Best Dartmoor Wildlife, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Best Dartmoor Wildlife, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

National Nature Reserves

East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. England's first National Nature Reserve in the east section of Dartmoor near the National Park gateway town Bovey Tracey and the iconic tor Haytor Rocks.

Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve. Once featured on the BBC's 'Secret Britain' programme, Black-a-Tor Copse is one of the 'best examples in Britain of high altitude oak woodland'. Located below High Willhays which is the highest point on Dartmoor and in southern England.

Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve. Dartmoor's most famous wood is in the heart of the National Park near Two Bridges and Two Bridges Hotel.

Dendles Wood National Nature Reserve. You'll need a permit to visit. Views of the NNR from the high moor above are superb.


Other Nature Reserves

Dart Valley Nature Reserve. Stunning reserve in one of the most beautiful places in Dartmoor National Park. Up the road from Ashburton and then Holne.

Emsworthy Local Nature Reserve. Known locally for its amazing bluebells and cuckoos. Located in the east of the National Park by Hound Tor and Haytor Rocks.

Burrator Arboretum and Nature Reserve. On the edge of Burrator Reservoir at the foot of Sheeps Tor in the south west section of Dartmoor.

Stover Country Park Local Nature Reserve. Between Bovey Tracey and Newton Abbot beyond the east border of the National Park. Magnificent place all year round. Walk the Ted Hughes Poetry Trail.

Dunsford Local Nature Reserve. Where you'll find Dartmoor's famous showing of wild daffodils. At the east end of Fingle Woods by the north east border of the National Park.

Okehampton Old Town Park Local Nature Reserve. In the shadow of English Heritage's Okehampton Castle on the north west border of Dartmoor.


Rare high altitude oak woodlands

Piles Copse is one of three high altitude oak woodlands in Dartmoor National Park. See also Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve and Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve.


Dartmoor's 'Little Five'

Dartmoor National Park Authority refer to a 'Little 5' wildlife highlights. These are Cuckoo, Otter, Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, Ash Black Slug and Blue Ground Beetle.


Ponies on Dartmoor

For general information, read our Ponies on Dartmoor listing.

For specific information, visit the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Education and Visitor Centre.

If you have kids then take them to The Miniature Pony Centre.



One of the most spectacular wildlife experiences on Dartmoor is the Starling Roost Okehampton Camp.

Watch peregrine falcons in the Plym Valley.

Listen out for cuckoos in Spring.

Dartmoor Hawking is an amazing experience.

Yarner Wood Bird Hides. Part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve just up the road from Bovey Tracey.

Fernworthy Bird Hide. Overlooking the stunning Fernworthy Reservoir.

Stover Country Park Local Nature Reserve. There are bird hides, information boards and special walkways. Top place for bird watching.



When the River Teign is in spate during the Autumn months, head for Salmon Leaps, Castle Drogo Weir and Drewe's Pool. Salmon and sea trout leap the weir as they power up the river to their spawning grounds.



The bluebells on Dartmoor attract high numbers of visitors. For locations and walks, read our Bluebell Walks listing.

The wild daffodils at Dunsford are a treat after hard winters.


Visitor attractions

Dartmoor Zoo. Beyond the south border of Dartmoor and close to Plymouth and the South Devon coast.

The Miniature Pony Centre. Mini ponies near Moretonhampstead.

Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies. Located in Buckfastleigh at the west end of the South Devon Railway. Take a trip on the railway to visit Totnes Rare Breeds Farm.

Totnes Rare Breeds Farm. At the east end of the South Devon Railway.


Major visitor attractions outside Dartmoor National Park

Plymouth National Marine Aquarium. Great family day out in Plymouth, South Devon.

Living Coasts in Torquay on The English Riviera. Coastal zoo looking out across Tor Bay.

Paignton Zoo. Major Westcountry zoo on the outskirts of Paington in The English Riviera.