15 Best Things To Do In Dartmoor National Park, England

15 Best Things To Do In Dartmoor National Park, England

By will

Dartmoor National Park in England is an incredible place to explore, full of stunning natural beauty and a variety of activities for everyone.

From rock climbing and mountain biking to horse riding and clay pigeon shooting, Dartmoor National Park has something for everyone looking for an exciting outdoor adventure.

Not only that, but you can also explore ancient woodlands, visit local markets, and enjoy a picnic.

In this article, I’m going to highlight the best 15 things to do in Dartmoor National Park to help you make the most of your visit.

Rock Climbing

Haytor Rocks

Rock climbing in Dartmoor National Park is an exhilarating experience, with its stunning views and challenging ascents! As one of the most popular activities in the area, there are plenty of places to climb, from the granite tors of Haytor Rocks to the steep cliffs of Hound Tor.

Whether you’re an experienced climber looking for a challenge, or a beginner just wanting to give it a try, Dartmoor National Park has something to offer every level of climber. The park is also home to some of the best climbing guides in the UK, so if you’re looking for an experienced mentor to help you get started, you won’t have to look far.

The variety of terrain and difficulty levels available at Dartmoor National Park make it a great place to climb and experience the outdoors. There are plenty of easy climbs for those just starting out, as well as more challenging routes for those looking for a tough workout.

As you climb, you’ll be able to take in some of the most breathtaking views in England, with the moorland stretching as far as the eye can see. Whether you’re an experienced climber or just looking to try something new, you’ll find plenty of exciting routes to explore in Dartmoor National Park.

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking
Photo by River Dart Country Park

Experience the thrilling sensation of mountain biking across the wild terrain of Dartmoor, a perfect way to explore the wild beauty of the area. With its vast expanses of heathland, moorland, and rolling hills, Dartmoor National Park is an ideal destination for mountain biking.

The terrain is both challenging and rewarding, with trails that traverse a variety of landscapes and provide stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The park is home to a variety of mountain biking trails, ranging from the beginner-friendly low-level routes to more technical and demanding trails. There are trails suitable for all levels of rider and the trails are well-maintained to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

The park also offers a number of mountain bike workshops and group rides, which are a great way to improve your skills and meet fellow mountain bikers. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, come and explore the wild beauty of Dartmoor National Park by mountain bike!

Hiking

Hiking
Photo by Dartmoor

Embark on a breathtaking journey through the stunning landscape of Dartmoor – hike around its rolling hills and heathland to uncover its wild beauty!

With over 450 square miles of moorland, Dartmoor National Park provides an abundance of diverse and exciting hiking options. From the iconic tors and granite clitter, to the wild ponies and grazing sheep, to the stunning array of flora and fauna, there’s something for everyone.

Take in the fresh air and spectacular views of the moors, from small meandering walks to challenging hikes, with many routes to choose from. With a huge selection of trails, you can either choose a traditional hike or create your own path.

Enjoy the peace and beauty of the traditional landscapes, with a variety of sights to take in, such as rivers, streams, foaming waterfalls, cascades, ancient monuments, and much more. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, Dartmoor National Park is the perfect place to explore.

Horse Riding

Take a unique journey into Dartmoor’s wild beauty and explore its rolling hills and heathland on horseback!

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Horse riding is a great way to experience the beauty of Dartmoor National Park. Many trails are open to riders, allowing you to discover Dartmoor’s stunning landscape in a way that simply isn’t possible on foot.

There are routes to suit all abilities and preferences, from gentle rides through the rolling hills and heathland to more challenging rides over the open moorland. For the experienced rider, there are also a number of jumping courses, allowing you to experience the thrill of the chase!

If you don’t have your own horse, there are a number of horse riding establishments in the area that can provide you with the steed and equipment you need to explore the park. Guided rides are also available, allowing you to make the most of your time in the park and ensuring you don’t get lost.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, Dartmoor has something for everyone. So why not saddle up and take a journey into Dartmoor’s wild beauty?

Clay Pigeon Shooting

For a thrilling adventure, head to Dartmoor and try your hand at clay pigeon shooting! If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, this is the activity for you.

Clay pigeon shooting is an activity that has long been a tradition in England, and Dartmoor National Park is no exception. The park provides a great setting for the activity, with plenty of open space and stunning natural beauty.

