What are the best guided nature walks in Dartmoor focusing on local folklore?

Dartmoor, a jewel in Devon's crown, is a rich tapestry of heather-covered moorland, woodland, tors, and river valleys. This national park in South Devon is home to vast landscapes and offers an array of experiences for those who enjoy walking and exploring the local folklore. Whether you're a seasoned walker or new to the area, there's plenty to discover with a variety of guided nature walks that offer both breathtaking views and fascinating tales.

Dartmoor's enchanting folklore

Dartmoor is steeped in lore, legend and mystery. The local folklore is an essential part of Dartmoor's identity, giving this area of natural beauty a unique character. Here we present some guided nature walks that weave through the moor's historic landscapes, unveiling the park's myths and legends.

Dartmoor's Folklore and Legends Walk: This route takes walkers on a journey through the moor's myths, mysteries, and folklore. The knowledgeable guide will share stories of ghostly sightings, pixie mischief, and haunted tors as you traverse the rugged landscape.

Haytor's Myth and Legend Walk: Haytor, one of Dartmoor's most iconic tors, is at the center of many local tales. This walk takes you around this high granite outcrop and the surrounding area, revealing stories of giants, hidden treasures, and fairy rings.

Walk along Dartmoor's rivers and reservoirs

The Dart River is at the heart of Dartmoor, its meandering course shaping the moor's landscapes and providing habitats for a plethora of wildlife. The river and Dartmoor's reservoirs are intrinsic to the local folklore, with tales of water sprites and hidden underwater kingdoms told for centuries.

The Dart River Walk: This walk follows the Dart River from its source on the high moor down to the historic town of Totnes. The guide will share tales of the river's supernatural inhabitants and point out significant sites along the way.

Burrator Reservoir Folklore Walk: This walk circles the scenic Burrator Reservoir. Learn about the local legend of the submerged town beneath the reservoir waters. The guide will also highlight the diverse wildlife that inhabits this important water source.

The balance of nature and history in Dartmoor

While the natural beauty of Dartmoor is undeniable, the park is also marked by signs of human habitation dating back thousands of years. These traces of the past are interwoven with the local folklore, providing a fascinating insight into the area's history.

Dartmoor's Ancient Sites Walk: This guided walk explores Dartmoor's prehistoric remains, including stone circles, standing stones, and ancient settlements. As you traverse the moor, the guide will tell tales of the people who lived here long ago, their beliefs, and their enduring influence on local folklore.

The Industrial Dartmoor Walk: Dartmoor was a hive of activity during the Industrial Revolution. This walk takes you along the remains of old railway lines, quarries, and tin mines, where the guide will share tales of the workers' lives and the legends they believed in.

Dartmoor's unique fauna and flora

Dartmoor's biodiversity is as rich as its history and folklore. The moor is home to a wide range of wildlife, some of which feature in the local myths and legends.

Dartmoor's Wildlife Walk: Guided by a local naturalist, this walk will help you identify the park's fauna and flora. As you spot different species, the guide will share local tales and beliefs associated with them.

The Plant Lore Walk: Plants play a crucial role in Dartmoor's folklore. This guided walk explores the moor's plant life and the myths and superstitions associated with them.

Dartmoor, with its rich folklore and stunning landscapes, is a captivating place to explore. Whether you choose to walk along the Dart River, uncover ancient sites, or delve into the world of Dartmoor's wildlife, these guided nature walks will offer you an immersive experience into the heart of this fascinating national park. With these walks, you're not just exploring Dartmoor; you're stepping into a world of tales and legends that have shaped this land for centuries.

Dartmoor's Cultural Heritage Walks

Stepping in Dartmoor is like stepping into a fascinating history book. The national park is rich with cultural heritage, reflecting the marks of past generations who have lived and worked on this land. These walks offer explorers a captivating look into the area's history and the local folklore that adds further depth to the narratives of the past.

The Dartington Hall Walk: Dartington Hall is one of the gems of South Devon. This walk takes you through the award-winning gardens and grounds of this historic estate. The guide will tell you about the legends associated with the hall and its former inhabitants, adding a touch of mystery to the beauty of the place.

Bowerman's Nose Walk: This route leads to Bowerman's Nose, a fascinating rock formation that resembles a man's profile. Local folklore tells that a huntsman named Bowerman was turned into stone by witches, giving this site a mythical aura.

The Lydford Gorge Walk: Lydford Gorge, the deepest gorge in the South West, is an awe-inspiring natural feature. The walk offers tales of the supernatural beings believed to dwell here, making this trail an exciting journey into Dartmoor's folklore.

Dartmoor's Exceptional Viewpoints Walks

Dartmoor National Park is well-known for its stunning views, with every viewpoint offering a different perspective of the park's diverse landscapes. These guided walks will not only show you some of the park's most breathtaking views but also share the local folklore attached to these sites.

The Hound Tor Walk: The high granite outcrop of Hound Tor is one of Dartmoor's most famous landmarks. The site is linked to the Arthurian legend of the Hounds of Baskerville, making it a must-see for those interested in mythology and folklore.

Venford Reservoir Walk: This walk near Venford Reservoir offers panoramic views over the Dart Valley. The guide will share tales about water nymphs believed to inhabit the nearby streams, adding a touch of magic to the stunning scenery.

The Deer Park Walk: This circular walk near Bovey Tracey provides splendid views over the park authority’s deer park. With a backdrop of ancient woodland, the guide will recount local tales of mystical deer and spirits.


No matter what you’re looking for—whether it’s breathtaking views, a taste of history, or the chance to dive into local legends—there is a guided walk in Dartmoor that will suit your interest. Each walk takes you on a journey through the rich tapestry of Dartmoor's landscapes while unveiling the fascinating tales and legends that shape its unique identity. So, strap on your walking boots, join one of the Dartmoor walks, and step into a world where the natural beauty of South Devon intertwines with a rich cultural heritage steeped in folklore. From the swirling waters of the River Dart to the haunting silhouette of Hound Tor, from the historical Dartington Hall to the wildlife-rich Burrator Reservoir, every corner of Dartmoor National Park has a story to tell. It's not just a walk—it's an adventure into the heart of Dartmoor's captivating world.

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