Belstone Cleave and Skaigh Woods Circular Walk, Belstone, Dartmoor National Park

Belstone Cleave and Skaigh Woods Circular Walk, Belstone, Dartmoor National Park


Start at the car parking area at the entrance to Belstone (by Brenamoor Common). Wander through the village to Belstone Great Green. Cosdon Hill is the vast dome of moorland to the south east. Belstone Cleave is the beautiful wooded valley running east.

Stand facing Belstone Cleave and you'll see a bench to the left on the northern lip of the cleave and a path to the right leading down to the River Taw. Head for the bench and follow the path all the way along the northern lip of Belstone Cleave to Skaigh.

When you reach Skaigh, you come to a road. Follow this down to where the road levels and a wide track runs back in the direction from which you've come but along the cleave floor. You pass a small car parking area and the track continues near the River Taw. Below Skaigh, divert to see Skaigh Woods Tarka Bridge.

Having seen the bridge, wander back up the track and follow it until you come to a second bridge near Ivy Tor. Cross the River Taw.

Walk the south bank of the river. You cross a small stream called Ivy Tor Water. Continue along the bank until the path climbs steeply away from the river. You then walk with the River Taw below you to your right all the way back to Belstone. Below the village, cross the bridge and then wander up the path to Belstone Great Green where you started. Pop into The Tors Inn for a drink and food.

To extend the walk, from Skaigh walk all the way to Sticklepath. You can take the road between Skaigh and Sticklepath or follow a path on the north bank of the River Taw.

At Sticklepath, wander through the tunnel at the National Trust's Finch Foundry and past the Quaker Burying Ground to a gate that leads to the River Taw. Cross the footbridge. On the south bank of the river, turn right down an ancient lane to a gate and signpost. Follow the path above the River Taw into Skaigh Woods. You pass a pretty weir on your way to Skaigh Woods Tarka Bridge. Follow the route above back to Belstone.

Take care walking this route. The paths in Belstone Cleave and Skaigh Woods can be very muddy and uneven. Some stretches, for example Sticklepath to Skaigh, drop away into the river. Whilst it's not difficult riverside walking as you find in the Dart Gorge, you do need to take care.

Last, as is the case with all Dartmoor cleaves, gorges and valleys, there is a network of paths and tracks in Belstone Cleave. We've described one route. As long as you stay in the valley, you can't really go wrong.