Encounter Walking Holidays UK Logo

1st March 2023 -    We are now fully booked on our coast path routes until the end of May but please send quote requests in for June onwards as there is availability for the rest of the year.  If you do plan to walk between now and June then our inland routes, Coleridge Way, Mendip Way, Saints Way  Dartmoor Way and Two Moors Way still have availability for most dates so please get in touch.

The Dartmoor Way Walking Holiday

Dartmoor Way Walking Plans and Options

One of the main features of the Dartmoor Way is the chance to make short diversions off the route that link in some of the highlights of the moor. Our staff have walked and rewalked The Dartmoor Way to find these “not to be missed” options. To get the most from the Dartmoor Way make sure that whoever organises it for you includes details on how to get to these options -  or ask us for help ! These include -

  • Hounds Tor and Hundator - Climb to one of the best loved Dartmoor Tors and explore the Medieval village below it as part of the walking day to Bovey Tracey
  • The Brentor Ascent - ascend to the breathtaking tiny church set on top of a Tor - iconic and unique
  • Lydford Gorge -  treck through the stunning waterfalls and gorge ravines at Lydford (National Trust)
  • Merrivale - Dartmoors largest range of Stone Circles, Stone Rows and Burial Chambers
  • Castle Drogo - Visit the National Trusts Flagship Devon Castle which clings to the edge of the Teign Gorge


Route Profile for the Dartmoor Way Ivybridge Circle © Printmaps.net

Grade of Walking - 108 mile circular route

Easy Grade - 29 miles

Moderate - 45 miles

Strenuous - 34 miles

More information and examples of these walking grades


Standard, Fast and Relaxed Walkers Itineraries  -  Starting and ending from the Train Station at Ivybridge


  Standard Walkers Route - 9 days and 10 nights  
1 Ivybridge to South Brent - 7 miles Click Here
2 South Brent to Ashburton  - 13.9 miles Click Here
3 Ashburton to Bovey Tracey - 12.4 miles Click Here
4 Bovey Tracey to Moretonhampstead - 10.6 miles Click Here
5 Moretonhampstead to South Zeal - 14.2 miles Click Here
6 South Zeal to Lydford - 15.7 miles Click Here
7 Lydford to Tavistock 12.7 miles Click Here
8 Tavistock to Shaugh Bridge 11.7 miles  Click Here
9 Shaugh Bridge to Ivybridge 12 miles Click Here
  Daily Average 12.2 miles  
  High Moorland Alternative to Buckfastleigh via Princetown  
8A Tavistock to Princetown - 8.6 miles Click Here
9A Princetown to Buckfastleigh 15 miles Click Here


  Fast Walkers Route - 7 days and 8 nights  
1 Ivybridge to Buckfastleigh - 16.3 miles Click Here
2 Buckfastleigh to Bovey Tracey - 16.5 miles Click Here
3 Bovey Tracey to Chagford - 18.5 miles Click Here
4 Chagford to Okehampton - 12.3 miles Click Here
5 Okehampton to Mary Tavy - 14 miles Click Here
6 Mary Tavy to Yelverton - 15.9 miles Click Here
7 Yelverton to Ivybridge - 16.1 miles Click Here
  Daily Average 15.6 miles  
  High Moorland Alternative to Buckfastleigh via Princetown  
6A Mary Tavy to Princetown - 11.6 miles Click Here
7A Princetown to Buckfastleigh 15 miles Click Here


  Relaxed Walkers Route - 12 days and 13 nights  
1 Ivybridge to South Brent - 7 miles Click Here
2 South Brent to Buckfastleigh - 9.4 miles Click Here
3 Buckfastleigh to Haytor - 11.9 miles Click Here
4 Haytor to Bovey Tracey - 5 miles + 4 optional miles for Hounds Tor & Medieval Village Click Here
5 Bovey Tracey to Moretonhampstead 10.6 miles Click Here
6 Moretonhampstead to Chagford - 8 miles Click Here
7 Chagford to Okehampton - 12.3 miles Click Here
8 Okehampton to Lydford - 9.7 miles Click Here
9 Lydford to Tavistock - 12.7 miles Click Here
10 Tavistock to Yelverton 7.6 miles Click Here
11 Yelverton to  Wotter 7.2 miles Click Here
12 Wotter to Ivybridge 12 miles Click Here
  Daily Average 9.5 miles  
  High Moorland Alternative to Buckfastleigh via Princetown  
10A Tavistock to Princetown - 8.6 miles Click Here
11A Princetown to Scorriton - 10.5 miles Click Here
12A Scorriton to Buckfastleigh - 4.5 miles Click Here