You’ll get the chance to test your shooting skills and accuracy, while enjoying the picturesque scenery. The activity is suitable for everyone, from novices to experienced shooters.

You’ll be able to take part in either informal or official competitions, which will provide a great opportunity to meet new people and have some fun. The activity is also a great way to learn more about safety and responsible gun handling.

So, if you’re looking for something exciting and different to do in Dartmoor, clay pigeon shooting is definitely worth a try!

Wild Camping

Soak up the beauty of Dartmoor by wild camping under the stars! With its vast open spaces and stunning landscapes, Dartmoor National Park in England is the perfect place to get away from it all with a wild camping experience.

Wild camping is a great way to get close to nature and enjoy the beauty of the area without the distraction of modern amenities.

Wild camping is allowed in Dartmoor National Park, but it’s important to be aware of the guidelines that are in place to protect the area and its wildlife. It’s important to be respectful of the local people and their land, so it’s best to camp away from roads and settlements.

Be sure to bring all the necessary camping gear and supplies, and don’t forget to clean up after yourself.

After setting up camp, take the time to explore the area and enjoy the stunning views, whether it be a hike, a bike ride, or a leisurely stroll.

Wild camping in Dartmoor National Park is a unique and rewarding experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Fishing

Dartmoor’s rivers and streams offer a peaceful escape, where you can relax and enjoy the thrill of fishing. With its stunning landscapes and abundance of wildlife, Dartmoor is the perfect place to cast a line.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, the park offers plenty of opportunities to get your catch. The rivers and streams are home to a variety of fish, including brown trout, sea trout, salmon, and grayling.

If you’re looking to try your hand at fly fishing, you’ll find plenty of great spots to cast a line. The rivers and streams offer plenty of deep pools, slow-moving waters, and fast-flowing currents to provide a challenge. You can also try your hand at lure fishing, with plenty of opportunities to catch a variety of fish.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful day of relaxation or an exciting challenge, you’ll find plenty of great spots for fishing in Dartmoor National Park.

Bird Watching

Take a peaceful walk around Dartmoor and you’ll discover a paradise of wildlife – perfect for bird watching!

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On the moor, you can spot a range of birds, from dartford warblers to buzzards, kestrels, skylarks, and peregrine falcons.

Whether you’re an experienced twitcher or a casual bird watcher, there are plenty of opportunities to observe these creatures in their natural habitat.

The best time to spot the most birds is in the summer months when the moor is alive with a variety of feathered friends.

But you can find something all year round, from the wintering birds of prey, such as the hen harrier, to the wood warblers, stonechats, and whitethroats that call Dartmoor their home.

The area is also home to a number of rarer species, such as the nightjar and the Dartford warbler, which can be found in some areas of the moor.

So keep your eyes peeled!

Photography

From the rolling hills to the lush valleys, Dartmoor offers a stunning backdrop for some breathtaking photography. With its rugged landscape, unique wildlife, and an abundance of ancient monuments, Dartmoor is an ideal destination for photographers of all levels.

Whether you’re looking to capture the stunning views of the high moor or the quaint villages of the low moor, Dartmoor has plenty of opportunity to capture some incredible shots. The National Park is also home to some of the most stunning wildlife in the region, from wild ponies and sheep to buzzards soaring overhead.

With the abundance of flora and fauna, you’ll have plenty of subject matter to work with while you explore the moor. The National Park is also home to some fascinating historical monuments, from Stone Age burial tombs to medieval castles, offering plenty of interesting and unique photo ops.

Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, Dartmoor National Park is a great place to explore and capture some amazing shots.

Kayaking

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Dartmoor National Park from a unique perspective by kayaking the scenic rivers and streams. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced kayaker, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy this unique experience.

Start your adventure in the heart of the national park and explore the magnificent rivers and streams that meander through its valleys and woodlands. The wide variety of wildlife you’ll encounter along the way will make it even more memorable.

As you paddle along the rivers and streams, you’ll be able to take in the stunning views of the lush green hills and dramatic moorland. Keep an eye out for wild ponies and other animals that call the park home.

You’ll also be able to explore hidden coves and take in the quaint villages that line the banks of the rivers. With its stunning scenery and abundance of wildlife, kayaking is the perfect way to explore Dartmoor National Park.

