Stage 3: Ashburton to Bovey Tracey — the Dartmoor Way
Includes an off-grid segment
Navigation instructions may be limited.
Kit P planned a hike.
December 8, 2020
This 12-mile (19 km) hike takes in one of Dartmoor’s most famous sights, some pretty, rambling lanes and fantastic viewpoints. The Tour is a triangle of elevation with the first half taking you steadily uphill, the reward for which is Haytor’s jaw-dropping granite boulders, and then winding down into the lovely town of Bovey Tracey.
You’ll start in Ashburton, which has an excellent deli should you need any delicious snacks for your hike. The route first heads through fields, over stiles and alongside pretty woodlands alongside the River Ashburn. You’ll start catching glimpses of rolling hills and moorland from Owlacombe Cross and, after a few miles of glorious Devon lanes, you’ll start making your way to the moor proper.
After crossing the River Lemon, you’ll head north onto open moorland. Walking upwards through past bracken and gorse, the view south will start getting better and better, so remember to turn around a few times to admire it. Eventually, the marvel of Haytor will appear and you’ll head straight for this granite behemoth.
When you get to the tor, it’s well worth climbing to the top if you’re steady on your feet. There are Victorian iron handholds embedded in places to help. The views are tremendous in every direction. There are toilets and Tourist Information located in the bottom car park here, just to the east.
After this, you’ll pass the disused Haytor Quarry and find the old granite tramway, which once carried the stone south. Walking into Bovey Tracey is a lovely affair, passing the entrance to Parke, the National Trust estate and home to the national park’s HQ. Bovey itself is filled with cafés and independent shops; plus it has plenty of accommodation and pub options. It also has local supermarkets and bus links.
December 10, 2020