With a rich and legendary history, Dartmoor is known for being one of the best places to visit in the UK for historical landmarks. If you plan to soak in some of Dartmoor’s history, there are plenty of sensational places to discover the past.

1. Fernworthy Stone Circle 

Fernworthy Stone Circle is located in Chagford on the North-East edge of Dartmoor. This stone circle resides in a clearing within the forestry plantation of Fernworthy reservoir. The stone circle is made up of 29 granite slabs. 

It is said that this famous circle was made around 4000 years ago, standing the test of time. The Dartmoor Exploration Committee discovered the circle in 1897 and reported layers of charcoal within the circle. Some say that the charcoal remains indicate the use of fire and that the stone circle served as a ritualistic monument.

Fernworthy Stone circle in daylight
A pony on Dartmoor

2. Ditsworthy Warren House 

This grade II listed farmhouse sits abandoned in one of the most beautiful areas of Dartmoor. This property can be spotted along the southern-western edge. You can gracefully walk uphill from Sheepstor to view this fantastic picturesque historical landmark of Dartmoor. 

This beautiful farmhouse is featured in the 2011 film ‘War Horse’ directed by Steven Spielberg. Believed to date back to the 16th century, this legendary house is popular with tourists. 

Be sure to visit our blog for more information on some fantastic locations on Dartmoor used for films.

3. Postbridge Clapper Bridge 

One of the best-preserved bridges in Dartmoor, Postbridge Clapper Bridge is one of the most famous historical places to visit. This medieval bridge consists of three massive granite piers supporting four huge slabs, which tourists can walk on. 

The 12th-century Clapper bridge is one of the most photographed historical landmarks standing over the East Dart river of Dartmoor. The bridge is the hub of Dartmoor, with a village store, post office and information centre close.

Stone clapper bridge in Postbridge
Wistman Wood

4. Wistman’s Wood 

Wistman’s Wood is like a fairytale novel brought to life. This historical landmark is located in Princetown and is noted for its winding trees, lichens, mosses and ferns. The ancient woodlands can be accessed easily on the Waymarked path from Two Bridges car park. 

The woodland has been unspoilt for hundreds of years, and the trees are said to be 200-400 years old. Please refrain from entering the woods, as the historic landmark is slowly eroding under visitor pressure.

5. Grimspound 

In Postbridge, Grimspound dates back from the late Bronze age and perfectly visualises past ancestors transitioning from hunting to farming. Grimspound is an excellent boundary wall that is 150 metres in diameter and 1.5 metres high. Grimspound was created to keep wild animals out and farm animals in. 

If you climb Hookney Tor, you can see a fascinating view of the site! Another great area to see Grimspound in all its glory is Hameldown.

Granite Rocks placed on Dartmoor
Buckfast Abbey

6. Buckfast Abbey 

On the edge of Dartmoor lies one of the top tourist attractions, Buckfast Abbey. Founded by King Canute in 1018, Buckfast Abbey is home to Benedictine Monks who, for years, have lovingly rebuilt the Abbey church and re-established the monastery into a shining jewel of a historic landmark.

Buckfast Abbey is visited by thousands of tourists every year. The Abbey has award-winning gardens such as the Millennium, physic and the famous lavender garden. The Abbey holds various fascinating art treasures, lantern ceilings, stained glass windows and a modern sacrament chapel.

Image Credit: Barry Lewis under Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike 2.0 Generic license.

7. Castle Drogo

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens 100 years ago, Castle Drogo is the last Castle built in England and is a sensational National Trust building. Edwin designed this 20th-century castle to showcase medieval flair within its interiors. Today, tourists can soak up the castle’s history and stroll in the stunning gardens that are beaming with wildlife. 

The castle hosts a fantastic cafe that serves traditional Devon cream teas and locally sourced food and drinks options for all to enjoy.

Image Credit: Mr Eugene Birchall under Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike 2.0 Generic license.

Castle Drogo
Dartmoor in Grey Clouds

8. Merrivale Prehistoric Settlement 

Between 2500 BC and 1000 BC, a group of monuments were made at Merrivale Settlement. The Merrivale prehistoric settlement is situated within the Bronze Age settlement, and this historical site was used for over 1500 years.

From East to West, the settlement is made up of stone rows. The stones are higher in the East and decrease in height when you travel to the West. It has been claimed that off-centre cists of rock along the stone rows are burial places of high-status people from the past. This historical site is popular with tourists as the stone rows are adjacent to a main road.

9. Childe’s Tomb 

On Fox Tor, in open moorland, lies a reconstructed granite tomb topped with a cross. The grave is said to be the tomb of Childe the Hunter, and the story of Childe the Hunter is one of the most famous legends of Dartmoor. 

The legend says that Childe was out hunting on his horse and was caught in a blizzard. The blizzard made it extremely difficult for Childe to travel. Childe tried to wait out the storm and, in desperation, slew his horse and climbed inside, seeking warmth. Childe was found many weeks later frozen to death. 

Although Childe the Hunters’ final resting place is in Tavistock, the legend says that Childe’s tomb marks where his body was found.

Image Credit: Herby under Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 and 1.0 Generic license. 

Childe’s tomb
Deserted Village of Hound Tor

10. The Deserted Village of Hound Tor 

On the Eastern edge of Dartmoor, the extensive remains of a 13th-century settlement can be found. The settlement contains a cluster of long stone houses on land used for farming in the bronze age. 

In the 13th century, around 10 – 20, villagers were farming ten acres of land. Each of the properties had a small barn and space for livestock. The village was then abandoned in the 14th century due to poor weather conditions, famine and a pandemic.

Image Credit: Nilfanion under Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike 4.0 International license. 

Are you thinking about taking a historical adventure to Dartmoor? Why not stay at our hotel on Dartmoor? We offer the most amazing stay for all history buffs who have the desire to explore the moor.