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Wild coast-to-coast over Dartmoor and Exmoor — Two Moors Way

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Wild coast-to-coast over Dartmoor and Exmoor — Two Moors Way

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson

8-16

days

3-6 h

/ day

112 mi

12,300 ft

11,625 ft

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.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    07:25
    16.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,725 ft
    1,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    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 …

  • Difficult
    06:29
    14.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,875 ft
    1,625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    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 …

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  • Difficult
    08:34
    18.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    2,475 ft
    2,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    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 …

  • Difficult
    08:26
    18.9 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    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 …

  • Difficult
    06:18
    14.6 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,000 ft
    850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    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 …

  • Difficult
    05:41
    12.6 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    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 …

  • Difficult
    08:01
    17.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    2,075 ft
    2,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    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 …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    112 mi
  • Duration
    50:54 h
  • Elevation
    12,300 ft11,625 ft

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Wild coast-to-coast over Dartmoor and Exmoor — Two Moors Way