parking at the end of the lane beyond Scorhill Farm, in Gidleigh, the first port of call is Scorhill Stone Circle situated on Gidleigh Common.

Then, heading south-west across the moor, and over the picturesque little clapper bridge to find some stone rows at the southern side of Batworthy, before taking in the first tor of the day, Thornworthy Tor with its stunning views of Fernworthy Forest and reservoir below.

From here a dubious north-east walk across tussocky marshland over to Middle Tor, and then to the lone stone mound of Kestor Rock, with its rock basin.

Head just west of north taking a look at the remains of the round pound on the way back to the Gidleigh Park forestry, and then to Gidleigh Tor which stands hidden among the trees. Leave the forestry from the northern end and its a walk back along lanes to the car.

You can watch the video of this walk here.

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4. Merrivale

Nath on top of the rocks, Great Staple Tor, Merrivale

Heading towards Great Staple Tor from an alternative route, this walk may be a shorter walk than many at 6 miles, but it is challenging, with plenty to see.

Parking on the B3357, at the carpark opposite the lane that leads to Great Mis Tor, we start by walking along the south side of the road, taking in the impressive Merrivale Stone Row. 

Then, crossing the road and climbing up to Middle Staple Tor, the first of many impressive Tors that this area has to offer. From here it’s down into the valley past the small pond heading to Cox Tor, with its panoramic views and its undulating terrain.

From here, its back towards Great Staple Tor where the many rock formations and towers make for interesting exploration, and then its a hop across to Roos Tor.

Next, one more valley to ascend and a river crossing before the long slog up to the top of the mighty Great Staple Tor, another large tor with lots to see, and the location of our first wild camp. To finish, its a trip down the dusty road via Little Staple Tor on the way back to the car park.  

You can find this route in the Camping and Hiking Page of our web site or you can watch the video here. (WARNING – the video may contain strong language)

Leaving Yes Tor, on Dartmoor’s bleak north moor

3. High Willhays

Once again in the bleak but beautiful north moor, this 7 1/2mile walk was recommended to us by a viewer, Andrew Ross.

Starting by the ford past Okehampton Tor, this walk firstly takes us down into the scenic valley of the Red-a-Ven Brook before skirting around the hills of Longstone and Homerton which overlooking the Okehampton railway viaduct and Meldon reservoir.

From here we found the West Oakment river and followed it south towards Black-a-tor-copse, the second stunted oak woodland to feature in our top ten. Above is Black Tor, which is worth a look, but we had already visited that on a previous hike and so we just followed the river until we were past the wood.

When we decided to head up, scrambling over the rocks and taking a 1km climb up to High Willhays, the highest point south of the Brecon Beacons. After taking in High Willhays, it was a quick march across to the more impressive Yes Tor, where the views are superb.

From Yes Tor, we headed north-east, down across some marshy ground towards West Mill Tor, where we decided to camp just below. In the morning, I explored the rest of this route on my own, at first visiting the military range firing loop railway, and then hopping over to Rowtor where I was lucky enough to catch some fantastic cloud inversion.  

You can watch the video of this walk here.

2. Hound Tor

Bowermans Nose,

7 miles of stunning south Dartmoor landscape explored in this walk, and our second visit to this area was perhaps more successful than our first.

Starting in the car park beneath Hound Tor, we first head north towards Manaton CP and then cut onto the moorland to find the famous Bowerman’s Nose, the tall granite figure, a hunter that legend has it was turned to stone by a witch.

Next we cut across to Jay’s Grave another Dartmoor legend, before taking a back lane route through Natworthy before cutting up the hillside between Honeybag Tor and Chinkwell Tor, taking in both and the stunning views from each.

The views are absolutely glorious in this area as we drop into Bell Tor on the way to Bonehill Rocks, before cutting back across the moor to the start, this time climbing up and taking Hound Tor before the day’s walking comes to a head.

You can watch the video here.

1. Great Links Tor

The lads of Summit or Nothing summiting Great Links Tor

This 8 and a half mile walk starts at the Church Carpark at Sourton (Opposite the the Highwayman pub) and starts with a strenuous but fun scramble up the face of the Sourton Tors, before heading for a lengthy 3km stroll across featureless Corn Ridge (as complete amateurs we missed out on Branscombe’s Loaf).

Eventually we met the unimposing Kitty Tor, a small slab of granite hardly worth the trek. But from here on in, the walk improves as we head across to the towering Great Links Tor, a battleship shaped Tor and the highest part of our day. The views from here are among the best that Dartmoor’s North moor has to offer, and we can easily assess the rest of your journey from here.

Heading next over to Brat Tor, and/or Widgery Cross, where views of the Willsworthy area come into play, we then crossed back to Arms Tor before the 5km walk back across to Sourton via Great Nodden. When back at Sourton we can look back across the entire route before the scramble back down to the car.

You can follow the directions for this walk in the route guide here or watch the video here.

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