We feel extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful region. The hotel is just a short drive away from Dartmoor, where you can enjoy breath-taking views over the moorland. Back in August we did a Destination Devon blog and promised to explore Dartmoor, we’re keeping our word! And blimey doesn’t this epic landscape deserve a feature all of its own – for starters Dartmoor covers an area of 368 square miles or 957 square kilometres, it is the perfect place for those who love nothing more than a leisurely ramble over the exquisite countryside or perhaps a beautiful drive with a cream tea. It is also the perfect place for an adventure, with over 365 granite tors to climb – that is one for each day of the year!
There are plenty of guided walks to enjoy, many of which take around an hour. Experienced walkers may fancy embarking on a longer walk, where they can enjoy the challenge of a wider area of moorland. Be sure to take a picnic so that you can stop and take advantage of the scenery, whilst enjoying the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings.
Activities such as letterboxing and geocaching are popular for visitors, especially for those looking to explore.
Letterboxing originated on Dartmoor in 1854 when James Perrott of Chagford set up a small cairn at Cranmere Pool on North Dartmoor. Inside he put a glass jar where visitors who had ventured to the lonely, bleak spot could leave their visiting cards. Today, visitors leave a card or message inside a box along their route, which can then be posted by the next person. This popular activity combines orienteering and the classic treasure hunt for a fantastic day of family fun.
Another popular activity is Geocaching, which is similar to Letterboxing, however uses satellite navigation devices called GPS (Global Positioning System) receivers and maps to hunt out the hidden caches. Click here to visit the Dartmoor National Park website for more information about this fun activity or here to read the ‘Ultimate Guide to Geocaching’. With all of the apps now available to download (many for free) you can have a great time doing a modern-day treasure hunt!
Dartmoor is home to a wealth of wildlife, many species of which are quite unusual and rarely seen. The Keeled Kilmer is nationally scarce and thrives on Dartmoor due to the areas of wet habitats such as mires and rush pastures. The Golden Plover is a wading bird with a distinctive gold and black plumage. They are commonly seen on Dartmoor during the winter months and come to feed in large flocks of 100-200 and can be seen in a fairly tight formation.
The miles of open moorland make Dartmoor the perfect place for those who love horse-riding. There are three levels of terrain, suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced riders. This is a fantastic way to experience a wide area of Dartmoor in a short space of time. It is a brilliant activity if you’re on a family holiday in the region.
As well as fun activities, the Dartmoor National Park website provides the top ten archaeological sites that are a must see for those visiting Dartmoor. Spinster’s Rock is an unusual structure made up of a large slab supported by three upright stones. The structure is known as a portal dolmen and is one of the most ancient in the National Park, dating to the Early Neolithic between 4,000BC and 3,000BC. To learn about all ten archaeological sites, click here. Again this is an exciting activity for families with children of all ages who are interested in learning – it could even add to a school project and would certainly be a talking point when back at home.
Following a busy day of exploring, take a trip to one of the many pretty Moorland towns where you will find independent shops and local artisan makers. Each town has its own charm and character with cafes and pubs that make the perfect pit stop from all of the adventures. The National Park Visitor Centre is located in Princetown, where you will also find Dartmoor Prison, previously built in 1809 to house French, then American, prisoners of war. Today HM Prison Dartmoor is still in use with up to 600 prisoners. There is even a museum where visitors can gain a fascinating insight into life inside one of the world’s most notorious prisons.
There is so much to do and explore on Dartmoor, we have only scratched the surface! One thing that we can guarantee is that planning a trip to Britain’s Ocean City, staying at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel and doing a day trip to discover Dartmoor would make a fantastic break for couples, families and individual travellers and we would love to welcome you!
Thank you so much to Unique Devon Tours for providing all of the stunning images in this blog, click here to visit their website. You can also visit the Dartmoor National Park or Visit Dartmoor websites for a wealth of information, where you will find everything you need to plan the perfect trip.