The Two Moors Way is an epic coast-to-coast hike across Devon that explores two wonderful national parks, wild moorlands, ancient woodlands, prehistoric sites, and breathtaking coastal scenery.
Starting from the National Trust coastline of Wembury, the Way travels 112 miles (180 kilometres) across the heart of Devon through Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, steps into Somerset briefly, and finishes on the enchanting north Devon coast.
The trail affords incredible variety. Taking you from the golden coastline of south Devon to the wild landscape of Dartmoor, where lonely tors twist out of heather and gorse. From Dartmoor, the scenery really changes as you step into the pastoral countryside of mid-Devon and transforms once again as you enter the rugged expanse of Exmoor, where moors and gorges cascade towards dramatic sea cliffs.
It is more than just the landscape that makes this hike so special, though. Dartmoor has the highest concentration of Bronze Age sites in Britain, as well as many Neolithic and prehistoric sites. You will see many standing stones, ancient crosses, medieval clapper bridges, abandoned mines, and unspoilt West Country villages along the way, too.
Wildlife is also abundant. Wild ponies, red deer, feral goats, wild salmon, buzzards, kites, curlew, and much more can be observed and make great additions to your landscape photos.
The trail is waymarked throughout. However, it does cross wild and remote moorland in places (not to mention some very isolated farmland) where the weather can change fast and paths can fade into the bogs.
Ensuring you have enough food and water, the correct clothing for the weather conditions, as well as multiple sources of navigation (device, map, compass), first aid kit, and torch, is essential as civilization can sometimes be miles away.
There are some long and challenging stages in this Collection. However, any such hikes have a suggestion on how they can be split, making the Two Moors Way a good choice for those with average fitness and ability, as well as experienced hikers.
Whilst the Two Moors Way is billed as a coast-to-coast, the official start is actually in Ivybridge, at the foot of Dartmoor. As such, the first stage in this Collection is a worthy add-on, following the Erme-Plym Trail, to make it a full coast-to-coast.
In this Collection, we split the route into seven stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or couple of stages, in isolation.
Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. However, places to stay are not always abundant so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.
If you are planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Plymouth, which has direct services from London, Bristol, Birmingham, and Newcastle, among others, and connecting services around Britain.
It is then either a 20-minute walk—or a short bus ride, there are a few services that get you from the station to the centre of Plymouth—to the bus stop on the A374 where you can catch the 48 service to Wembury.
To get home, you need to catch the 310 bus service from Lynmouth to Barnstaple railway station, which has regular services to Exeter, which in turn has good connections around Britain.
As this is a long coast-to-coast crossing, arriving by car is not recommended. If you do wish to drive, you could negotiate with a hotel or B&B owner in Wembury to stay for a night either side and leave your car for the duration.
To get back from Lynmouth to Wembury, you would need to catch the 310 bus service from Lynmouth to Barnstaple railway station, which gets you to Plymouth with a change at Exeter. See the instructions above to get from Plymouth to Wembury.
Finding long-stay parking in Exeter could also be an option as it is right in the middle and well-served by public transport.
For more information about the Two Moors Way, visit: twomoorsway.org.
For the 48 bus timetable, visit: bustimes.org/services/48-dhs-boys-plymouth-city-centre-plymstock-elburto.
For the 310 bus timetable, visit: bustimes.org/services/310-lynton-lynmouth-barnstaple.
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.
The first stage leads you from the stunning coastal setting of Wembury through a pastoral patchwork landscape dotted with pretty woodlands and sleepy villages.Whilst the Two Moors Way is often billed as a coast-to-coast, the official start is in Ivybridge, a fair distance from the coast. As such, this first stage is a worthy add-on to the official route to make it a full-on coast-to-coast.From Wembury Bay, you follow the South West Coast Path for a short time, climb around the village, drop into Wembury Wood, and then follow the path alongside Cofflete Creek.You then pick-up the Erme-Plym Trail and follow it through Spriddlestone, Brixton, and Yealmpton.Just after Hollowcombe Cross, you cross the River Erme and follow it north to the town of Ivybridge, where this stage finishes. Ivybridge has a range of accommodation, plenty of places for food and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.
The official first stage takes you high into the lonely expanse of Dartmoor, visits a prehistoric woodland, and affords magical views.From Ivybridge, the trail climbs Western Beacon, the most southerly In Dartmoor, and rewards your efforts with wonderful views and ancient cairns.You continue through the rugged landscape, passing Weatherdon Hill and Glasscombe Ball. On the summit of Piles Hill, you experience breathtaking views that stretch as far as Plymouth Sound in clear conditions.A short time later, it is worth a brief detour to see the enchanting Piles Copse. One of only five ancient woodlands in Britain, it is like something from a fairytale.The trail skirts along the boundary between Ughborough Moor and Hartford Moor, crosses Quickbeam Hill, and then heads east across Dean Moor, Buckfastleigh Moor, and Scorriton Down, to finish in the small village of Scorriton.Scorriton has a few options for accommodation and a pub that serves food.
