Okehampton, Dartmoor National Park

Okehampton, Dartmoor National Park
  • Okehampton sits below the highest ground on Dartmoor and in southern England. If you want to walk the National Park's highest peaks then Okehampton is an ideal base
  • In addition to walking, Okehampton offers a range of other outdoor activities from cycling to abseiling, horse riding to wild swimming
  • Visit the many tourist attractions in the local area including Okehampton Castle (English Heritage) and the Museum of Dartmoor Life, Lydford Gorge (National Trust) and Castle Drogo (National Trust)
  • Rivers flow from the high moor to cut amazing river valleys and feed reservoirs. The Upper West Okement Valley and Meldon Reservoir are remarkable
  • The town is located by the A30 and provides easy access to the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bodmin Moor and the North Cornwall coastline. The vast low tide beaches at Bude are 45 minutes away. Follow the A386 to RHS Garden Rosemoor and North Devon
  • Main photo: Okehampton Castle (English Heritage)

 

Where is Okehampton in Dartmoor National Park?

Southern England's only two mountains, Yes Tor and High Willhays, rise above Okehampton. Situated on the north west border of Dartmoor, the town is perfectly placed for those looking to explore the National Park's highest ground.

In addition, given its location, the North Cornwall coast, Bodmin Moor and the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are all easily accessible by car. Mid Devon, the Hartland Peninsula, North Devon, Exmoor National Park and Exeter are also within an easy drive of Okehampton. It's a great location from which to explore the Westcountry.

 

Directions to Okehampton

Follow the A30 from Exeter or Cornwall.

Drive the A386 if you're coming from the south or north.

We've positioned Okehampton on Google maps. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location.

 

Parking in Okehampton

The main car park is by Waitrose in the centre of town. Charges apply.

There's a smaller car park on the eastern side of town (East Street and then Mill Road for Mill Road Car Park). Again, charges apply.

There's also parking at Okehampton Castle (English Heritage) and Okehampton Station Visitor Centre if you're cycling the Granite Way.

 

Why holiday or weekend break around Okehampton?

To help you choose Okehampton, we've listed some of the local attractions below.

 

Museum of Dartmoor Life in Okehampton

Visit the superb Museum of Dartmoor Life which acts as a great introduction to the prehistory and history of the National Park.

 

English Heritage's Okehampton Castle

Wander across town to  Okehampton Castle (English Heritage).

Other English Heritage castles in the local area include Lydford Castle (English Heritage) and Launceston Castle on the Devon/Cornwall border.

 

The Granite Way from Okehampton

Cycle the Granite Way that runs between Okehampton and Lydford. This takes you over Meldon Viaduct. It's perfect for kids.

Other family friendly cycle routes on Dartmoor include the Granite and Gears Princetown Railway Cycling Routes from Princetown and Drake's Trail that runs between Tavistock and Plymouth.

 

Okehampton Camp above Okehampton

Okehampton Camp is situated on the edge of Dartmoor's north moor below southern England's only two mountains and a road climbs from Okehampton to the army buildings providing easy access to the National Park's highest ground. The road then turns into a network of mostly unpaved roads that extend into the heart of Dartmoor's north moor. These days, you can only drive part way along this network of roads but you can walk or cycle safely and easily all the way to the end of the roads into some of Dartmoor's most remote territory.

 

Yes Tor and High Willhays above Okehampton

Walk to Yes Tor and High Willhays which are the highest points on Dartmoor and the only two mountains in southern England.

 

Other tors on Dartmoor's north moor above Okehampton

Rowtor is arguably the most accessible large tor on Dartmoor's north moor so if you want to get up reasonably high with little effort then this tor is for you.

West Mill Tor sits between Rowtor and Yes Tor.

Belstone Tor (Belstone Tors and Tors End) and Oke Tor are on a broad ridge east and south east of Okehampton Camp.

Steeperton Tor is a little further away but the views from the army hut up top are amazing.

To experience remote high moor, yomp out onto the north plateau to Cranmere Pool

 

Meldon Reservoir and Meldon Viaduct near Okehampton

Meldon Reservoir and Meldon Viaduct are a short drive from Okehampton. You can also walk/cycle on the Granite Way or walk via the West Okement Valley.

Meldon Reservoir, or Meldon, is a local Dartmoor beauty spot in the north west section of the National Park. The reservoir sits below Yes Tor and High Willhays. A vast dam wall rises from the floor of the West Okement Valley. The reservoir sits behind this dam wall and extends to the foot of the Upper West Okement Valley. The West Okement River flows north from the dam wall into the Lower West Okement Valley in which you'll see the much photographed Meldon Viaduct. The setting is glorious. Whilst huge numbers of people specifically visit Meldon Reservoir for views, picnics and walks, it's also one of the best starting points from which to explore the highest ground in Dartmoor National Park.

 

Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve near Okehampton

Walk around Meldon Reservoir to see Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve.

 'This is one the best examples in Britain of high altitude oak woodland. It is nationally important for the great variety of lichens and mosses that clothe the trees and rocks. The high humidity, mild winters and low levels of air pollution on Dartmoor provide perfect conditions for mosses and lichens. Some of the species found here are threatened with extinction in Europe, primarily because of air pollution.’ (Source: information board in site)

 

Other valleys, cleaves and gorges near Okehampton

If river valleys are your thing, we'd also suggest you explore West Cleave by Okehampton.

Belstone Cleave running east of the moorland village Belstone is superb.

The Teign Gorge (National Trust) in the Chagford area is stunning.

We'd also recommend Tavy Cleave south of Okehampton.

 

Walks in and around Okehampton

See our Best Okehampton Walks for more information.

 

Other outdoor activities near Okehampton

Enjoy some of Dartmoor's many outdoor activities.

