You’ll need a map. A sat nav just won’t cut it in this wild and woolly spot, and the roads are so winding and narrow and the signposts not the most reliable, you’ll want something as reassuring as a map with you. Throw in the odd sheep or two wandering aimlessly in the lanes will add a frisson of excitement too.
But don’t be put off – this is a place of romance and intrigue. Home to one of the most notorious prisons in Britain as well as castles, idyllic villages, inns and of course the outstanding natural beauty of the moors, this is one spot you won’t want to miss when staying in the area.
A visit to Ashburton and Lustleigh will give you a good idea of life in this part of the country. Ashburton, considered the gateway to Dartmoor, is an elegant little town full of delis, antique shops and good places to eat. Lustleigh is a pretty, picture-perfect village tucked away amongst the trees with thatched cottages, 13th century church and of course the compulsory excellent tea room and pub.
If your tastes run to the macabre, pay a visit to Dartmoor Prison in Princetown, once home to some very gristly and notorious criminals over 200 years. For something a little less dark but no less fascinating, Grimspound is a prehistoric settlement dating back to 1300BC and once home to 24 Bronze Age huts.
There are obviously lots of trails and walks across the moors, perfect for walking, cycling and horse riding. And you’re not restricted to the finer months. From lambs in spring to heather in autumn and windy winter afternoons, there’s something unique about every season. And of course, you can end your hike or amble in one of the many cosy, characterful inns to be found. We recommend Rugglestone Inn.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Dartmoor here.