Crossing Dartmoor in 2 Days

Published by niklas , 20 February 2011, 20h54.

Region: World » United Kindom » Devon » Devon
Date of the hike:22 July 2010
Hiking grading: T1 - Valley hike
Geo-Tags: GB 
Time: 2 days
Height gain: 700 m 2296 ft.
Height loss: 700 m 2296 ft.
Access to start point:By bus to Yelverton
Access to end point:By bus from Okehampton
Accommodation:campsite in Princetown
Maps:OS active map OL28

I marked the hike as T1, because you will encounter small hills at most. Nevertheless I might advise you in advance: You definitely need a compass to cope with hiking in Dartmoor. There are many occasions on which you will not be able to identify any features on the horizon, just open, flat land in any direction. There are no waymarks and no recognizable paths. You will just have to trust your compass bearing for hours until civilization is in sight. I myself did not recognize any features and relied on my compass from Devil's Tor to High Willhays - that's for about 5 consecutive hours. On the other hand it's a very nice training area for testing your orientation skills.

Being in the vincinity already I crossed Dartmoor in a 2-day-hike. After starting in  Yelverton on the first day I already got caught in the rain just after reaching the outskirts of Dartmoor. I didn't stick to the way in order to get a more thorough impression of the landscape and I must say: it was worth my while. Around the Burrator Reservoir there are dartmoor ponies and some of the greenest places I've ever come across. The scrub wasn't easy to cross, though. Passing over a couple of tors, which are basically small and not too steep hills with rocks as hilltops, I hiked on a parallel course to the road in the direction of Princetown. After 4.5h I pitched my tent on the local campsite at the big crossroads. It is operated by the local pub where you're welcome to take a drink in the evening. Breakfast in the morning is provided for a fee, you can even choose between English and continental.

The night proved to be rainy as well. In better weather I started in the direction of Okehampton on the second day. I soon crossed the border to the Merrivale Range. This is one of the three military training areas in northern dartmoor. They might practice maneuvers shooting blanks at any time. When using live ammunition, red flags or red lights are displayed on signposts surrounding the area, and additionally guards monitor the area, so you don't get shot accidentially. Information on training schedule is available on the internet (try google), on a hotline (I misplaced the number) and in the Princetown tourist information as well. They plan about one week in advance.

I crossed a stream and mounted Black Dunghill. Next came Devil's Tor, where I noticed not only sheep but a large cattle herd. The cows were quite unintimidated and kept their place on the top of the hill, paying special attention to the younger ones. The following part of land in the north is basically a flat area with no features to assist your orientation, so you better have map + compass ready. The ground is muddy at times, but you rarely sink in deeper than to your knee, especially if you pay attention to where you're stepping. I passed Cut Hill and the border of Okehamton Range and then, heading north by relying on my compass bearing, caught sight of High Willhays hours later. That tor is in sight of civilization already and the furthest, most people come hiking into dartmoor. Passing over Yes Tor and West Mill Tor I reached Okehamton 9h after leaving Princetown and took the bus back home.

By the way: To recognize a stone row or a hut circle, you should have a lot of imagination. Most marked areas just show an irregular accumulation of rocks.

Hike partners: niklas


Slideshow Open in a new window · Open in this window

19 Jun 14
Yes Tor · a1
28 Apr 11
Zum Beardown Man im Dartmoor · zaufen

Comments (1)

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marvel says: Cool stuff!
Sent 21 February 2011, 21h27
Dartmoor is definitely underrepresented on this site. A great tour, thanks for the report!

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