Dartmoor National Park - Take A Walk On The Wild Side

An introduction. 

Covering an area of 368 sq miles (954 sq km), Dartmoor National Park contains the largest and wildest area of open country in the south of England. I like to call Mongolia my 'number one' office and Dartmoor my 'number two' office. 

(Yes. I did write Mongolia. It's not a mistake. The main ethos of EL Mongolia is to support local on all the trips we offer. But that philosophy was created somewhere completely different to Mongolia. On Dartmoor National Park in Devon in the UK - where I have grown up and where I make my home when I'm not in Mongolia.)

Dartmoor is a glorious wild open space. It has extensive wild open moorland - a large part of which (65%) is made up of granite. The moor is capped with many exposed high granite hilltops known as tors. There are over 160 tors on Dartmoor making them a principal aspect and characteristic feature of Dartmoor's landscape. They also provide magnificent views over the  deep wooded valley and small fields enclosed by stone walls and hedge banks that surround. 

There are over 40 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) with the DNP covering 26,169 hectares (64,664 acres). The two main sites of North Dartmoor and South Dartmoor total over 20,000 hectares (49,420 acres). I spend most of my time on North Dartmoor.

Archaeology dominates as much as nature with over 1,000 Scheduled Ancient Monuments. If you like statistics, over half the stone rows in England are to be found on Dartmoor, together with over 5,000 prehistoric hut circles, 10,000 hectares of Bronze Age field systems and almost 2,500 historic buildings. 

For over 5,000 years farming has been the main land use on Dartmoor. Working and re-working the land, farmers have created, shaped  and maintained a large part of the Dartmoor landscape. East Okement Farm is the highest working farm on Dartmoor, close to where I live  and forms the centrepiece to one of my favourite walks on the moor. 

True, it does have a bit of a reputation when it comes to weather.  The higher altitude and exposed nature of the landscape creates 'more weather'. And yes, it is now February as I write this but (although you may not believe me), winter on Dartmoor is invigorating and stimulating. With winter walks over open moorland blowing away the cobwebs - finished off with a drink of local cider or pale ale by the fire in a local pub such as The Tors up at Belstone or the Northmore Arms out at Throwleigh.

I've started road testing some ideas so if you're interested then let me know and you can come and join me for free. Come and be refreshed, revived and energised by the wilderness and weather of the winter landscapes of Dartmoor National park. 

Alternatively, if you're thinking of travelling to Mongolia with EL and want to come and have a chat, I'm more than happy to help put a Devon weekend together for you and to take you on a guided walk 'up on the Moor.' You can contact me on jess@eternal-landscapes.co.uk.
I look forward to hearing from you!

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