Dartmoor is probably most famous for its National Park, and the number of appearances the bleak and occasionally desolate landscape has appeared in works of fiction from Agatha Christie to Sherlock Holmes. This is the landscape made famous by the Hound of the Baskervilles and little of the landscape here has changed since described by Conan Doyle in the pages of his famous mystery story. However there is much more to Dartmoor than the landscape. There is a wealth of wildlife waiting to be discovered as well as centuries of history to uncover. When planning a visit to this part of Devon be sure to include some time out on the moors, but also remember to tear yourself away from the somewhat brooking landscape to immerse yourself in some of the other enjoyable activities and attractions that the area has to offer.
Enjoying the Great Outdoors
The moors are famous not only for the landscape that they provide with their dramatic and mysterious Tors, but also for the ponies that inhabit them. The moors have a history which has been dated back to its earliest Neolithic inhabitants. They are filled with secret places which make you feel as though time has stood still as the centuries have revolved around them. The people that live here and work on the moors are just as engaged with their surrounding as the visitors that come to explore the vast expanse of the moors. All that come here, live here and work here see the moors as a living, breathing thing which needs to be cared for and preserved. You will hear tales of ancient myths and legends relating to the moors which add to the mystery of the place. Visit the ancient stone circles and crosses that litter the landscape and explore the ancient villages which retain their old world charm. Special conservation areas harbour plenty of wildlife from the beautiful ponies to delicate butterflies.
Things to See and Do
The landscape of Dartmoor is dotted with villages. Visit Chagford for its art and enjoy the markets at Moretonhampstead and Tavistock where you can not only buy the very best in locally produced food, but also find craft items and unique gifts. Much of the local produce that the moorland farms produce is sold to the inns and hostelries that find their home on Dartmoor. Needless to say, the food that you find here is truly exceptional. Choose from traditional rustic inns and a drink by the fireside or opt for something a little more elegant and enjoy a fine dining experience, all accompanied by the stunning backdrop of the moors.
This is also a place where extreme sports are very popular. The River Dart is widely regarded as offering some of the best water in the UK for canoeists, while the rugged terrain of the moors is popular with cyclists, climbers, ramblers and yompers all looking for a challenge. Dartmoor Zoo is a more traditional family attraction and you can also enjoy the beautiful Devonshire coastline with its welcoming sandy beaches and seaside attractions.