By: Blonde Two
When stunning scenery and interesting landscapes were handed out, I think Devon was either at the front of the queue or using subtle bribery techniques. Whichever happened, one of Devon’s gems is Dartmoor National Park. Dartmoor has a bit of a reputation for being mean, moody and downright dangerous, and it can be all of those things, but it is also a landscape of pastoral peace and remains a place that I would recommend anyone to visit at least once. Here are my five quick answers to the question, ‘Why visit Dartmoor?’
Dartmoor walks can take you from roadside car park through green pastures and up into wild country in the space of a couple of hours. All you need is a map and a compass and some great ideas for routes (see our Dartmoor Walks or take a look at the routes on OS Maps).
Teign, Lyd, Dart. Avon, Erme, Bovey. Plym, Walkham, Okement. Meavy, Taw, Tavy. This isn’t all of Dartmoor’s rivers but read the list out loud and you will get a sense of the poetry that flows from the moor’s many waterways, into hearts and often onto paper. Whether you like squelching around finding a source, dangling fingers in a brook or swimming in deep pools, Dartmoor’s rivers have something for everyone and, if you follow them up, offer all kinds and levels of adventure.
I know, it does rain on Dartmoor, a lot of the time. In fact, during the winter, Princetown has around 18 rain days per month. Once you fall in love with Dartmoor (and you will when you visit) you will learn to love the rain and overdo the appreciation when the sun shines. Blonde One always says that she loves walking in the rain and I know what she means, there is nothing like the feeling of rain on your face and the sense of being ‘out there doing it’ to make you feel alive.
Dartmoor isn’t the culinary capital of the South West (and neither is Bristol because Bristol isn’t in the South West) but it does know how to look after hungry walkers and how to look after them well. If cooked breakfasts, big mugs of tea, fabulous sausages, chips with cheese on, and enormous pies are your thing, you will enjoy eating on Dartmoor. If not, we also have some rather lovely hotels that will sort your waistline out with a delicious cream tea (cream first). The other advantage to Dartmoor is that we have our own Dartmoor Brewery, home of the most excellent Jail Ale and even our own Dartmoor Whisky Distillery (first whisky casked in February 2018).
Whether you like waking up to cuckoos, listening to skylarks as they soar or watching foals frolick in the evening sun, Dartmoor always has a bit of wildlife waiting just around the next corner to surprise and delight you. Dartmoor is a high upland environment, which may seem harsh to us humans but suits a whole range of rare species. Amongst my Dartmoor favourites are the ash black slug (up to 20 cm in length), the cuckoo (naughty and with a phenomenal travel habit) and the blue ground beetle (eats ash black slugs)!
I promised you five reasons to visit Dartmoor so I have to stop there without mentioning the people, the tors, the history, the legends, the mystery or the Dartmoor wild camping. As you can see, come rain or shine, there are plenty of reasons to visit Dartmoor… I expect you to do so very soon!
If you haven’t looked at the Visit Dartmoor website yet, you really should. As well as places to stay on Dartmoor (including Dartmoor campsites), things to do on Dartmoor and top pubs on Dartmoor, the Visit Dartmoor website gives loads of useful information about Dartmoor activities, Dartmoor places and more Dartmoor walks than you could possibly complete in even 10 visits.