Go horse riding or mountain biking on the moors. Abseil from Meldon Viaduct!

See our Best Dartmoor Outdoor Activities listing for information.

 

Bluebells near Okehampton

If you're on holiday in Dartmoor in late April/early May then try some bluebell walks. The Okehampton area has two of the best.

Meldon Woods Bluebell Circular Walk is an amazing woodland experience.

East Hill Bluebell Circular Walk is also amazing and provides big views to Okehampton, Mid Devon and Exmoor National Park on the horizon.

 

Ten Tors Challenge from Okehampton Camp

Ten Tors Challenge takes places when the bluebells are out. Thousands of children and young adults being utterly amazing. It's a memorable event.

 

Dartmoor's prehistory near Okehampton

Experience Dartmoor's internationally important prehistory.

The Nine Maidens Stone Circle between Okehampton and Belstone is great.

Cosdon (The Cemetery) Stone Row and Scorhill Stone Circle are further away.

Merrivale (English Heritage) is particularly impressive.

You can learn more about Dartmoor's prehistory at Princetown National Park Visitor Centre and Postbridge National Park Visitor Centre.

 

National Trust properties near Okehampton

Visit the National Trust's Lydford Gorge (National Trust) and see Lydford Gorge White Lady Waterfall. Try Lydford Gorge Circular Walk. The noise in the upper end of the gorge is awesome.

Other National Trust properties in the local area include Finch Foundry (National Trust) and Castle Drogo (National Trust). Buckland Abbey (National Trust) and Saltram House are a little further away.

We'd also recommend crossing the Devon/Cornwall border to visit Cotehele House and Antony House.

 

Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO World Heritage Site from Okehampton

Okehampton is on the north west border of Dartmoor so there's quick access to the Devon/Cornwall border. Explore the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

West Devon from Okehampton

We'd recommend visiting Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre just west of Okehampton.

Roadford Lake is great for watersports and walking.

 

Mid Devon from Okehampton

Follow the A386 to the Great Torrington area to visit RHS Garden Rosemoor.

 

The Hartland Peninsula from Okehampton

Like the Tamar Valley, this is an under-visited part of the UK. It's basically the peninsula between North Cornwall and North Devon. Clovelly is its most famous attraction but we'd recommend the coast around Hartland Quay. It's wild and dramatic. The coastal walking is superb.

 

North Devon from Okehampton

Continue on the A386 past Great Torrington and you come to North Devon with its glorious beaches.

Saunton Sands Beach is a vast low tide sand beach backing onto the stunning Braunton Burrows. Saunton Sands is super popular with surfers as is Croyde Beach just up the coast. Over an hour from Okehampton.

Putsborough Sands Beach and Woolacombe Sands Beach are stunning sections of the same stretch of sand in North Devon. Putsborough to the south and Woolacombe to the north. Over an hour from Okehampton.

 

Exmoor National Park from Okehampton

The A386 takes you to Bideford and connects with the A39 that heads all the way up to the Exmoor National Park coast which is breathtaking.

See our sister site Holiday in Exmoor for more information.

 

Exeter from Okehampton

Follow the A30 east of Okehampton and you come to Exeter. Essential Westcountry visiting.

See our sister site Holiday in Exeter for more information.

 

Cornwall from Okehampton

Head west to the North Cornwall coast. It's relatively close to the north west section of Dartmoor. The vast low tide beach at Bude, for example, is a 50ish minute drive from Okehampton.

Moving down the coast, highlights include Tintagel Castle and the Camel Estuary by Padstow.

We run a number of UK travel sites and, whilst photographing Cornwall, have met lots of people taking day trips from Okehampton down to St Ives and Land's End. St Ives takes about 1 hour 30 minutes by car. Land's End is roughly 2 hours away.

 

Day trips to the beach from Okehampton

Crackington Haven Beach in North Cornwall. Deep low tide sand beach below huge cliffs. Great coastal walking although it gets steep. Beach backs on to a pub, cafe and car park. Roughly 45 minutes from Okehampton.

Widemouth Sand Beach in North Cornwall. Big stretch of sand popular with surfers. Roughly 50 minutes from Okehampton.

Bude Summerleaze Beach in North Cornwall. The southern section of a massive low tide sand beach at Bude. Roughly 50 minutes from Okehampton.

Northcott Mouth Beach in North Cornwall. The middle section of a massive low tide sand beach at Bude. Roughly 50 minutes from Okehampton.

Sandy Mouth Beach in North Cornwall. The northern section (along with Duckpool Bay Beach) of a massive low tide sand beach at Bude. Under an hour from Okehampton.

Saunton Sands Beach in North Devon. Vast low tide sand beach backing onto the stunning Braunton Burrows. Saunton Sands is super popular with surfers as is Croyde Beach just up the coast. Over an hour from Okehampton.

Putsborough Sands Beach and Woolacombe Sands Beach in North Devon. Stunning sections of the same stretch of sand in North Devon. Putsborough to the south and Woolacombe to the north. Over an hour from Okehampton.

Rock Beach and the Camel Estuary in North Cornwall. Glorious beaches line the Camel Estuary over an hour away from Okehampton.

Constantine Bay Beach in North Cornwall. Massive low tide sand beach about 1 hour 15 minutes from Okehampton.

St Ives Bay in West Cornwall. Beaches line one of the most beautiful bays in the UK. About 1 hour 30 mins from Okehampton.

We travel to all these beaches on a regular basis for Picture the UK and the twenty site network we run for Devon/Cornwall. Please note that timings depend on traffic. For example, it can take hours to get down to St Ives if there's been an accident on the A30.

 

Local towns and villages

For other 'gateway towns' try Chagford and Tavistock.

For villages we'd recommend Belstone and Lydford.