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10 best hikes in Dartmoor National Park

Horses live in groups: quit horse riding

The best hikes in Dartmoor National Park showcase the very finest of England’s wildest landscape

I’ve always been fond of Dartmoor. I first visited as a child on a family holiday and I’ve returned regularly ever since to scope out the best Dartmoor hikes. Famous for its wild ponies, open moorland and craggy granite tors (free-standing rocky outcrops that rise abruptly from the surroundings), it is one of the few genuinely wild places left in England.

Tucked away in the southwest of the country, Dartmoor National Park is home to some of the finest hiking in England. An array of trails crisscross the wide open vistas and there are several routes to suit different abilities.

Almost half of the park is moorland, making for an eerily beautiful landscape. It’s easy to see why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose Dartmoor for the setting of his classic crime novel The Hound of the Baskervilles featuring the infamous Sherlock Holmes.

Horses live in groups: quit horse riding
DavidYoung/Shutterstock Dartmoor walks are famous for wild ponies and granite tors

Across the moor, picturesque villages and market towns punctuate the landscape providing the perfect excuse to stray from the trail. They come with charming tearooms serving clotted cream teas, traditional pubs brewing cask ales and a wealth of local artisan stores.

Dartmoor National Park is one of England’s premier hiking destinations, supported by excellent infrastructure and a wealth of accommodation options. Whether you opt for camping, glamping or holiday cottages in Dartmoor, there is a plethora of trails to choose from.

Best hikes in Dartmoor National Park

We’ve handpicked the best hikes in Dartmoor National Park including gentle circular strolls as well as more challenging long-distance trails. From rolling moorland topped with tors to babbling brooks in ancient woods, there are walks in Dartmoor to suit everyone.

1. Lydford Gorge

Distance: 4.2km (2.6mi)
Duration: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Lydford Gorge is a short but popular Dartmoor walk. The deepest river gorge in southwest England runs from the bubbling Devil’s Cauldron whirlpool down to the dramatic 30m-high White Lady waterfall.

Lydford Gorge is one of the best hikes in Dartmoor National Park Lydford Gorge is one of the best hikes in Dartmoor National Park
marcin jucha/Shutterstock Lydford Gorge is a popular walk

The winding route follows the ravine, flanked by dripping rock faces clad in moss, and reveals another side of Dartmoor away from the celebrated tors and moorland. From mid-April, the bluebells are out in force.

A mix of paths, wooden…

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