Fingle Woods Wooston Castle Circular Walk, Drewsteignton, Dartmoor National Park

Fingle Woods Wooston Castle Circular Walk, Drewsteignton, Dartmoor National Park

Fingle Woods (National Trust/Woodland Trust) is an area of woodland in the north eastern section of Dartmoor National Park. Wooston Castle is a hillfort within the woods. Below are two route descriptions for walks to Wooston Castle within Fingle Woods.


1. Saw Mill Car Park to Wooston Castle and the 'White waymarker' walk Fingle Woods

After the Woodland Trust and the National Trust acquired Fingle Woods, information boards entitled 'Explore Fingle Woods' began to appear at popular entry points to the woods. Specifically, the information boards outline three suggested walks. Each walk is signposted on the ground with 'Green waymarkers', 'White waymarkers' and 'Black waymarkers'. This route description follows one way in which you can complete the 'White waymarker' route. The walk runs past Wooston Castle Hillfort and offers spectacular views west along Fingle Woods and the Teign Gorge to the National Trust's Castle Drogo and Dartmoor National Park's high north plateau beyond. On a clear day, you'll see Cosdon Beacon on Cosdon Hill.

Refer to the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map. Locate Clifford Bridge on the River Teign between Dunsford and Drewsteignton. A skinny road climbs steeply from Clifford Bridge and a cluster of houses before splitting at the southern border of Hitchcombe Wood about half a kilometre fromWooston Castle Hillfort. Where the road splits is the Fingle Woods Saw Mill Car Park. A little further west is the Wooston Castle Hillfort Car Park.

From Saw Mill car park, follow the forestry track that drops down in to Hitchcombe Wood. Very shortly, this connects with another forestry track. Head west, or left, and you'll come to a clearing with the aforementioned view down Fingle Woods to the Teign Gorge. Castle Drogo is just visible on the northern lip of the gorge. Dartmoor's high plateau is miles beyond.

To your right, you'll see a path cutting across a ditch and through earthworks. This is one entrance to Wooston Castle Hillfort. Have a good explore. The view from the western earthwork is, again, stunning. Retrace your steps to the initial viewpoint. A path curls under the hillfort. It's very steep near the valley floor. Eventually, you'll come to the River Teign.

Walk the bank of the Teign west, or left, in the direction of Fingle Bridge. You'll come to a large turning circle with a sign post. Follow the sign for 'Wooston Hillfort' [sic]. Note the white tip on the waymarker. It's a long, steady ascent through woodland. You pass more white waymarkers and the 'lonely larch' in a turning circle. Beautiful views appear through the trees. At the top, the forestry track bends to the viewpoint next to Wooston Castle Hillfort. From there, walk back to the car park.

This circular walk took us roughly two hours to complete.


2. Fingle Bridge to Wooston Castle

Start at Fingle Bridge. There's parking near the pub or, better, across the bridge on the south side of the River Teign. You'll see a block of toilets. Walk past these and you'll pick up a wide forestry road that runs along the bank of the river in the direction of Clifford Bridge.

About half a mile east of Fingle Bridge, you'll come to a turning area from which three paths run. We've photographed this so view the photo gallery for visual information. Take the middle path and follow waymarkers with white arrows on them up through Butterdon Ball Wood and Houndsmoor Wood to Wooston Castle Hillfort. The views west from the hillfort's ramparts are particularly impressive. You'll see Prestonbury Hillfort and the National Trust's Castle Drogo (National Trust) with Dartmoor's high north plateau behind. If you know Dartmoor well, you'll be able to identify Hangingstone Hill and Cosdon Hill on the skyline.

From Wooston Castle Hillfort, continue following the white arrows east until you come to a car parking area near to where two narrow roads meet. Walk down one of these roads to Clifford's Bridge. Before you get to Clifford's Bridge, you'll see the forestry road to your left. Return along the south bank of the River Teign to Fingle Bridge.

The National Trust and the Woodland Trust opened up Fingle Woods in March 2014. We've returned to the woods many times since. National Trust workers were adding waymarkers at that time. They said that an information board was to be added at Wooston Castle Hillfort and the car parking area properly established by the two roads mentioned above.

This circular walk took us under three hours to complete.