Mariners' Way in Dartmoor, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Mariners' Way in Dartmoor, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

The Mariners' Way runs between Dartmouth on the South Devon coast and Bideford on the North Devon coast. Mariners walked the route to work on the ships at these Devon ports. This listing covers the Mariners' Way in Dartmoor National Park.

Among the highlights of this route are the ancient farms through which you pass. Some of the buildings are exquisite.

We're based in the north east section of the Park. As such, all descriptions of long distance paths on Dartmoor run north to south or east to west. This route description starts at South Zeal near the northern border of the National Park and runs down to Natsworthy just up the valley from Widecombe-in-the-Moor. You can't walk the route south of this because it runs across private land on its way to Ashburton.

Section 1. South Zeal to Gidleigh.

Section 2. Gidleigh to Natsworthy.

Section 3. Natsworthy to Ashburton (no public access).

If you're looking to walk the Mariners' Way in Dartmoor National Park, we'd recommend completing Section 2 outlined below. It's a beautiful walk taking you through ancient hamlets with remarkable buildings.


Section 1. South Zeal to Gidleigh

Use the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 ‘Dartmoor’ map to follow these directions. Roads and paths are marked on that map. Start at South Zeal. Walk to the moorland road that runs west of Ramsley Hill. Follow this moorland road towards East Week. Just before East Week, take the path on your right that runs past Throwleigh to the road leading to Moortown. From Moortown, follow road then path to Gidleigh.


Section 2. Gidleigh to Natsworthy

At Gidleigh, wander past the Mariner’s Way signpost to Gidleigh Park (North/South Park). You pass Gidleigh Tor on your right and drop down to a footbridge spanning the North Teign River. Note that the luxury Gidleigh Park Hotel is downstream. Yomp up through the woods and you come to a road. Follow the road down to Teigncombe. On a bend in the road to your right is a track. Wander up the track and very shortly you’ll see a gate and sign to your left. You pass through another gate, cross a field and come to a wooden walkway that runs above a long stretch of boggy moorland. At the end of the walkway, you cross another field and road and pass through a section of woodland until you come to a track with spectacular views across to Meldon Hill, Chagford and the National Trust’s Castle Drogo. The track ends at Great Frenchbeer.

At Great Frenchbeer, cross the road and walk through the farmyard until you come to another track that runs alongside a high wall. This is Teignworthy. At the end of the wall, turn right and drop down the steep hill to the footbridge that spans the South Teign River. It’s a stiff yomp up the other side to a cluster of fields. Cross these to Yardworthy. Pass through the farm and you come to the Chagford to Fernworthy Forest moorland road. When you come to the road, you’ll see a granite ladder on the other side of the road. Climb this and follow the signs to Lower Shapley, Higher Shapley and then the beautiful Hurston.

From Hurston, wander over fields to Jurston. You cross another moorland road and a ford and then follow a track to Lettaford. Follow the signs across the fields to the busy B3212. Take care crossing the road and head for the house at Leapra Cross.

You now walk across fields and through ancient hamlets. The buildings at West Coombe are amazing. Continue through Lower Hookner and Kendon to Heathercombe. You pass through a plantation and come out at the ford by Natsworthy.


Section 3. Natsworthy to Ashburton (no public access)

From Natsworthy, walk the road that runs between Hamel Down and Honeybag/Chinkwell Tors to Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Realistically, this is as far you can go. The route from here used to run close to the east bank of the East Webburn River to Lizwell Meet where the East Webburn River joins the West Webburn River to form the River Webburn. The route then continued east of the River Webburn to where it met the River Dart. It then ran near the east bank of the River Dart to Holne Bridge and across to Ashburton. Most of this section is on private land so we’ve been unable to walk it when researching this listing.