Manaton to Heaven's Gate via Hisley Bridge Circular Walk, Manaton, Dartmoor National Park

Manaton to Heaven's Gate via Hisley Bridge Circular Walk, Manaton, Dartmoor National Park

Walking a section of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve and Lustleigh Cleave

This walk takes you from the pretty village Manaton through a section of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve to Lustleigh Cleave.

This can be done as a walk or on horseback.

 

How far is it and how long will it take?

The walk is roughly 8 km/5 m in length.

The Ordnance Survey app states that this takes about 2.10 hrs. We tend to cover a Dartmoor mile in 30 mins so plan for 2.30 hrs to enjoy the views and take photos.

 

What's the walking like?

You're walking a steep-sided river valley so expect some steep descents and ascents.

 

Is there a path?

Yes, you're following paths in Manaton, Horsham, Water, the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve and Lustleigh Cleave.

Note that this river valley is criss-crossed with paths used by local walkers. We'd recommend sticking to the paths outlined on the Ordnance Survey app or Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map on your first walk in the cleave.

 

Is it well signposted?

Yes and no. There are signposts but the area is heavily wooded so it's relatively easy to wander off the path.

We'd recommend referring to the Ordnance Survey app or Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map whilst reading this route description. Take a map and compass and check directions regularly.

 

Start from the car park in Manaton

Park in Manaton car park. Head north up the lane to the right of the village green and take the track and footpath to the right after approximately 100 metres known locally as Slinkers Lane.*

 

Horsham to Houndtor Wood

At the end of the rocky path at Horsham, turn right on to the track past the 'hobbit house' to Water.

Follow the track through the houses and back on to a paved road. Don't turn right but follow the lane which is part of the Dartmoor Way past Beckams where it again becomes a rocky track. Horse riders be warned, it is very rocky but possible!

The track goes through a gate into the plantation of Houndtor Wood. Right leads to Becky Falls, a short circular route, and left uphill goes back towards Lustleigh Cleave. Instead, keep on up the middle track that zig zags down the plantation to a bridge with a gate.

 

Hisley Bridge

Cross the Becka Brook and follow the Dartmoor Way beside the river with Trendlebere Down on your right. You will pass a wooden footbridge. This is a short cut up the Manaton Old Road. Continue to Hisley Bridge by going left through a gate by a large, round boulder. Horse riders can go through the ford or clamber over the ancient bridge. Follow the track that climbs up to the left of the other side of the river, now heading N/E.

At the top, you have a choice. You can either go through a small gate out of the plantation and follow the path bearing left and straight on or turn right up the hill for Heaven's Gate and Lustleigh.

Horse riders can take advantage of a great switchback canter by ignoring the first small gate (don't run over any walkers!) and turning left at the next gate further up.

 

Footbridge/Clam Bridge over the River Bovey

Follow the path through Lustleigh Cleave, taking the left fork downhill to reach the River Bovey at a wooden footbridge. This was helicoptered in a few years ago to replace the slippery Clam Bridge.

Horse riders can follow the blue waymarkers to a fairly muddy ford 200m to the right. Follow the rocky path west uphill. It can be a bit of a stream in wet weather.

Eventually, you'll reach Water from which you retrace your steps to Manaton car park.

 

*For horse riders in a hurry, head back along the main road and take the lane to Water just past the Kestor Inn.