Moorlands Local Area

Dartmoor & Devon Coast

Around 370 square miles in area, Dartmoor became a National Park in 1951 and is visited by 2.5m people a year. It is the largest and wildest area of open country in the south of England, with ancient woodland, high granite tors and vast tracts of rolling moorland.

Atmospheric Dartmoor has inspired many writers, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous The Hound of the Baskervilles.

During the 19th century Dartmoor was well known for its granite which was used in the construction of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and the original Victorian London Bridge.

Granite was mined in a quarry close to Haytor which, along with the  Haytor Rocks and quarries themselves, are protected from development and disturbance as a Site of Special Scientific Interest

The village of Princetown is situated in the centre of the moor, about 35 minutes' drive from Haytor. Here the High Moorland Discovery centre will introduce you to the Dartmoor's unique wildlife and landscapes, while close by the austere Dartmoor Prison is one of most iconic buildings in the national park. The Prison museum tells the long history of the prison, dating back to 1805.

About 30 minutes' drive from Haytor, Castle Drogo was 'the last castle to be built in England'. Owned by the National Trust, the castle, overlooking the Teign Gorge, was built in the Edwardian era by architect Edwin Lutyens.

About an hour’s drive from Haytor is Cothele House. This magaificent medieval manor house, located above the Tamar Valley. Now managed by the National Trust, the gardens and parkland of Cothele are listed as Grade II on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Interest in England.

The former home of Haytor’s most famous visitor, Agatha Christies Greenway Estate, close to Dartmouth has stunning views across the River Dart. The house and gardens are now owned by the National Trust and are just under an hour's drive away.

From Dartmouth you can cruise down the River Dart to Totnes. A fascinating market town in its own right, Totness is also the northernmost terminal of the South Devon Railway, a loving restored of a Great Western branch line that runs south to Buckfastleigh and Buckfast Abbey.

Destroyed by Henry VIII during the restoration, Buckfast Abbey was rebuilt between 1882 and 1968. Famous for it’s Tonic Wine and the Buckfast Bee Department, Buckfast Abbey is now an active Benedictine Monastery.

Close to the seaside town of Torquay, the caves of Kent’s Cavern are recognised as the most important Stone Age cave in Britain. Tours take you through these 2 million-year-old caves to discover a unique history uncovered by Victorian archaeological explorers

The cathedral city of Exeter is around 30 minutes’ drive from Moorlands. The most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement Britain, Exeter is a bustling and exciting city brimming with history and heritage. It’s with many attractions include the Gothic St Peter’s Cathedral and Roman City Walls. Beneath the City lie a network of medieval passages originally built to bring fresh water into the city.

The historic quayside is a hub of activity, you can explore the River Exe and Exeter Canal by boy, bicycle or on foot or visit the historic Exe Island.