Exploring Dartmoor's Hidden Trails: A Guide for Walkers and Cyclists
When you think of Dartmoor, you think of vibrant wildlife, enchanting views, and historic buildings and sites. By far the best way to experience all that Dartmoor is to walk or cycle through it and take in the sights and sounds of this wonderful pocket of the UK. From long rambles by the tors to short strolls through the towns, there is plenty on offer for those who enjoy a stroll in the hills.
Walking on Tor
Our beloved pub is situated only 7 miles from Brent Tor, making it an ideal location for a long weekend stroll. Brent Tor is situated on the Western edge of Dartmoor, just by the nearby village of Brentor. If you choose to journey to the top of the Tor, you can visit the Church of St Michael which stands 1,100 ft above sea level. First built in the 12th century, it is still a functioning parish to this day and the views from the top of the Tor make for some stunning visuals. Sometimes, it's not about the journey, it's about the destination and Brent Tor more than holds up that side of things.
Dartmoor National Park is famed for its abundance of dog-friendly locations and attractions and this means there are a wide variety of great places to take the dog for a bit of exercise. A popular spot is the nearby Meldon reservoir which features a lovely circular trail which brings you round to the Black Tor. This trail can get quite steep at times but the rewarding views and the chance to spot some unique wildlife make this an ideal spot for birders and dog walkers alike. Though, dogs will need to be on a lead due to nearby farms but this does mean you might see ponies and sheep on your journey.
Granite Way Cycle Paths
If you are looking for somewhere to ride, look no further than the Granite Way located to the north and accessible directly from our own pub car park. The path covers over 11 miles and is a fairly easy ride but it covers many treasured local landmarks from the Museum of Dartmoor Life in Okehampton to Okehampton Castle and Lydford Gorge. On your journey, you’ll even be able to see the Meldon dam making this an ideal getaway for a bit of site-seeing. If you feel more at home on two wheels rather than two feet, you can’t go wrong with this well-maintained trail that connects Okehampton to Lydford.
Is there water on Moors?
One of the best things about Dartmoor is the unique variety of trails and attractions to explore. One of the most unique is unquestionably the Crazywell Pool. The local legends surrounding the pool are vast and numerous with many originally believing that the pond was in fact bottomless. There’s still something a bit ominous about it today with it likely being a flooded mine shaft from years ago. This fantastical element is only strengthened by the trail leading up to the pool features the Norsworthy and Leather Tor bridges, both historic stone bridges that add a sense of vintage wonder, as well as a nearby potato cave, a place where farmers would store crops to keep. All of this adds to the air of the place providing a real fairytale element, though we’d maybe skip on the breadcrumbs. Located down south near Princetown, this is something worth going out of your way for.
The Lydford Gorge is an iconic local landmark for Dartmoor as well as being a National Trust location. The long winding paths with a 30 m high waterfall make this a wonderful place to relax and take pictures. The Gorge is also well-developed with plenty of places to stop and relax including the Devil's Cauldron tea-room which is a popular afternoon tea spot. For those dog lovers amongst us, Lydford Gorge is more than welcoming to 4 legged friends but some sections are restricted and due to safety precautions, leads will be needed at all times. Still, dogs are still welcome in most indoor facilities, allowing you both to rest up and take in the sights. For more information, the National Trust has all of the relevant insight.
If you fancy a truly unique experience, you can also take part in an Alpaca walk run by our friends at Lydford Gorge Alpacas. Quote BEARSLAKE when enquiring and you can save 10%!
After all that walking, you’ll need a place to rest and refuel so feel free to chill with us. Our expertly crafted menu features produce from many of the locations listed above and we also have rooms available for your four-legged companions so everyone can enjoy a good night’s rest. Come see why our vintage location is one of the most photographed pubs in the UK and come experience all that Dartmoor has to offer.