10 of the best Dartmoor walks

Walking, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Ruth on 12th July 2021

Dartmoor walks

With miles upon miles of gorse-speckled open moorland, over 150 imposing granite tors and acres of lush river valleys fringed with ancient woodland, Dartmoor National Park is a wild and untamed landscape that begs to be explored on foot.

If you’re heading to the South West on a walking holiday, Dartmoor is home to some of the finest walks in Devon. Whether you’re looking for an accessible walk with the kids or want to test yourself on the highest tors, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best Dartmoor National Park walks to help you discover Devon and its largest moor.

Read on to discover the national park’s best routes or click below to browse our full range of cosy Dartmoor cottages.

Dartmoor cottages


Hound Tor

Hound Tor walk

One of the most famous attractions on Dartmoor, Hound Tor reputedly inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write Hound of the Baskervilles. On this walk, you’ll also see Bowerman’s Nose – a granite stack that legend says is a man who disrupted a coven of witches who turned him to stone in punishment – as well as Jay’s Grave, a legendary spot with its own grisly story. This is one of the best Dartmoor walks for taking in the mythology of this bewitching national park.

Distance: 7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Halshanger Barn, Ashburton | sleeps 4 + 1 dog


Yes Tor and High Willhays

High Willhays

You can’t come to Dartmoor on a walking holiday and not tackle the national park’s highest tor; this walk not only passes High Willhays but the second-highest tor – Yes Tor – too. Standing at 621 metres above sea level, High Willhays is the highest point in southern England and the views from the top are unparalleled. This route also has the bonus of passing the impressive Meldon Viaduct, a 19th-century engineering triumph.

Distance: 8.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Tor Lodge, Dartmoor National Park | sleeps 4 + 1 dog


South Tawton

Four Villages circular walk

Take in four of Dartmoor’s prettiest villages on this circular walk. Begin at either South Zeal, South Tawton, Belstone or Sticklepath and follow the route, stopping at one of the pubs on the way if you need some refreshments. As well as walking through these medieval villages, on the way, you’ll see Belstone Commons and the Belstone Cleave river valley, alongside an abundance of nature.

Distance: 6.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Rock Barn, South Tawton | sleeps 10 + 2 dogs


Avon Dam

River Avon accessible walk

If you’re looking for short walks on Dartmoor for those with little legs or for people who are less mobile, this is a great route. Part of Dartmoor’s ‘Miles without Stiles’, this short walk has a gentle gradient and a tarmac road so it’s great for pushchairs and wheelchairs, and takes you past some mini waterfalls to the breathtaking Avon Dam. Make sure you pack a picnic as there are some scenic places to stop.

Distance: 1.5 miles but can be made shorter

Difficulty: Easy

Stay nearby: Kingfisher Lake, Totnes | sleeps 4


Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge waterfall trail

One of the best Dartmoor walks around, this National Trust route will take you into Lydford Gorge on the way to see the incredible Whitelady Waterfall as it plunges more than 28 metres to the ground. It’s particularly lovely in the autumn, as you can walk through ancient oak woodland shrouded in seasonal golds. Just make sure you pack sturdy footwear – the watery woodland means it can get slippery underfoot.

Distance: 1 mile

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Vale House, Dartmoor | sleeps 12 + 2 dogs


Cadover Bridge

Cadover Bridge

Challenge yourself with one of the best Dartmoor circular walks – this route follows the River Plym through ancient woodland and over the historic Cadover Bridge. Halfway around, scramble to the top of Dewerstone Rock to be rewarded by incredible views over the stark, open moorland. If you’re feeling brave, take a dip in one of the 32 pools on this stretch of river – a great way to cool off on a hot summer’s day.

Distance: 3.5 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Stay nearby: The Moray, Dartmoor | sleeps 4


Haytor

Haytor audio walk

Envelop your senses on this immersive walk, taking you to one of the most well-loved granite tors in the national park: Haytor. Begin at the Haytor Information Centre and follow the audio-guided walk, where tracks are played as you reach key locations on the lengthy route. It’s one of the best ways to not only soak up the iconic scenery but the fascinating cultural history of this landscape too.

Distance: 6.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Haytor Vale Lodge, Dartmoor | sleeps 4 + 2 dogs


Becky Falls

Becky Falls

Becky Falls is a popular Dartmoor tourist attraction, culminating in a dramatic 20-metre waterfall. There are three walks that take you to the impressive force, so you can pick the one to suit your ability and fitness level. The moderate, ‘red’ route will take you on a full circuit of the site and involves some boulder clambering before you’ll come across the falls themselves, but there is an easier route for little legs which contains a fun nature trail.

Distance: Around 2 miles

Difficulty: Moderate, with some clambering

Stay nearby: Bluebells Cottage at Greatrock Farm, Bovey Tracey | sleeps 2 + 2 dogs


Cosdon Beacon

Okehampton Range circular walk

If you’re looking for serious Dartmoor hikes, this walk is for you. Beginning at Okehampton, you’ll roam the national park taking in sights such as the Okement River, Winter Tor, Higher Tor, Irishman’s Wall, and Belstone Tor over a range of terrain. It culminates at Cosdon Beacon, which offers excellent views on a clear day. As this walk crosses the Okehampton Artillery Range, make sure you check the firing times before you set off.

Distance: 8.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Dartmoor Lodge, Dartmoor | sleeps 6 + 1 dog


Burrator Reservoir

Burrator Reservoir

One of the most scenic Dartmoor walking routes, this walk showcases the beauty of Burrator Reservoir and takes you past three tors: Sheepstor, Leather Tor and Sharpitor, with incredible panoramic views ready to be enjoyed. The route also goes through woodland, across open moorland, and involves a few scrambles, so it’s a great all-round Dartmoor walk with spectacular scenery at any time of year.

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Poppy Suite On Dartmoor, Yelverton | sleeps 2


Dartmoor holidays

Dartmoor is a wonderful place for a walking holiday, and we have a wide range of cottages within the national park where you can put your feet up and unwind after a long day on the moor and tors. Read our full guide to the national park to see what else you can discover on your holiday. 

Whether you’re visiting alone, as a couple, as a family or with a group, take a look at our full collection of Dartmoor cottages below and start planning your next walking holiday.

Dartmoor cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.