Extending over 953 square kilometers, Dartmoor National Park has been described as the last remaining wilderness in southern England, and it’s easy to see why. The landscape offers a rich diversity of activities including walking, fishing, horse riding, rock climbing, mountain-biking and white water activities – to name but a few – but you can also come just to take in the breathtaking scenery and to recharge the batteries.
This is a romantic, rugged landscape, ranging from rolling valleys and wetlands to wide open landscapes, dense forests and tumbling waterfalls. However you choose to explore it you cannot fail to be in awe of its beauty.
Gidleigh Park is perfectly located to take the popular local route following the Mariner’s Way, between Kestor and Gidleigh. According to legend, seafarers used to land on the south coast of Devon and walk this route to the ports on the north coast.
Alternatively there are beautiful routes through our own grounds and a number of guided walks are run locally to allow you to discover more of the geology, archaeology, nature and history of Dartmoor.
It is no coincidence that we offer a boot room for guest use, wellingtons and stout walking boots are almost compulsory attire for many of our guests.
Dartmoor is a walker’s paradise, offering a huge variety of trails that cater for all levels of walker and discovering this magical landscape on foot affords the opportunity to experience the wildlife and natural vegetation that are at home here.
A circular route of about six miles is a good initial hike, Postbridge and Belevor are both circular walks taking in a varied mix of scenery, riverside trails, moorland, woodland, waterfalls and historical remains.
The famous Dartmoor ponies are perceived to roam free and wild on the moors, but they are in fact owned by farmers who work the moorland and their health and wellbeing is taken care of all year round.
The skies above the moors are home to many birds of prey, watch out for buzzards hunting in pairs or on higher ground the endangered red grouse may make an appearance.
Dartmoor’s butterfly population continues to thrive on the moors and nearby Buckfast Butterflies and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary at Buckfastleigh offers a wonderful opportunity to see many of these delightful species. Otters can be spotted playing in the rivers where if you are lucky you can engage them in a game of hide and seek.
One thing is for certain, after all this activity you will be the first in the pantry for a nice cup of tea and some homemade biscuits.