Dartmoor
To the north of Plymouth – and within view of the University – lies Dartmoor National Park, a vast expanse of wild, open moorland containing landscapes of startling beauty, including ancient forests, crystal clear rivers and towering rock faces.
At 954 km2, Dartmoor is nearly the size of Greater London (or roughly 20,000 football pitches), and while much of it is used for farming, broad areas remain free and open to all. Make the most of the University's unique proximity to this natural wonder and experience a rewarding contrast to the busy city.

Hiking

Exploring on foot gives you the opportunity to go where you want at your own pace while taking in some breathtaking scenery.

Take a bus from the University to towns such as Tavistock, Princetown, and Buckfast. Using these as bases, walk directly onto the moors or connect to routes to smaller villages.

Dartmoor offers walking routes of different lengths for all abilities, from accessible stile-free paths to multi-day hikes and scrambles. The Dartmoor National Park Authority is a good place to start for recommendations.

Using an ordanance survey (OS) app or website to plan your route from home can be a good idea, but if you plan to walk beyond Dartmoor's towns and villages, a paper OS map and compass are recommended, as phone service can be unreliable in remote areas. New and used maps of Dartmoor can be bought cheaply online and from bookshops in Plymouth.

Hiking boots and waterproof clothing are essential. The weather on the moors can change quickly, so bring layers of clothing that can be worn or removed accordingly. Carry plenty of water and keep a phone will full battery with you in the unlikely case of an emergency. Learning how to apply first aid (such us from the ) and bringing a kit is always a good idea.

Wild camping

'Wild camping' or 'backpack camping' means to carry everything you need (tent, provisions and equipment) in a backpack and camp away from settlements and organised campsites. It can be a real adventure and allow you to see the best the wilderness has to offer while bonding with friends. It's also an ideal option if you are planning a hike that will last more than a day.

Use the interactive map to see where you can freely camp without asking for the landowner's permission. Choose an area suitable for camping and avoid danger areas such as floodplains and .

Wild camping on Dartmoor is free and legal providing you follow certain rules, such as only staying for one or two nights and leaving no trace on the land.

Cycling

See more of Dartmoor in a day: speed down well-paved cycle paths or go off road on a rocky trail. Cycling at a leisurely pace along the traffic-free can take you from the University to the moors in under an hour.

Plymouth has several cycle shops with plenty of different types of bike to choose from.
Find a cycle trail
Dartmoor has extensive cycle paths and trails that can be done in short sections or joined to form .

Climbing and bouldering

Dartmoor's cliffs and tors provide ideal natural settings for rock climbing and bouldering. 

There are many excellent climbing spots on Dartmoor. View the interactive map by the British Mountaineering Council to find one suited to your level.

The safest way to climb is with a group. Contact local guides or to go on climbing trips.

Dining

After working up an appetite in the fresh air, stop for food and a few drinks in one of Dartmoor's many welcoming pubs, restaurants and cafés.

Try an authentic Devon cream tea, enjoy a hearty roast dinner in a medieval inn, or treat yourself to a fine dining experience in an award winning restaurant.

Wildlife and animals

Dartmoor is home to a wide variety of animals, both wild and domesticated. 

Visitors to Dartmoor are always likely to see a range of local animals, including rare birds and otters. Famously, semiwild ponies roam the moors freely.  

One way to enjoy the moors while gaining skills and experience (and enhancing your CV) is to volunteer on a moorland conservation project.

Stables on Dartmoor cater to all levels of rider and offer tuition and guides for beginners.
Dartmoor night
Burrator Reservoir, Dartmoor National Park
Great Staple tor Dartmoor Devon UK

I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.


Steven Spielberg
Legendary film director, writer, and producer

Dartmoor can provide a feeling of remoteness without you having to travel for miles into the depths of Wales or the Scottish Highlands. Although often described as ‘bleak’, it has many changing colours and hardy fauna and flora that flourish there.

For me, Dartmoor is special because of its beauty and the fact that it appears virtually untouched by buildings and people. There is a strong connection to history and it’s a nice space to get away from people.


Ellie Coleman
BA (Hons) Photography graduate