If you’re taking a trip to Dartmoor National Park, it’s more than likely that a walk across the majestic moors will be on the agenda. With sweeping views, the famous Tors and stunning moorland landscapes, there’s plenty to enjoy along the many trails and routes found across Dartmoor.

Making the Most of Your Dartmoor Family Walks

Dartmoor is a great walking spot for families and kids as the terrain is pretty easy to navigate, and many of the trails aren’t too far from pit stops, where you can rest up and recharge. Even if you do venture to some of the Tors, the walks aren’t too challenging and there’s loads of fun to be had along the way.

Add some of these Dartmoor family walks to your itinerary to see the National Park at its best.

1. Haytor

An iconic Dartmoor sight, Haytor is a must for anyone looking for a rewarding, scenic walk. As a popular spot, especially during the summer, the path is well-trodden and you’ll likely come across lots of fellow walkers. Once you get to the Tor, the kids will have loads of fun climbing over boulders and admiring the sights.

For a longer walk, you can take the Haytor Quarry circular walk to trek amongst the diverse flowers and plants and along the disused Haytor Granite Tramway before stopping for a spot of wild swimming.

Haytor by Calips. CC BY-SA 3.0

2. Avon Dam

If you want a slightly longer walk, you can take the circular route starting from the car park at Shipley Bridge, circling past the dam and back. However, for little legs, a walk to the dam and back the same way will be equally rewarding and offer more than plenty of excitement and intrigue.

Much of the path to the dam is wheelchair-friendly and is surrounded by some stunning views across the reservoir to capture everyone’s imaginations. The routes along here are ancient and steeped in history – if you take the longer route, there are a couple of historic markers to spot.

Avon Dam
The Avon Dam by Adrian Platt. CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge is managed by the National Trust. It’s the deepest river gorge in the South West and, as such, boasts some unbeatable views. After a short trek down to the bottom of the gorge, you’ll be rewarded with the impressive Whitelady Waterfall that flows from the cliff into the River Lyd.

Best woodland walks on dartmoor

The circular walk then heads back through ancient woodland and temperate rainforest. Keep your eyes peeled for birds and other wildlife as you journey through the trees. There is a bird hide hidden amongst the woodland, so you may be lucky enough to spot some of the gorge’s more elusive residents.

Whitelady Gorge
The White Lady waterfall at Lydford Gorge by A. R. Yeo MortimerCat. CC BY-SA 3.0

4. Potter’s Walk

This tranquil stroll around Fernworthy Reservoir is ideal for younger children. As the route is almost entirely flat with no styes or gates to tackle, you’ll have no trouble traversing the path and admiring the water and woodland scenes.

Just 0.75 miles long, this walk is suitable for even the littlest adventurers, and they’re sure to have a blast spotting ducks and geese on the water and wondering what else lurks beneath its depths! You’ll also find a picnic spot with benches so you can set up for rest while relishing the peaceful surroundings.

Fernworthy resevoir
Fernworthy Reservoir by Kate Jewell. CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Hound Tor

If you’re after another quintessential Dartmoor experience, Hound Tor should be on your list. The trek up to the rocky summit leads to some spectacular views across the moor, giving you an amazing vantage point of the sweeping sights below.

Just below the Tor, there is a deserted mediaeval village to explore where you can get up close and personal with the past. If you want to stretch out your amble into a longer trek, you can head along the circular walk that also takes you through Haytor.

Hound Tor
Hound Tor by Alan Hunt. CC BY-SA 2.0

6. Castle Drogo

Another National Trust location, Castle Drogo, is an interesting example of dramatic 20th-century architecture. After you’ve explored the castle and its hidden treasures, take to the estate grounds and walk amongst the gardens and ancient gorge.

Whether you’re just taking a stroll around the grounds or want to embark on the Teign Gorge classic circuit route, there are a few trails to take where you’ll encounter some unmissable Dartmoor scenes.

Castle Drogo
Approaching Castle Drogo by Derek Harper. CC BY-SA 2.0

The walks we’ve covered here are suitable for a range of ability levels, so the whole family is sure to have a memorable time in the great outdoors!

Need a place to stay on your grand Dartmoor adventure? Our hotel in Chagford is ideally located to ensure you can make the most of the local surroundings and attractions.