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Expect wild scenery, rugged tors, Neolithic remains, and a touch of fiction on this stunning stage.With more than 18 miles (29 kilometers) of distance and nearly 2,500 feet (755 meters) of climbing to contend with, this grueling stage will really test your fitness and stamina. (See below for a suggestion on how to split the route).From Scorrinton, the trail climbs past the village of Holnes, drops to the River Dart and then follows it to Newbridge, at which point you cross the river.You then climb over Ash Tor, Mel Tor, and Bel Tor. A little after Rowden Tor, you have the option of whether to follow the trail into Widecombe in the Moor—which adds just over one mile (two kilometers)—or continue over Hameldown.Shortly after Hameldown Tor, you find the Neolithic village of Grimspound. Once home to dozens of people, the eerie setting was where Sherlock Holmes spent the night in the novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.You experience more stunning views from Hookney Tor and Birch Tor and descend gradually for the next few miles to the River Teign, which you follow into the market town of Chagford, where this stage finishes.Chagford has a good range of accommodation, places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions. If you would like to split this stage, a great choice is Widecombe in the Moor, a beautiful village with plenty of accommodation and food and drink.
Another challenging yet rewarding hike awaits you on this stage, the longest of the itinerary.With nearly 19 miles (30 kilometers) of distance and nearly 2,000 feet (610 meters) of climbing, this is a tough hike. (See below for a suggestion on how to split the route).From Chagford, the trail follows the course of the River Teign and then makes a sharp ascent to the viewpoint on Hunter’s Tor.You continue climbing past Castle Drogo and reach a high point at Sharp Tor, where you get fantastic views over Teign Gorge.After the trail passes Drewsteignton, you step into a remote and little-walked section of mid Devon. Whilst there are not many facilities, having the serene patchwork landscape to yourself is ample compensation. Make sure you have enough food and water before leaving Drewsteignton (there is a shop in the village).This stage finishes in the village of Morchard Bishop, where you will find some accommodation and a pub that serves food.Unfortunately, due to how remote the countryside is, splitting this hike evenly is not easy. Your best best is to stop over in Drewsteignton, which has options for accommodation and food and drink. However, this will mean a very short four-mile (six kilometer) hike, followed by a 15-mile (24 kilometer) hike.
Serene pastures, wildflower meadows, peaceful woodlands, and sleepy villages await on this little-hiked section of Devon.Right in the middle of two national parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor, the countryside this stage explores is often neglected by hikers. As such, the pastoral scenery is all yours.Before leaving Morchard Bishop, it is worth paying a visit to St Mary’s Church, which has a history that stretches back to the Middle Ages. The trail continues through fields and small woodlands to the village of Washford Pyne. Here, you cross the River Dalch and continue to Witheridge. The Way heads over Hares Down and then descends to the village of Knowstone, where this stage finishes. In the village, you find a wonderful 15th-century church, St Peter’s.Knowstone has a few options for accommodation and a pub that serves food.
This stage takes you from quiet Devon pastures into Exmoor National Park and culminates in a spellbinding riverside stroll.From Knowstone, the trail journeys through patchwork countryside, crosses the River Yeo and continues into Exmoor.Despite being Devon’s coast-to-coast, the Way steps sneakily into Somerset after the village of Hawkridge and then descends to the River Barle.You cross the river via Tarr Steps, which is the longest clapper bridge in Britain. This impressive Grade I-listed structure is thought to date to the medieval period.The Way then meanders through ancient woodland alongside the Barle to Withypool, where this stage finishes. This pleasant nature reserve—an idyllic habitat for salmon, otters, and dormouse—makes for a wonderful finish to the stage.Withypool has a few accommodation options, places for food and drink, and a village shop.
The final stage explores the wildest part of Exmoor and makes an epic finish looking out to sea above the Valley of Rocks.From Withypool, the trail follows the Barle Valley through farmland and moorland. Keeping on top of the valley for the most part, you get some lovely views.The landscape becomes more breathtaking as you get closer to Cow Castle, an Iron Age hillfort.You pass the remains of Wheal Eliza iron ore and copper mine and follow the river to Simonsbath. At this point, you enter the wildest and most isolated part of Exmoor, The Chains.This plateau in the northwest of Exmoor lies 1,500 feet (457 meters) above sea level. Make sure you have enough food and water before you leave Simonsbath as facilities are few and far between until you reach Lynmouth.At Myrtleberry Cleave, you follow the valley top, overlooking the East Lyn river, to Lynmouth, where this stage and the Two Moors Way finishes.For a truly epic finish, push on a little further to Lynton and climb to the top of Hollerday Hill for a magnificent view over the Valley of Rocks and out to sea.The villages of Lynmouth and Lynton have an excellent range of accommodation, places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.