Horse Riding on DARTMOOR

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Overview of routes and maps

The moor divides approx. into three parts

The South East Quarter: South of the B3212 and east of the B 3357

Ideal for Novices this is where to start. Lower, softer, safer and generally easy with moorland areas and pretty tors above gentle valleys and villages. There are some lovely pubs, good B&B’s wonderful scenery and excellent riding. Around Haytor is dramatic and some good ground, NW of Widecombe is Hammeldown with some lovely rides over towards Postbridge. You are never far from a road and it won’t really matter if you get lost. East of Belliver Forest there is some wet areas and more care is needed.

Pubs to visit include The Rugglestone at Widecombe in the centre, The East Dart Hotel at Postbridge to the east and the wild exposed Warren House to the North.

To avoid: We are awaiting more info at present but have been warned that bridle paths west of Lustleigh can be difficult, The one going North west to Foxworthy is described as very stony and the one south west towards water has been described as difficult.

The county road Blackadon Manor- Langworthy – Rowden Cross is narrow, bendy & can be very busy and has coaches etc.

Beauty spots/ Destinations for horse travelers: There are many in this quarter. They include:

Hammeldown. All along the ridge and to Grimspound (ancient village) at the north

Bellever Forest with toilets, picnic tables & pretty river bank

The old mines west of Headland Warren & Challacombe & south through Soussons Forest.

Hound Tor - dramatic scenery also has ice cream van in summer.

Haytor with good open grass, and lots of interesting rocks, quarries, views etc (but beware of walkers particularly on hot summer days) toilets, Ice Cream Van etc

The South West Quarter: South of B3213 and West of B 3357

High Moorland, perhaps the best for distance riding. The choice for experienced riders only the centre is blanket bog & essential to avoid, go generally around the edge. However in good weather the main exception being the Princetown to Ivybridge route via River Erme which is a dramatic ride mostly on clearly marked tracks.

The "old puffing Billy" Disused tramway(railway) line to Redlake is a very useful line to follow but note the far north end is surrounded with bog for about 3 miles. Far S.W. corner is good ground and excellent riding approximately up to Three Barrows hill.

Unrideable bridle paths include:

  • Map C4 South from Whiteworks, SX 616710

  • Map B5 Half a mile south of Shipley Bridge SX 677 620 (you can cross the Bala brook with care further north at SX 670 630.

  • Maps B4 and B5 660 660 to 665 660 around Buckland Ford - real struggle to find a way here, go another way.

  • Difficult crossings include:

  • Map C5 Just south of Dartmeet SX671 731 is deep in dry weather and well avoided whenever it is wet. We understand the boulders can move and be treacherous so beware. However the DNPA have recently worked on it and we crossed in March 2005 in very dry weather and it was OK but if the stepping stones are covered do not try it.

  • Map C5 Week Ford 662 724 can be eroded on southern bank, go on road through Hexworthy if in doubt.

  • Map B5 Bala Brook 670 630. Difficult to find & Just awkward really, entrances hidden in brush, drops down a foot or two boggy to south. But it is vital crossing and the only way round on Route C, detour via road south is 5 miles and extra hour.

The Northern Half

Seriously wild country, spectacular, highest, wildest and hardest to plan. This is perhaps the hardest choice for long distance rides and inexperienced riders must avoid the boggy centre totally. This is actually a very large part of this area. Go right around the edge except with guides and then only certain parts are accessible. If you want to see the deep interior then go on foot with a guide not by horse.

The Military use parts for training (see media for times). And must then be avoided Tel 0800 458 4868 or www.dartmoor-ranges.co.uk for details. Military roads and tracks are ride- able but some difficult to access even though they may appear close on a map. They also can be very stony & go over some very, very difficult ground. They are however a very easy way to gain access deep into the moor and you can park easily with a trailer near Okehampton Camp.

 The Military use is very interesting particularly for boys but beware of all kinds of unexpected things like loud bangs, Helicopters etc.

(Extra notes re military use……………)

There are wonderful views and some lovely rides all along the western edge but plan with care.

The routes we have shown show both the easiest around the edge just avoiding the military area and other ones that do go further in but need better map reading skills and experience.

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