Other suggestions on Dartmoor using the Dartmoor Way route

We can arrange a short break over whichever sections you prefer - the following are some examples covering the highlights but talk to us for advice if you have other ideas.
Traverse the Moor West to East - 2 or 3 days - Walking Tavistock to Buckfastleigh via Princetown on the High Moorland Route
Dartmoor Way and Two Moors Way Circle - SOUTH  4-5 days Two Moors Way and Dartmoor Way from Ivybridge via Tavistock
Dartmoor Way and Two Moors Way Circle -  WEST  4-5 days - Two Moors Way and Dartmoor Way from Princetown via Okehampton
View the Dartmoor Way Map to see how these routes connect together

The Dartmoor Way Side Options 

Hounds Tor and Hundator from Haytor Vale Overnight - part of the Haytor Vale to Bovey Tracey Day

Hounds TorAn invigorating climb through the rocks and bracken takes you past Haytor and on to the looming towers of Hounds Tor  – the formation is superb though some locals refuse to visit as its said to be so badly haunted by a pack of black phantom hounds.

Two wide avenues run between one of the moors most stunning Tors a mass of pillars, caves and towering stacks that provided  an otherworldly background for the Sherlock Holmes classic Hound of the Baskervilles as well the 1975 Doctor Who story The Sontaran Experiment.

This is one of the most dramatic and extensive Tors on the moor and a great place for scrambling to the top of the rocks

Hundatora medieval village below Hounds Tor Dartmoor National ParkBeyond the Tor you start to descend to towards to the clear waters of the Becka Brook – on the way you encounter the fascinating remains of the deserted Medieval village of Hundatora.  13th Century doorways, alcoves,  fireplaces and the crumbling remains of huge ovens used to dry Corn poke out of the bracken and gorse here linked by ancient paths and lanes. 
Excavated 50 years ago and left to nature since then, Hundatora was a former settlement of longhouses and outbuildings hurriedly abandoned during the Black Death Plague when over a third of the Devon population were wiped out.

A Castle Drogo Visit -  find it right on The Dartmoor Way route

Castle Drogo Dartmoor National Park Two Moors Way and Dartmoor Way WalksManaged by the National Trust,  Castle Drogo  sits in a commanding position right on the lip of the mighty Teign Gorge just above the Dartmoor Way between Mortenhampstead and Chagford.  
“England’s last Castle” built around 100 years ago its imposing granite ramparts and keeps were built by Julius Drewe a Colonial Tea Magnate who sought out this stunning Dartmoor location for his ambitious project to create an ancestral home to beat all others and it eventually took him over 20 years to complete. 

Teign Gorge Its Medieval and Tudor style is evident throughout as you explore the great halls, kitchens and stately bedrooms of this granite masterpiece.  Surreal uber Kitsch relics from the turn of the Century contrast with the Jacobean architecture – have  you ever seen an electric table cloth before?   Outside get lost in grandiose gardens of Rhododendrons that lead to Croquet Lawns, miniature rose gardens and hidden Victorian Wendy Houses – the whole thing is like something from Alice in Wonderland.  Runner up in the South West’s tourist attraction awards in 2010 this is rightly the National Trust’s flagship Devon property and is currently receiving financial support for ongoing restoration and protection from the National Lottery.

Above all else its the location that is so breathtaking, the whole place looks ready to tumble headlong into the gorge itself and you can reach it from The Dartmoor Way by taking the “Hunters Path” past Sharp Tor on the higher level Two Moors Way option through the Teign Gorge.

For those who just want to admire it in passing from the outside you can walk this upper route on the day to Chagford and make use of the ever welcome National Trust tearooms here en route. However if you want to take a full visit through the Castle and Grounds  - and you won’t be disappointed if you do, then consider either a short day from Mortenhampstead to Chagford  on The Dartmoor Way OR splitting the section with an overnight stop at nearby Sandy Park.

Lydford Gorge – Three mile circular walk from the Dartmoor Way overnight stop at Lydford.

Lydford Gorge on the Dartmoor Way and West Devon Way Walking HolidayThe deepest gorge in this part of the South West and the former hiding place of the Gubbins Outlaws,  who were infamous sheep stealers from  the 17th Century.  Not to be missed by anyone walking through Lydford.  Visit this incredible chasm and you will understand why the Gubbins remained at large for so long.

You may think you have seen a lot of watercourses on the Dartmoor Way but this one is truly unique,  totally at odds with its immediate surroundings and a designated SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Interest) for its geology.   The raging narrow gorge is now managed by The National Trust (click here to view their website information on the gorge) and whilst there is an entrance charge expect vertical lush woodland ravines towering above white water highlights such as Devils Cauldron and Tunnel Falls mixed with sections of peaceful and still dragonfly pools.  Networks of foot bridges and viewing platforms link a dramatic path parts of which were hewn out of the rock by enthralled Victorians  to run right along the side of the gorge so you can walk just above the churning waterfalls and plunging drops.  The highlight is the 100ft high White Lady Waterfall that dwarfs the walker as it crashes down the vertical side of the gorge.

To take a full circuit of the gorge adds 3 miles to the walk from Okehampton but you won’t have wasted anything exploring this superb environment and with a tea shop at each end you will be able to recover from the steep ascent and descent into this other world.  

