Start your 48-hour Dartmoor odyssey with breakfast at the East Gate Cafe in Tavistock before wandering the town’s Pannier Market. Different wares are on sale on different days throughout the week and a treasure trove of antiques, fresh produce and crafts can be bought. Make sure you visit the cheese shop before you leave town.
Drive towards Lydford
Drive north out of Tavistock and set the GPS for Lydford Gorge, via Brentor Church carpark. Stop here and take a hike up this tor to the church on top to stand on the summit of one of the most dramatic tors in eastern Dartmoor. At the top, the church is small and the views across the moors are big.
Head back down to your car and, if hungry, stop for a light lunch at the Castle Inn in Lydford. This traditional 16th-century pub is filled with character, with great food, local ales, a roaring fireplace in winter and a sweet little beer garden for summer.
Explore Lydford Gorge
This National Trust woodland is one which is filled with huge waterfalls, leafy walkways by the side of rivers, magical fairy caves and the Devil’s Cauldron. There are a number of walks and pathways available for all, but if you’re planning on doing the full three-mile circuit (recommended), allow at least two hours. Tea, cake and light lunches are available at the tearooms at both entrances.
Drive into the heart of Dartmoor for the night
After all that walking you’re going to want to get yourself a pint, some food and a place to rest your head, and there is no better place for settling yourself in for the night than the Two Bridges Inn. This old coach house in the middle of Dartmoor has a bar full of huge, well-loved Chesterfields to sink into with a Jail Ale or two, two gigantic fires to snuggle next to, a kitchen which has an AA rosette rating and some seriously comfortable beds.
Two Bridges, Yelverton, Devon, 01822 892300
Fill your boots
Breakfast at the Two Bridges is nothing less than excellent. If you’re not still full from the night before then stock up on warm pastries, sourdough toast and eggs benny before heading out across the wilds of Dartmoor.
Leave your car in the carpark of the inn, cross the road and follow the public footpath onto Dartmoor. Keep following this path until you come to Wistmans Wood. This small oak wood is made up of small, stunted trees which have gnarled and tangled together with a layer of thick green moss and lichen smothering the branches. There are plenty of legends about hellish hounds and druids here, but get it on a sunny day and this strange woodland is nothing other than fairytale-esque. From the woods you can climb to the top of Longaford Tor for views over the 400-year-old oaks and out across Dartmoor.
Lunch at the Rugglestone
You can walk for days on Dartmoor, trudging from tor to tor and view to view, but why do that when there’s a pub to be sat in? Follow your tracks back to the Two Bridges and hop in the car to drive across central Dartmoor to Widecombe in the Moor, a charming little moorland village, and onto the Rugglestone Inn for lunch. This is the perfect stop for a hearty lunch or afternoon snack in a traditional and cosy Dartmoor pub, complete with fire, tasty beer and a sunny beer garden if the weather permits.
Sunset at Haytor
Next up is your final Dartmoor hike to Haytor Rocks. Park at the Haytor carpark and simply follow the path up the hill to maybe the most famous tor on the whole of the moors. From here, you can enjoy views all the way to the South Devon coast and across Dartmoor. If the skies are clear, take a flask or bottle of wine with you to the top and enjoy the sunset.
The Rock Inn is just a short drive east through the town of Haytor Vale and serves a la carte food, great beer and has some seriously cosy rooms.