Devon – Dartmoor National Park

Growing up in UK, I had heard lots of stories about Dartmoor, the large area of somewhat desolate moorland in Southern Devon. It was famous for its wild ponies and craggy landscape, which I recall was used extensively for military and non-military survival training.

The moors contain UK’s largest area of granite, with much of Dartmoor covered in exposed granite peaks, known locally as “tors“. As we discovered, the area is also susceptible to abundant rainfall, resulting in extensive areas of bogs and peat. Granite and bogs, an interesting combination of 2 extremes.

Therefore, this was another area of UK, which I had not previously seen, that I was really looking forward to visiting.

On day 1, we visited the coast in the immediate vicinity of our condo, so for day 2, we headed inland to explore the wild terrain of Dartmoor National Park. With rain forecast, I planned a predominantly driving route through the moors, so hopefully we could experience a variety of the local scenery.

Departing Newton Abbott, we headed the short distance to Bovey Tracey, which was the closest entrance to the Moors. The first planned destination was Moretonhampstead and rather than using the A382, we navigated along the back roads via Lustleigh and Sanduck.

Full canopied single track road

Being on the edge of the moors, this area had an abundance of trees, on some rather steep slopes. The photo above was taken on one of the rare straight and fairly level stretches of road. Being mostly single track roads, it just wasn’t prudent to stop for photos on some of the more challenging sections.

Single track lane with hedges on both sides

Arriving in Moretonhampstead, a market town at the NE edge of the moors, we found a parking lot just outside downtown, so we parked the car and headed into town. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a market that day, so we wandered through some of the shops, then stopped at the Central Cafe, for a pot of tea and light lunch.

First sighting of the Dartmoor wild horses

Departing Moretonhampstead we took the B3212, which heads SW across the moors towards Two Bridges. This is when we spotted the wild horses, so like most others, we pulled over and got the camera ready.

 

Wild horses at side of road

Must be a local, as they didn’t stop to view the horses

While photographing the horses, it started with a light drizzle, but shortly after returning to the car, the heavens opened and it poured for the remainder of the day. As we headed down the B3212, the arable fields transitioned into the traditional moorlands, with a number of sheep grazing at the side of the road.

We had planned to stop at the National Park Visitor Centre in Postbridge, but the rain was pounding down and we had an aversion to getting soaked. After completing the Two Bridges/Princetown triangle we headed back on the B3357/B3387, passing Saddle Tor, Haytor Rocks and Haytor Visitor Centre. Again, the rain precluded any exploring and getting decent photos.

While the rain precluded some exploring, we still enjoyed our trip through Dartmoor and saw a couple of the granite rocks and moorland.

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