Stage 2: Shipley Bridge to Ashburton — the Dartmoor Way
Kit P planned a hike.
December 8, 2020
This 12-mile (19 km) Tour takes in some of Dartmoor’s multiple personalities. It starts at Shipley Bridge and follows the River Avon up to the Avon Dam. The route is highest just past the dam and then it’s downhill before staying largely flat for the remainder, allowing you to enjoy a relatively easy ramble through the countryside. You’ll also pass through the historic market town of Buckfastleigh, a perfect place for lunch.
Leaving Shipley Bridge, the tarmac trail alongside the Avon takes you gently uphill and the river flows over enormous slabs, right alongside. Brent Moor and Dockwell Ridge rise on either side and when you reach the dam, after a stretch of steep gravel path, the rounded hills of the moorland fill your view. It’s a spectacular feat of engineering and you’ll likely see Dartmoor ponies loitering nearby, munching grass.
From the dam, you’ll cross Dean Moor with its wide-ranging views of nearby tors and then hike down through fields to reach Buckfastleigh. A pretty, historic market town, there are plenty of cafes and pubs if you want a substantial lunch. Visiting the abbey is well worth the tiny detour as it’s very impressive.
The trail then leads you alongside fields and plantations on lanes and tracks to deliver you to the lovely Stannary town of Ashburton, Dartmoor’s largest town. Plenty of accommodation, cafés and pubs await you here. Ashburton has local bus services to Exeter and Newton Abbot, which both have mainline train stations.
December 9, 2020