Meldon Hill, Chagford, Dartmoor National Park

Meldon Hill, Chagford, Dartmoor National Park

Chagford is one of Dartmoor National Park's most popular visitor destinations. The town's located in pretty, rolling countryside in the north east section of the Park on the fringe of the high north moor. It's set beneath a large hill topped with rocky outcrops and a trig point. This is Meldon Hill.

Whilst the hill isn't particularly well-known or featured in tourist guides to the area, it's one of our favourite places in Dartmoor National Park. The views from its summit are huge and varied. In addition, more often than not you'll see Dartmoor Hill Ponies grazing on its flanks.

To visit, head for Chagford. The hill rises high above the town and its distinctive church tower. We've positioned Meldon Hill on Google maps to help you find it. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting of the accompanying map to see its location. Note that there's a smaller hill to the east of Meldon Hill called Nattadon Hill. To the west is Kestor Rock on the high moors of Chagford Common near Shovel Down.

There are various routes up the hill. The most obvious route is on the path that runs from the town near the cricket pitch up to the rocky outcrops. It's steep and a bit of a slog but the views from the top are well worth the effort. If you fancy a more gentle walk, there's a road that runs around the hill. Follow the road clockwise from Chagford and you'll come to a parking area at the side of the road. A wide, grass track leads up to the trig point. Other smaller grass tracks branch off to other rocky outcrops at the top of the hill. There are other parking places on this road that runs around the hill with tracks leading to the summit.

When you are at the top of the hill, head for the trig point. After that, we'd recommend dropping down to the rocky outcrops that crown the hill. There's a particularly nice outcrop to the west which is great for picnics with views.

The views. Meldon Hill offers some of the most varied and beautiful views in Dartmoor National Park. To the west, you'll see the high moors. The huge, domed mass is Cosdon Hill (Cawsand Hill). The highest ground in southern England is visible at Yes Tor and High Willhays. As you move your gaze south, you'll see Hangingstone Hill and then Fernworthy Forest. In the foreground are Kestor Rock and a wooded landscape in which nestles Gidleigh Park Hotel. This is recognised as being one of the best hotels in the UK. Moving south and east, you'll see the huge mass of Hamel Down and then Haytor Rocks behind Hound Tor. As you look east, you're leaving high moorland to view the pretty landscape of the north eastern section of the Park. The highlight is the mouth of the Teign Gorge guarded by the National Trust's Castle Drogo. Looking north, you'll see Exmoor National Park beyond Mid Devon. Last, below you is Chagford and its cricket pitch.

If you ever get the chance to yomp up to the summit in snow on a clear day, then do it. It's a very special scene.