Best Dartmoor Summer Things To Do, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Best Dartmoor Summer Things To Do, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Shows and fairs

Shows and fairs run in Dartmoor National Park in spring and summer. There are lots to visit. Three of the best are Okehampton Show (large), Chagford Show (medium size) and Widecombe Fair (a smaller village fair).

Okehampton Show. This large agricultural show takes place on the outskirts of Okehampton against the backdrop of Dartmoor's north moor. Enjoy special displays in additional to local food, drink and shopping.

Chagford Show. Chagford Show takes place on the banks of the River Teign between Chagford and Castle Drogo/Teign Gorge. Again, displays and events take place through the day.

Widecombe Fair. Arguably Dartmoor's most famous fair, this takes place at the end of summer in a beautiful setting surrounded by high moor and tors.


English Heritage

Dartmoor National Park has many visitor attractions. We list some of the best below starting with English Heritage and National Trust properties.

Okehampton Castle (English Heritage). Super English Heritage castle on the edge of town. We'd recommend spending a couple of hours at the Museum of Dartmoor Life as well.

Lydford Castle (English Heritage). One of a number of local attractions in the beautiful village Lydford. Walk Lydford Gorge and cycle the Granite Way to Okehampton.


National Trust

Castle Drogo (National Trust). England's last castle. Super impressive National Trust property in one of the most beautiful locations in Dartmoor National Park. Explore the castle and gardens before a cream tea in the cafe. Walk the remarkable Teign Gore to the Dartmoor beauty spot Fingle Bridge and its pub Fingle Bridge Inn. Wild swim below Castle Drogo in the River Teign at Salmon Leaps, Castle Drogo Weir and Drewe's Pool.

Buckland Abbey (National Trust). Sir Francis Drake's home is another wonderful National Trust property on the western side of Dartmoor near Yelverton, Tavistock and Plymouth. We'd recommend exploring the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well. Highlights include Morwellham Quay (part of a rare UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Tamar Trails.

Lydford Gorge (National Trust). Dartmoor is known for its heavily wooded valleys and gorges. Lydford Gorge is one of the best and most accessible. There's a super circular gorge walk. Grab a cream tea and browse the shop afterwards.

Saltram. National Trust property south west of Dartmoor on the edge of Plymouth.



Stone Lane Gardens and Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition. Wonderful, compact gardens and sculpture exhibition in the Castle Drogo and Chagford area of Dartmoor National Park.

The Garden House. More superb gardens on the western side of Dartmoor near Yelverton, Tavistock and Plymouth. Pop into the National Trust's Buckland Abbey when you're there.

Saltram. The gardens at this National Trust property are impressive. Great walks by the River Plym as well.

We'd also recommend the gardens at the National Trust's Cotehele in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, RHS Garden Rosemoor in Mid Devon/North Devon and the gardens at the National Trust's Coleton Fishacre in South Devon.


Other major Dartmoor attractions

Dartmoor Zoo. Great family day out by the southern border of Dartmoor between the national park and the South Devon coast.

Becky Falls Ancient Woodland Park. Superb woodlands and waterfalls near the pretty village Manaton on the eastern side of the national park.

House of Marbles and Teign Valley Glass. Just down the road from Becky Falls on the edge of Bovey Tracey.

Canonteign Falls. Country park and waterfalls in the north eastern section of Dartmoor near Bovey Tracey.

River Dart Country Park. Top Dartmoor family attraction near Ashburton on the eastern side of Dartmoor.

Pennywell Farm. Super visitor attraction for young families near Buckfastleigh on the south eastern side of Dartmoor.

The Miniature Pony Centre. Another great day out for young families. Just off the B3212 near Moretonhampstead.

South Devon Railway. Runs between Buckfastleigh and Totnes.

Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies. Butterflies and otters by the Buckfastleigh train terminal of South Devon Railway.



Dartmoor National Park is a great place to enjoy a picnic when the weather warms up. Riverside locations such as Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common) by the River Dart are popular.

See also Best Dartmoor Picnic Spots.


Pub gardens

Alternatively, you can enjoy food and drink in one of Dartmoor's many pubs. Pub garden locations in the national park can be extraordinary.

The Warren House Inn is located in the heart of Dartmoor by the B3212 that cuts across the national park. The pub garden is on open moorland. Sensational views across to Birch Tor and the Challacombe Down/Hamel Down area.

If you fancy a pint by the river then try Fingle Bridge Inn.

See also Best Dartmoor Pubs.



Dartmoor National Park is internationally famous for its prehistoric attractions. Summer is a great time to explore these places on the high moor when the weather is more forgiving.

Merrivale Stone Rows. These famous stone rows are easily accessible on the western side of Dartmoor.

Scorhill Stone Circle. This famous stone circle is situated on the edge of Dartmoor's north moor above Chagford.

See also Best Dartmoor Prehistoric Sites and our Dartmoor Archaeology listing.


Gorge and valley walking

Dartmoor is known for its high moor. Arguably more impressive are the many steep-sided wooded valleys, gorges and cleave that fringe the high ground.

Teign Gorge (National Trust). Located in the north eastern section of Dartmoor National Park near Chagford.

Lustleigh Cleave. In the east of Dartmoor by Lustleigh, Manaton and Bovey Tracey.

Dart Gorge. Remarkable gorge in the eastern section of the national park near Ashburton.

Dewerstone Valley. By the south western border of Dartmoor and accessible from Plymouth and the South Devon coast.

See also Best Dartmoor Gorges and Valleys.


National Nature Reserves and woods

Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve. Located in the heart of Dartmoor by Two Bridges.

Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve. This area of high altitude oak woodland is in a remote location below High Willhays and Dartmoor's highest ground.

East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Extraordinary collection of woodlands on the eastern side of Dartmoor near Bovey Tracey.

Piles Copse. Remote high altitude oak woodland in the southern area of the national park.

Hembury Woods (National Trust). Beautiful woods on the eastern side of Dartmoor near Ashburton. The River Dart flows through the lower section of the woods. Great for a swim.



Walking is the most popular activity in Dartmoor National Park. We'd recommend starting with Dartmoor's highest points.

Dartmoor's Highest Points Circular Walk (High Willhays/Yes Tor).

See also Best Dartmoor Walks.



Browse our Best Dartmoor Tors listing for recommended tors to visit.


Wild swimming

Swimming in Dartmoor's many rivers has become super popular. Some spots are very busy in summer months.

Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common) is the most famous Dartmoor wild swimming spot.

Sharrah Pool is upriver in the Dart Gorge.

Salmon Leaps, Castle Drogo Weir and Drewe's Pool is below Castle Drogo in the Teign Gorge in the north eastern section of the national park.

See also Best Dartmoor Wild Swimming.


Outdoor swimming pools

Chagford Swimming Pool (Outdoor) is on the outskirts of town.

Moretonhampstead Swimming Pool (Outdoor) is by the main car park in the centre of town.



Granite and Gears Princetown Railway Cycling Routes. Cycle from Princetown in the heart of Dartmoor National Park.

Haldon Forest Park Cycling. Top family cycling beyond the north east border of Dartmoor.

Tamar Trails Cycling. As above but to the west of Dartmoor.

Drake's Trail. Runs between Tavistock and Plymouth to the west and south west of Dartmoor.

See also our Dartmoor Cycling listing.



If you're on holiday in Dartmoor National Park in summer then you might experience rain. There's still plenty to do.

Browse our Best Dartmoor Rainy Day Things To Do listing for ideas.

See also our Dartmoor Temperate Rainforest and Woodlands listing. Clearly, it's a perfect time to explore Dartmoor's temperate rainforest when it rains.