Dartmoor walks this way | News

Family Walking on Dartmoor

2017-01-31 14:36:09



Having taken many young people out on Dartmoor walks, I can confirm that many of them are not wildly enthusiastic at the prospect.  Quite a high proportion of them start out rather grumpy and reluctant, finding the wind too cold and the ground too soggy.  After such a beginning, it can be hard going especially if “all” that’s on offer is beautiful scenery.  That’s why this walk is such a great one for young people of all ages:  it combines glorious and varied Dartmoor landscapes with a lot of points of interest at regular intervals.   I believe it packs more into a relatively short walk (3.5 miles) than just about any other route I can think of:  a prehistoric grave, ruined medieval village, two clapper bridges, mossy woodland, hut circles, a mire, a quarry plus granite tramway, a beehive hut,  a beautiful streamside meadow,  and two brilliant sets of rocks for climbing on and searching for letterboxes, including – at the very end – the famous Hound Tor.

I’ve test driven this walk on quite a number of families with young children and those with teenagers as well as coach groups of varying ages.  The feedback has been really positive.  In the coach groups, there’s generally a few that lurk at the back clutching their handbags and trying to avoid getting mud on their snow white trainers.  But even they generally come alive at the first cluster of rocks to clamber on and take selfies with the spectacular view beyond.  And if that hasn’t won them over, the rope swing over the stream will usually do the trick.  The combination of water, rocks and freedom to roam wherever you want is rare for urban kids who spend whatever little outdoor time they have in much more controlled and patrolled environments.   I’ve lost count of how many ask me if they’re allowed to stray off the path, climb up a rock, or paddle in the stream.  It’s such a joy to be able to say yes, and watch them gallop off.  At the end there’s generally a few sets of wet or muddy feet, but they’re accompanied by smiling faces and glowing cheeks.  A lovely transformation to be part of!

If you’re on Dartmoor over half-term, I’m offering this guided walk on Thursday February 16, 1.30 to 4.30 pm.  It’s £15 per adult, kids walk for free.  Start and finish at Hound Tor car park.  Advance booking essential:  email [email protected] or phone 07914-184220

Back to all articles