Dartmoor is a National Park in Devon, England which was founded in 1951 . It is a purple, heather clad moorland with wide open landscapes, rushing rivers and obscure stone tors shaping the landscape of Dartmoor. But that is just for starters. There are rolling valleys, bogs and wetland, waterfalls and well trodden paths, ancient, eerie forests and lonely ruins. Dartmoor can be ominous, challenging, extreme, welcoming, heart warming; breathtaking, ever changing, the landscape is alive and evolving.
Dartmoor is not just about ponies and cream teas or even the tors, its history and heritage. It is about getting out onto Dartmoor and experiencing it for yourself and exploring its many facets. You can explore Dartmoor on foot, bike or even horseback, and you do not need to bring your own. Dartmoor is circled by the Dartmoor Way cycling and walking route which is just a couple of miles from Woodland Springs. There are about 47,000 hectares of open access land (about 50% of the Dartmoor National Park) with some 450 miles (730 km) of public rights of way. There are many walks on Dartmoor from circular to the longer more challenging ones. The Dartmoor National Park Authority organises guided walks as do other organisations and people.
You can see it all from rare birds and butterflies, Neolithic monuments and ancient woodland, to tradition, folklore and farming on horseback. You can find many arts, all things organic, a haven for literary greats and explorers.
Dartmoor has the largest number of archaeological remains in Europe. So if it is stone circles, menhirs, stone crosses and ancient villages that get you excited, Dartmoor is the place to be. In fact, it is where Time Team were unearthing all manner of interesting artefacts. To find out more and to understand what makes Dartmoor tick, check out this on Dartmoor archaeology.
Dartmoor is home to all manner of wildlife, from Dartmoor ponies wandering the moor, to the rare marsh fritillery butterfly and even the occaisional “Beast of Dartmoor”.
Why not go to the Dartmoor Zoo the subject of the film “We bought a zoo”. Other film locations include the “War Horse locations, many versions of “The Hounds of the Baskervilles” , a 1995 episode of Dr Who called “The Sontaran Experiment” at Hound Tor and Headland Warren, Eastenders in 1999 when Hound Tor became Kendrick Tor and many TV documentaries and other programs.
Do you want to know more about the people of Dartmoor? Where did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle base The Hound of the Baskervilles? What inspired Seth Lakeman’s songs? Did Agatha Christie write her novels on Dartmoor? All this and more can be found on our Arts & Literature page.
And lastly, you might want to know more about the Dartmoor Pony. A common sight on the moor, the Dartmoor Ponies are as much a part of what makes Dartmoor tick as the standing stones and the people. If you want to find out more take a look at this Dartmoor Ponies page or at the Dartmoor Pony Society pages.
If you want to know more about Dartmoor, take a look at the many factsheets on the DNPA’s website or the official Dartmoor Tourism Website or just search Google for a topic and add Dartmoor to your search phrase.