River Bovey Lustleigh Cleave Circular Walk, Manaton, Dartmoor National Park

River Bovey Lustleigh Cleave Circular Walk, Manaton, Dartmoor National Park

The River Bovey and beautiful ancient woodland

The River Bovey cuts a beautiful, steep-sided valley between the pretty village North Bovey and the Dartmoor gateway town Bovey Tracey.

This walk takes you alongside the river and into the lower section of Lustleigh Cleave. It's a gentle river and woodland walk that avoids the upper walls of the valley.


How far is it and how long will it take?

The walk is roughly 6 km/4 m in length.

The Ordnance Survey app states that this takes about 1.30 hrs. We tend to cover a Dartmoor mile in 30 mins so plan for 2 hrs to enjoy the views and take photos.


What's the walking like?

It's mostly gentle walking along the valley floor and through woodland. There's a steep-ish climb from Clam Bridge (see below) into Lustleigh Cleave and a moderate return ascent to the car park from which you start. It's not difficult.


Is there a path?

Yes, you're following paths by the River Bovey and in Lustleigh Cleave.

Note that Lustleigh Cleave 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 by the River Bovey and in Lustleigh Cleave 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 parking area above Pullbrook Wood and by Yarner Wood

If you follow the road from Bovey Tracey past the National Trust's Parke towards Becky Falls and Manaton, you'll pass a car parking area and viewpoint at a bend on the road above Pullbrook Wood and by Yarner Wood. The car parking area is marked on the Ordnance Survey app and Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map. There's an information board and super views of where you'll be walking. Roughly speaking, the lower end of the view is the Bovey Valley Woodlands. Lustleigh Cleave is the huge valley wall at the back right.

Note that there are plenty of other parking areas just up the road on the right if the first is full.

We recommend starting from here because the car parking areas are easily accessible.

You can start from the car parking areas at Drakeford Bridge (east of Pullbrook Wood/Hisley Wood), Hammerslake (below Sharpitor/Lustleigh Cleave) or Manaton (by the church) to connect with this walk but these take a little more effort to get to.


Descend to Hisley Bridge

Follow one of the paths from the car parking area down through the bracken towards the River Bovey. You'll connect with a rough road that leads to the pretty old packhorse bridge Hisley Bridge.


Becka Brook

Continue on the rough road to a smaller, modern bridge over Becka Brook. Cross Becka Brook and then walk along the southern bank of the River Bovey. The path is marked on OS mapping.


Clam Bridge and Lustleigh Cleave

At the next bridge, helicoptered in to replace the slippery Clam Bridge, cross the river and continue up and right/south east through Lustleigh Cleave to Hisley Wood. Again, this is clearly marked on OS mapping.

You'll connect with a forestry track that descends through Hisley Wood to the River Bovey at the old packhorse bridge Hisley Bridge. 


Hisley Bridge beauty spot

Hisley Bridge is a Dartmoor beauty spot. The river views are stunning.

Cross the river to connect with the rough road which takes you back up to the car park where you started.