Devon is a county well known for its cream teas. It would probably be a criminal offence to head down there and not enjoy an afternoon with a pot of tea and scones laden with clotted cream and jam! Importantly, in Devon, the correct way to eat a scone is to split it in half and top first with clotted cream and then strawberry jam. If you were to do jam first then cream you’d be having it the Cornish way. Best save that for once you’ve crossed the Tamar River into Cornwall!
So, on my short stay in Devon I was absolutely determined to treat myself to a cream tea after a little jaunt on Dartmoor. The village we chose for our tea was Widecombe-in-the-Moor, a beautiful village in the Widecombe valley of Dartmoor. We stopped at the Wayside Cafe and had some lunch and scones – I can whole-heartedly recommend it!
The reason we deserved this delicious pit-stop was because we had spent the morning visiting and climbing Haytor! Haytor is a large granite rocky outcrop in Dartmoor – it is pretty famous because it is one of Devon’s most iconic spots with great views from the top. It will probably be quite busy as a lot of tourists visit (including busloads of tourists in the summer months) but if you visit early in the day or during the low season you’ll have the place almost to yourself.
If you’re afraid of heights you might not love the climb up the rocky part of the Tor – it is in places quite scary with a few big steps/jumps over big gaps and near slightly scary edges. If there are children around whilst you are visiting you will no doubt be put to shame by their goat-like sure-footedness as you carefully creep around and up the Tor! It’s not a very hard climb though – most people would manage it in decent shoes!
Reaching the top (a grand height of 457m/1499ft) is a real reward – just look at these views!
If you want to challenge yourself a little further you can even do some climbing (the kind of climbing that requires a harness) up one of the rocky faces of the Tor. Or the National Park website has some great ideas for longer walks both guided and self-guided on Dartmoor itself. Walking is free in the National Park but you usually have to pay for parking! A nice cheap day out if you’re on a budget!
Another reason people find themselves visiting Dartmoor is to see the famous wild Dartmoor Ponies. These small, hardy ponies do really well in the wild open moors. They are absolutely adorable – especially in winter when they are all fluffy! If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these guys you’ll be delighted. Make sure not to feed the ponies though – they are wild animals and should be treated respectfully!
On your way home make sure to spend some time getting lost in the teeny tiny roads that surround and zig zag across Dartmoor. The drive itself will be an event with herds of sheep crossing the roads, beautiful buildings, woodlands and animals to see as you pass!
If you’ve had any great experiences in and around Dartmoor please share them with us in the comments…