Make sure you stay overnight at Lydford and a visit to the Gorge fits perfectly into the end of the shorter days walk from Okehampton.

Brentor – The Church on the Tor –  3.5 mile circular route from The Dartmoor Way btw Lydford and Mary Tavy

Brentor Church West Devon Way Walking Holidays and breaks DartmoorThe Dartmoor Way between Lydford and Tavistock is dominated by the sight of this iconic little squat church built from hard granite in the most improbable of locations at the top of a conical shaped Volcanic Tor.  Full name The Church of St Michel de Rupe or Saint Michael of the Rock  its just 5 metres wide and 11m long and it is indeed a perfectly formed place of worship, its 12m tower which somehow survives this most exposed of locations has three bells that mournfully chime out over the moor calling the locals to service...when the weather allows an ascent. Its appeal one would suggest is that It feels as close to heaven as any church can get ...literally and whilst for keen photographers its probably Dartmoor’s most desirable image thankfully the climb to the top and its remote and lonely location protects it being reached by most casual visitors.  Its views over Dartmoor one way and far west into Cornwall the other are unmissable - if it looks familiar it is beacuse it was used for filming in the production of Daphne du Mauriers Jamaica Inn by the BBC.   

How did it get here and how does it survive are the two most common questions for anyone making the pilgrimage here.  The story of its construction is that of a Seafaring Merchant so grateful at surviving a fearful storm at sea that in thanks to God for protection he promised to build a church on the highest point of ground he could see when he returned to land.  You can see this miniature mountain from Plymouth and so the promise was kept and the church constructed during the 12th Century. Its at this point that the usual Dartmoor legends embellish the tale as the Devil infuriated by the plan did his best to stop construction by removing the stones overnight that were laboriously dragged up the 325 ft slopes every day.  This it appears delayed the construction project for so long that the Arch Angel Gabriel took control and flinging a rock at the Devil from a nearby Tor managed to hit him right between the horns – he fled the spot and the Church was finished as promised by the Merchant.

Brentor Chruch South West England Walking Holidays What is true is that the church is actually built on an old volcano the rock being pillow lava. During some restoration work 40 skeletons were discovered buried beneath parts of the church suggesting this place has had a burial significance for a much older culture that goes back into the depths of time. If you have come this far around the Dartmoor Way you don’t want to miss climbing to this magical and atmospheric spot where it feels like only the call of a stonechat and the moorland plains stretched below you sit between you and the next world itself ! An ascent of the Tor fits perfectly with a short detour from The Dartmoor Way on the short days walk between Lydford and Tavistock and can be built into the standard and relaxed itineraries for those staying in these locations.

The Merrivale Stones –  1 mile diversion from The High Moorland Route or around 3 miles from Mary Tavy to Tavistock Route

The Merrivale Stone Circles off the Dartmoor Way Walking Route UKBy now you will probably have understood that Dartmoor,  wild as it may be, is actually littered with evidence of  prehistoric antiquities and sacred sites from its mystical past. 
Many of these were deliberately sited by those that built them in the wildest and most difficult to reach locations on the moor, places of special significance to the seasons and the equinox positions of the Sun and moon
Merrivale near Princetown Dartmoor National Park Walking Merrivale, managed by English Heritage and less than a mile off the Dartmoor Way gives a unique opportunity not only to see Dartmoor’s  most famous site but in one small area of moorland exhibits all the major examples of antiquities in one easy to reach location.  Here you will find three stone rows, a stone circle, standing stones, a 3m high Menhir, burial cairns, long houses, kists (stone built coffins)  and cremation pits constructed at various times between 2500 BC and 1000BC. 

That those living there kept returning over 1500 years to build and rebuild is testomony to the power of this location and one can only try to imagine the ceremonies and rituals that took place on this spot.

Sunset at Merrivale in Devon on Dartmoor part of the Dartmoor WaySince Medieval times the area was referred to as the Potato Market or Plague Market as food from moorland villages was left here for the desperate townsfolk of Tavistock to collect during the black death.  The Plague wiped over a third of Devon’s population and the villagers of the higher moor would do anything to avoid face to face contact with the plague ridden townsfolk from Tavistock.The Stone rows themselves run to almost one km in length with key stones set to align with the setting sun at specific points in the year.  This is without doubt the most significant set of prehistoric remains on not only Dartmoor but the whole of the South West Peninsula preserved by the peat in the ground and the lack of cultivation up here. This is a short diversion that every level of walker can make from the Dartmoor Way below Kings Tor on the way to Princetown.  Those that want longer to explore the site and perhaps make use of the nearby 17th Century Dartmoor Inn at Merrivale Quarry, should allow for this in the walk from Tavistock to Princetown which is offered as an option on both our relaxed and standard itineraries.


Asked Questions

Request a

Map of all
our walks