Bearacleave Wood (National Trust), Bovey Tracey, Dartmoor National Park

Bearacleave Wood (National Trust), Bovey Tracey, Dartmoor National Park

Wray Brook flows through the Wray Valley, roughly speaking, between Moretonhampstead and Lustleigh. The valley is lined with steep-sided wooded valley walls. On the north side of the Wray Valley, these woods push past the Lustleigh area down to Bovey Tracey. The colours are extraordinary in Autumn. All the way at the south east end of the valley is the National Trust's Bearacleave Wood. On the border of Dartmoor National Park, the land drops down from Bearacleave Wood in to South Devon towards the coast.

Bearacleave Wood is, to our knowledge, the second smallest area of National Trust land in Dartmoor National Park. Milfordleigh Wood (National Trust), up by Chagford, is the smallest we've visited whilst researching this site.

A wide path runs through the wood along a line of huge beech trees. The path passes a flat area (where people have put up swings from the trees) and then dips and curves towards an ancient, sunken path that forms the northern boundary of the wood. Beyond this ancient, sunken road is a permissive path that rises through Shaptor Wood to Shaptor Rock. East of the wood is the Woodland Trust's Furzeleigh Plantation which is also open to the public.

Bearacleave Wood is a beautiful place in its own right but the view from its south east corner over Parke Estate to Haytor Rocks is special.

We've positioned Bearacleave Wood on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location. It's not the easiest place to get to. To visit for the first time, we'd recommend following the skinny road that climbs past Bovey Tracey Hospital. Where the road bends, at the south east corner of the wood, is a small parking area. You'll see a gate and National Trust sign. The aforementioned view of Parke Estate and Haytor Rocks can be enjoyed from here.

A little further up the road from the south east corner of the wood is a much larger car parking area for Furzeleigh Plantation. Wander through this to Bearacleave Wood or follow the ancient, sunken road that runs west from the car park. You'll pass a gate to your right that takes you to Shaptor Wood. Further along, to your left, is a post and an obvious path that follows a row of huge beech trees in to the heart of Bearacleave Wood.

If you are up at Shaptor Rock, you can also walk along a path that snakes through Shaptor Wood in , roughly speaking, a south east direction to Bearacleave Wood. It's a deceptively long way. The yomp back is tiring. This path is marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map.