By: Blonde Two
Bellever Forest on Dartmoor is one of those wonderful outdoor places where, no matter your age, you can find an activity to suit you. You can walk in Bellever Forest, find Bronze Age settlements in Bellever Forest and climb a tor in Bellever Forest. If none of the above appeals, the East Dart River runs alongside Bellever Forest and provides beautiful spots for family picnics, clapper bridge photographs and gentle paddling. One thing you can’t do is wild camping in Bellever Forest as none of the Forest is in the Dartmoor wild camping areas (more about that later) but if you want to stay really nearby, Bellever Youth Hostel is just a short walk away and very comfortable.
Bellever Forest Walks
There are plenty of great Bellever Forest walks and most people like to include a climb up Bellever Tor and a sit by the East Dart River in their visit. Parking is available at Postbridge and near to the YHA Bellever Youth Hostel in Bellever itself. The Bellever car park is nearest to the river (make sure you don’t miss the lovely clapper bridge) but Bellever Tor’s rocky outcrops can be easily accessed from either car park. Bellever is a particularly great place to visit if the weather on the top of the moors is too blustery or wet for enjoyment and too shrouded in cloud for safe navigation. Having said that, navigation through woodland can be trickier than you think so it pays to keep an eye on your map and use a compass where necessary.
The Bronze Age and Bellever Forest
Bellever Forest offers some of the easiest-to-find of Dartmoor’s many Bronze Age sites, remains and ruins. Take a look a the map below (thanks to OS Maps) and you will see a settlement as well as several stone rows, cairns, stone circles and cists (tombs). Even long before this plantation was planted, Bellever really was a special place.
Copyright Ordnance Survey 2019
If you want to find out more about how Bronze-Age people lived on Dartmoor, there are lots of excellent family-friendly resources and activities available at the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Postbridge Visitor Centre. We would recommend a visit there before a short walk out to find your very own Bronze Age location.
Wild Camping and Bellever Forest
Wild camping in Bellever Forest on Dartmoor is not permitted. If you take a look at the Dartmoor National Park Authority wild camping map snippet below, you will see that, although there are purple areas (camping permitted) nearby, none of the forest itself is available for wild camping.
Copyright Ordnance Survey 2019
This doesn’t mean however that you couldn’t include a hike through Bellever Forest in your plans for a wild camping weekend or night at the campsite behind the Plume of Feathers pub in Princetown (great sausages, pies and ale), at the picturesque Huckaby Farm Camp Site (right next to the West Dart River) or in relative luxury in the camping pods at Brimpts Farm Camp Site.
Family Fun in Bellever Forest
Bellever Forest is an easy one to drive past or ignore when you are visiting Postbridge but is one of Dartmoor’s real assets, particularly for families, and has plenty to offer whatever the weather. Look out for beautiful larches (deciduous conifers) in the autumn and make sure you look up on a cloudy day to see the trees shrouded in mist. If you want even more ideas of how to enjoy this unique and special place, drop into the Dartmoor National Park Authority Visitor Centre at Postbridge; they have some great maps and plenty of ideas!
Please note the Postbridge Visitor Centre is closed for building and refurbishment until June 2020. The car park and toilets will remain open.