Dartmoor’s versatile landscape hosts forests, rivers, open rugged grassland, wetlands, and defining rocky tors – a great place to discover South Devon’s natural beauty. When looking at hotels in Chagford, Dartmoor, Mill End Hotel is situated ideally in Dartmoor’s National Park, consisting of 954 km² of natural outdoor space for families to explore, offering the perfect place to stay.

But that’s not all, though, as visiting this scenic landscape also has its perks! There’s an abundance of free days out on Dartmoor – ensuring you can enjoy a fulfilling yet affordable holiday. In this guide, we’ll explore the numerous things you can do for free on Dartmoor for everyone to enjoy.

Dartmoor National Park

Nestled in the heart of South Devon, Dartmoor National Park invites all to explore its wild beauty without an entry fee. Managed and cared for by the Dartmoor National Park Authority, the park is the perfect place for families and couples to enjoy the offerings of its captivating landscape. Dartmoor offers endless opportunities for adventurous days out from rugged terrains, granite tors, serene rivers, and sprawling moorlands. 

Cycle along scenic trails, enjoy a leisurely stroll or challenging hike or even try pony trekking for the family’s youngest members – all while immersing yourself in the park’s 47,000 hectares of rich history. 

5 best Dartmoor cycle trails

Burrator Reservoir

Burrator Reservoir is a tranquil haven for all nature enthusiasts. Built in the late 19th century to supply drinking water to Plymouth, this expansive body of water spans 148 acres and is surrounded by dense woodlands and beautiful rolling hills. The contrast of the characteristic woodland against the large open moor makes for picturesque photographs and incredible memories. 

Burrator Reservoir

Why not walk along the reservoir shores, taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding moorland and towering tors? If fishing is your activity of choice – then you’re in luck! Burrator Reservoir offers fishing enthusiasts the chance to reel in fresh brown and rainbow trout (just ensure you have a fishing permit from South West Lakes). 

Visit Dartmoor’s Free Art Galleries

Dartmoor has a range of art galleries with free admission so that you can enjoy the stunning artwork of some of the best artists in the Southwest. You’re spoilt for choice with the choice of Wildwood Arts, MAKE Southwest, Salar Gallery, Green Hill Art, and Stone Lane Gardens (an immersive outdoor exhibition).

Visiting Darmoor’s free galleries offers an enriching experience for art lovers – providing a deeper appreciation of the area’s natural beauty. Exploring these galleries offers a welcome respite from outdoor activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in culture while enjoying Dartmoor’s serene surroundings.

House of Marbles

Nestled east, just outside Dartmoor’s National Park, lies the House of Marbles – a captivating place full of creativity and fun! This unique game store is more than what meets the eye and is more than just shopping. The House of Marbles offers free entry, welcoming visitors to explore a fascinating world of marbles, games, and glassware. 

Discover a mesmerising collection of vintage marbles, the most creative marble runs, intricate glassworks, and nostalgic toys. Engage in interactive exhibits, marvel at skilled glassblowing demonstrations, or challenge yourself in a giant marble run. 

But that’s not all! With a welcoming cafe serving homemade treats and a delightful gift shop to browse, this place promises a memorable experience for visitors to enjoy – especially those with young families!

Wistman’s Wood

Wistmans wood

This ancient woodland consists of twisted, moss-covered oaks and meandering pathways and exudes an otherworldly atmosphere, captivating all who wander through it. With a reputation of legendary folklore telling tales of ethereal spirits and fairies, Wistman’s Wood has a captivating allure of mystery and enchantment.

Located in the Dart River valley, these woods have a rare and fragile habitat with a wealth of birdlife to watch. As a protected environment, it’s essential to stick to the pathways to preserve its beauty. If you want to immerse yourself in a unique nature reserve – Wistman’s Wood is the place to be!

Meldon Viaduct

Standing as a testament to Victorian engineering, Meldon Viaduct is a striking architectural marvel nestled in the small town of Okehampton, Dartmoor. This historic structure spans the stunning Meldon Gorge, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding moorland and reservoir below. 

Once forming part of the iconic London and South Western Railway, today it stands as a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts, providing a picturesque backdrop for leisurely walks or exhilarating adventures. And what’s even better is that admission to the Granite Way cycle path is free of charge!

Dartmoor is a treasure trove of natural wonders just waiting to be explored. From the serene beauty of Dartmoor’s National Park to the awe-inspiring views from Meldon Viaduct, Dartmoor has many free things to do in the area. 

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