Wild, rugged and romantic
Dartmoor National Park in the South West of England is the most southerly of Britain’s National Parks. It’s home to 368 square miles of ruggedly beautiful moorland, ancient ruins, wooded valleys and magnificent wildlife.
Like history? Walk around the moors for a while and it won’t be long before you come across stone circles, menhirs, stone crosses and ancient villages. There are also Neolithic remains, the UK’s largest collection of Bronze Age structures and hundreds of distinctive stone tors scattered across the landscape.
The combination of ancient landmarks, wild landscape and cool and wet climate around Dartmoor makes for an almost mythical atmosphere – it’s easy to see why this was the inspiration for the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles.
But this incredible landscape isn’t just there to be looked at, it’s also the perfect place to get active. Explore the moors on foot with a challenging trek or relaxing guided tour; hop on your bike and take on the quiet forest tracks or rugged off-road routes; take to the River Dart in a canoe or ride out onto the open moor on horseback.
Speaking of horses, keep your eyes peeled for the Dartmoor Ponies that graze the moors. Ponies have lived on Dartmoor since the Bronze Age, and they are as much of a local landmark as the tors, bogs and swirling mist.
1. Get your walking boots on and climb High Willhays, the highest point in Dartmoor.
2. Visit the famous Becky Falls, set within a spectacular ancient valley.
3. Spend the night under the stars, wild camping on the moors.
4. Explore the remains of Okehampton Castle, once the largest castle in Devon.
5. Treat yourself to a slap-up meal at the Michelin starred Gidleigh Park.