Dartmoor National Park offers a variety of stunning woodland walking trails. Here are some of the best woodland walks on Dartmoor, with paths through ancient forests and along riversides.

Bellever forest aerial view

Bellever Forest Circular Walk

Bellever Forest is one of Dartmoor’s largest forests and offers several walking trails suitable for different abilities. You can explore ancient oak woods and enjoy the beauty of the River Dart, head to Bellever Tor for unforgettable views or experience some historic Bronze Age landmarks on your trek.

Experiences for all abilities can be found here, with more accessible routes available. There is an easy access surfaced route from the car park to the East Dart riverbank or a longer circular route suitable for trampers and bicycles.

The Postbridge trail is a circular walking route, which takes you through enchanting oak woods and along the banks of the River Dart. It’s a relatively easy walk, making it suitable for all ages. This route boasts stunning views out across open moorland, plus the opportunity to make a detour up Bellever Tor if you fancy. You may spot ponies or deer while out waking here.

Teign Gorge

Teign Gorge Walk

Teign Gorge is one of Dartmoor’s most dramatic wooded valleys. Walking here takes you through the ancient woodland of the gorge, offering glimpses of wildlife and the enchanting sights of the river below.

You can follow a circular walking route through the Teign Gorge from Fingle Bridge to Castle Drogo or vice versa. Mill End Hotel is close to the start of the route if heading out from Fingle Bridge, making us an ideal location to stay if you want to enjoy a walking holiday on Dartmoor or just pop in after your trek to enjoy some delicious refreshments in our restaurant.

Explore more walks you can enjoy from Mill End Hotel:

Wistman's Wood

Wistman’s Wood

Walking through Wistman’s Wood gives you the chance to explore a mystical and unique ancient forest, characterised by stunted oak trees covered in moss and lichen. This is one of the most iconic woodlands on Dartmoor. There is a circular route along a waymarked path from Two Bridges car park, which offers a chance to immerse yourself in Dartmoor’s folklore and natural beauty.

It is important that you follow the Natural England signs around the wood and not walk through it. As a popular destination on the moors, the woods have been under considerable visitor pressure, which has caused damage to the trees and lichen. To avoid further damage to the delicate ecosystem of Wistman’s Woods, visitors are encouraged to stick to the designated paths and refrain from entering the woodland itself.

Kennick Reservoir

Kennick Reservoir

Kennick Reservoir is surrounded by stunning pine woodland, making this an ideal place to head if you’re after a peaceful walk through woodland and waterside trails. You can start your walk from the car park at the southern end of the reservoir before heading east along the reservoir into the Clampitt Plantation. From there, follow woodland trails to the north of the water, where you can follow waterside trails.

Kennick Reservoir is well-stocked with rainbow trout, as well as being home to wild brown trout, making this an ideal spot for keen fishers to visit.

Discover more places to fish on Dartmoor:

fishing on dartmoor

burrator woods

Burrator Reservoir Circular Walk

This circular walk explores the woodlands around Burrator Reservoir, offering peaceful surroundings and beautiful views of the water. This area offers a combination of woodland and lakeside walking, so you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the reservoir and then venture into the nearby woods. The trail takes you through mixed woodland, making it an excellent choice for a relaxing woodland walk. After it rains, parts of this trail can become very muddy, so it’s a good idea to wear wellies if you want to explore this area.

hembury woods

Image Credit: Derek Harper under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Hembury Woods

This is a beautiful ancient woodland located on the south-eastern edge of Dartmoor and is managed by the National Trust. In the woods, you will find a network of paths to follow, offering plenty of routes to explore. You could take a gentle walk along the River Dart riverside and back or venture uphill to explore the Iron Age hillfort before heading down to the river for a circular walk.

lydford gorge

Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge offers a stunning walk through ancient woodlands along the Whitelady Waterfall in the picturesque valley of the River Lyd. It’s owned by the National Trust and is the deepest river gorge in the South West of England. You’ll find a range of walking trails here through the Lydford Forest and along the riverside. This diverse woodland is home to a variety of animal and plant life, including some of the rarest butterfly species in the UK, so keep an eye out while you walk!

Exploring Dartmoor with your dog? Check out our recommendations for dog-friendly walks on Dartmoor:

If you want to go walking on Dartmoor, remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. While most places have designated walking paths that are fairly easy to follow, the ground can get slippery when it rains. Additionally, always check the current weather conditions and any safety guidelines provided by Dartmoor National Park or local authorities, as some woodland paths may be closed for tree felling or after extreme weather.

If you’re looking to explore Dartmoor on a walking holiday, Mill End Hotel near Chagford is the ideal destination. After your woodland walk, warm up in front of our log fire with a hearty meal or in one of our cosy rooms!

For even more walks that showcase the National Park at its best, check out our best Dartmoor family walks.