Archery

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Dartmoor with an archery session. This allows you to hone your skills while admiring the stunning surroundings. Spend your day in a picturesque location while improving your bowmanship and experiencing the joy of hitting your targets.

Archery in Dartmoor is especially popular for those looking to combine a leisurely activity with the chance of exploring the National Park. The terrain is varied and includes everything from moorland and river valleys to ancient woodlands and open countryside.

The National Park is home to a number of archery clubs and courses. Here, you can hire equipment and receive expert tuition from qualified instructors. There are also plenty of opportunities to practice your archery skills in the wild. Many of the public footpaths offer excellent shooting locations.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced archer, Dartmoor provides a unique and exciting opportunity to practice your craft in a beautiful and peaceful location.

Visiting Historic Sites

Discover the centuries-old history of Dartmoor National Park as you explore its many historic sites.

Take a step back in time as you visit the ancient ruins of Grimspound, an Iron Age settlement nestled on the edge of the moor. The 24 circular dry stone huts, surrounded by a defensive wall, are thought to have been inhabited by the prehistoric people of the area.

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Also nearby, you’ll find the remains of the Bronze Age settlement of Merrivale, which consists of several stone rows, a stone circle, and a cairn.

Other historic sites to explore include the iconic Haytor Rocks, where you can marvel at the large granite outcrops overlooking the moor, and the fascinating Chagford Bridge, which has been standing since the 15th century.

Further afield, you can also visit the 13th-century castle of Okehampton or the medieval churches of Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun day out, you won’t be disappointed with all the exciting sites to explore in Dartmoor National Park!

Exploring Ancient Woodlands

Take a walk through Dartmoor’s ancient woodlands to explore the secrets of the moor’s past. The sheer age and beauty of the woodlands is captivating, with trees that are hundreds of years old and lush green moss carpeting the ground.

These ancient woodlands are home to a variety of wildlife, including red deer, badgers, and foxes. The woods provide a sanctuary for these animals, and you may even be lucky enough to spot some of them as you wander through.

The woodlands are also home to a variety of plants and flowers, some of which are unique to Dartmoor. Take time to admire the wildflowers and a range of different species of trees, including oak, ash, and hazel. You may even find some of Dartmoor’s rarest plants, such as the Dartmoor sundew or the Marsh gentian.

Exploring the woodlands is a great way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Dartmoor and discover its secrets.

Visiting Local Markets

Experience a piece of Dartmoor’s history and culture by visiting one of the local markets – you’ll find a variety of unique items, from handmade crafts to locally grown produce.

Here you can find a variety of goods, from the classic Devonshire cream tea, fudge, and cider, to homemade crafts and even local jewelry. You’ll also find a selection of locally grown produce, including the fresh vegetables, fruits, and dairy products that are essential to the traditional Devonshire diet.

You can also take part in some of the unique activities that are often found at the local markets, such as sheep herding and falconry. But if that’s not your thing, you can always watch some of the local bands that perform at some of the markets, or take part in one of the many workshops and classes that are offered.

There’s something for everyone at the local Dartmoor markets, so don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to experience a piece of the local culture.

Enjoying a Picnic

Head to one of the many beautiful spots in Dartmoor National Park to enjoy a picnic with friends and family.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot by a lake, a grassy meadow, or a rocky outcrop with a stunning view, you can find it here.

Pack a picnic lunch from the local markets you visited earlier in the day and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural surroundings.

There’s nothing quite like a sunny day in the park, with the sound of birds singing and the scent of wildflowers in the air.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch on a blanket, or set up a picnic table and gather around for an outdoor feast.

Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the memories!

After the meal, take a walk around the park, explore the trails, and discover hidden gems like ancient stone circles and hidden waterfalls.

Enjoy a day that’s full of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty in Dartmoor National Park.

Conclusion

I’ve had an amazing time exploring Dartmoor National Park. From horse riding and clay pigeon shooting to rock climbing and mountain biking, there’s something here for everyone.

I also enjoyed visiting the historic sites, exploring the ancient woodlands, and indulging in a picnic.

I’m grateful for the chance to experience this beautiful place and all the wonderful things it has to offer. Dartmoor National Park is a must-visit destination for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a day of adventure or a relaxing break, you won’t be disappointed.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get out there and explore!

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.