Princetown Dartmoor Walks
The village of Princetown is a great base for exploring the Dartmoor National Park. It's notable as the highest settlement on the moor, and one of the highest in the United Kingdom. Two significant long distance trails run through the village and there is also the popular Two Bridges just to the north east.
This long circular walk makes use of the Abbot's Way and the Dartmoor Way to explore the countryside to the west of the village. You'll visit the interesting bronze age settlement of Merrivale and enjoy a long section along the old Yelverton to Princetown railway. The route runs for about 13 miles with some decent climbs so a good level of fitness is required. From the high points there are wonderful views over the national park and the village.
The walk starts in the village where there is a good sized car park at the National Park Visitor Centre. Here you'll find an all-weather centre and activity hub, with interactive displays, films, inspiring exhibitions and a children's discovery area. From here you can pick up the Abbot's Way and climb north west up to the Television Station on North Hessary Tor. The hill stands at a height of 517 metres and includes the North Hessary Tor transmitting station - an FM radio and television transmitter which uses a 196 metres (643 ft) high guyed mast.
The route continues to Rundlestone where you turn west to Merrivale. The hamlet is best known for the nearby series of Bronze Age megalithic monuments to the south and a former granite quarry. It's an interesting area and worth exploring for a while before you continue along the path. You can see burial chambers, stone rows and a Menhir (Standing stone) on the fascinating site. There's also a cafe where you can stop for refreshments.
The route continues south west across Whitchurch Common, passing Moortown, Pew Tor and Feather Tor on the way. At Warren's Cross you pick up the Dartmoor Way and head east toward Sampford Spiney. The little hamlet includes the noteworthy church of St Mary which is Grade I listed and dates from the medieval period.
You continue east through Dittisham Woods towards Ingra Tor. Here you pick up the trackbed of the former Yelverton to Princetown railway which was the highest railway line in England before it closed in 1956. It passes some interesting old bridges and King's Tor before returning to Princetown. Here you can enjoy refreshments at one of the nice pubs.
There's lots of other good walking options you can try from the village.Wistman's Wood is a National Nature Reserve with a number of stunted oak trees with gnarled, tangled branches. It's an unusal and fascinating area with a variety of rarely seen flora and fauna. Near here you can also visit Bellever Forest and Bellever Tor where there are more fabulous views to enjoy. You could also follow the Dartmoor Way east to Dartmeet where the tributaries of the East Dart and West Dart meet.
For waterside walking head to Burrator Reservoir where there's a nice trail around the water. You can also pick up a footpath along the Devonport Leat near here.
Princetown Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Princetown Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Princetown OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Princetown Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Back in the village The Plume Of Feathers Inn is a fine choice for some post walk refreshment. The historic pub dates back to 1785 and retains many of its original features such as slate floors, wooden beams and granite walls. Inside there's a cosy fire for the winter, while outside there's a lovely garden if the sun is shining. They serve high quality food using fresh, seasonal local produce. You can find them at Plymouth Hill with a postcode of PL20 6QQ for your sat navs.
The trails make for a fine dog walk and the Plume Of Feathers mentioned above is also dog friendly.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
One of the hidden gems of the area lies just to the west of the village at the Foggintor Quarry. You can follow the Dartmoor Way west along a dismantled railway line to reach the site. Here you'll find a tranquil lake surrounded by the atmospheric quarry ruins. There's also the option of continuing west to visit King's Tor where there are more great views to enjoy.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Dartmoor Walks page.