Dartmoor East To West Walk/Crossing In A Day, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor East To West Walk/Crossing In A Day, Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park

Open access moorland

Dartmoor National Park is, in the main, open access. This means that you can take many routes across the moor. Some, like the Abbot's Way and Lichway/Lych Way, are marked in part on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map or the Harvey British Mountain Maps 'Dartmoor' map. Others, like our recommended route below, aren't marked. This is perfectly normal when walking on Dartmoor.


A note on crossing rivers

Dartmoor is known for its many rivers that rise on high moorland and cut beautiful valleys before flowing to the Devon coastlines. The sheer number of rivers and streams on Dartmoor means that you'll have to cross some of them on any long distance walk. For example, our recommended route east west across Dartmoor crosses the West Dart River at Wistman's Wood Ford and the Cowsic River at Broad Hole. If you cross Dartmoor after a period of dry weather, these are easy to ford. After heavy rain, you won't be able to cross at the most obvious points and will have to take a longer route.

In addition to our recommended route, we outline some of the many other Dartmoor east to west walks you can complete in a long day.

Last, the walking isn't difficult. Our recommended route is about 20 miles and took 8 hours and 30 minutes with long breaks. It was completed by three fifteen year olds with relative ease.


Recommended route east to west from Haytor Rocks to Pork Hill Car Park/Tavistock Viewpoint

Start at Haytor National Park Visitor Centre on the east side of Dartmoor below Haytor Rocks. Walk up to Haytor Rocks and continue to Holwell Tor. Drop down to Becka Brook on the small granite bridge. Climb to Holwell Lawn and wander across to Hound Tor. Note that there's a mobile catering van called the 'Hound of the Basket Meals' where you can grab an ice cream.

Follow the skinny moorland road to Jay's Grave. Take the path west in the direction of Natsworthy Manor and then climb Hamel Down to Grimspound (English Heritage).

From Grimspound (English Heritage), follow the Two Moors Way past Hookney Tor and Birch Tor and down to Bennett's Cross. Take care crossing the busy B3212. It's supposed to be a 40mph road but this stretch is notorious for idiot drivers.

Wander up to Water Hill and then arc down to Stannon Hill. Pass through Higher Merripit and turn right along the road past Ringhill to a gate. Turn left and you come to Postbridge and Postbridge Clapper Bridge. You've covered about 10 miles and are half way. This section took about 4 hours. Grab an ice cream from Postbridge Stores. There are public toilets and a picnic area by Postbridge National Park Visitor Centre. We'd recommend visiting the upper floor prehistoric exhibition at the visitor centre.

Walk around the back of Postbridge National Park Visitor Centre and you'll see a track. Take the path that runs north west off the track in the direction of Chittaford Down. Head across open moorland to Higher White Tor. Note that this stretch of moorland can be very boggy after a period of rain. Drop down to Wistman's Wood Ford just upriver from Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve and Two Bridges/Two Bridges Hotel.

Climb to Lydford Tor and drop down to Cowsic River at Broad Hole. You are walking the ancient Lichway/Lych Way.

Continue west on Conies Down, cross the River Walkham and ascend to White Barrow. Now trend south west to Langstone Moor Stone Circle. Wide grass tracks take you to Roos Tor and then Great Staple Tor. You see Pork Hill Car Park/Tavistock Viewpoint below. There's usually an ice cream van to greet you!


Other routes running east to west across Dartmoor

Moving from the south moor to the north moor, we'd also recommend the following routes. They are described below.

First, the Abbot's Way.

Second, the Buckfast to Tavistock Monastic Route.

Third, the Lichway/Lych Way incorporating the Church Way.

Fourth, Fernworthy Forest to Lydford.

Last, Kestor Rock to Meldon Reservoir.

Again, there are many other ways you can cross Dartmoor. The only real problems are crossing rivers and avoiding bogs. If you're walking in winter, remember that light hours are short.


The Abbot's Way

This is the classic route across Dartmoor's south moor. For directions, read our Abbot's Way listing.


The Buckfast to Tavistock Monastic Route

This is a variation on the above. For directions, read our Buckfast to Tavistock Monastic Route listing.


The Lichway/Lych Way

This is the classic route across the heart of Dartmoor. For directions, read our Lichway/Lych Way listing.


Fernworthy Forest to Lydford

This route crosses Dartmoor's, and southern England's, most remote land. We'd recommend walking this route after a period of dry weather. The terrain is difficult and it helps if it has dried out a little. Note that you can also walk it in winter when the ground is frozen but we'd only suggest trying this if you're an experienced winter walker.

Start from Fernworthy Forest. Head to the end of the forest road at the west end of Fernworthy Reservoir. Walk the forestry track that takes you past Fernworthy Stone Circle to the gate on the edge of the forest that looks out onto Teignhead Farm (Ruins). 

Head up to Sittaford Tor. Either walk west to Statts House (Ruin) and then Kit Rocks or south west to the East Dart River Waterfall. Cross the East Dart River avoiding Broad Marsh.

From either direction, head for Cut Lane and then Cut Hill. Note that it's boggy around Cut Hill Stream. From Cut Hill, wander across to Fur Tor. You are now at the most remote point on Dartmoor and in southern England.

Descend the west side of Fur Tor to Sandy Ford and the River Tavy. Avoid Amicombe Brook upriver as it's a nightmare area. Follow the River Tavy into Tavy Cleave. Either walk above the cleave to Ger Tor or through the cleave on its north side to the leat at its mouth.

From either direction, drop down to Lane End. Walk the moorland road to Willsworthy Bridge and pick up the ancient Lichway/Lych Way to Willsworthy Camp. Take care crossing the busy A386. Sunken lanes lead to Lydford Viaduct and Lydford where there's a pub!


Kestor Rock to Meldon Reservoir

This route takes you across Dartmoor's north moor to the highest ground in the National Park and southern England. It starts from Kestor Rock/Batworthy Corner above Chagford.

Walk to Scorhill Stone Circle. Trend north east and you'll come to a good, grass track that takes you all the way up to White Moor Stone and White Moor Stone Circle.

Wander across to Hound Tor and then drop down to Steeperton Brook and ascend to Steeperton Tor. Head down to the ford at Knack Mine and then use the army roads to get to Dinger Tor.

From Dinger Tor, obvious grass tracks rise to High Willhays which is the highest point on Dartmoor. We'd then recommend dropping down to Black Tor above Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve before walking across Longstone Hill to Meldon Reservoir on the west side of the moor.


Other routes

Fernworthy Forest to Watern Tor to Hangingstone Hill to Cranmere Pool to Great Kneeset to Great Links Tor down to Lydford is remote with difficult terrain but fun.

Throwleigh over Cosdon Beacon to Belstone Tors  to West Mill Tor, Yes Tor and Meldon Reservoir is a great walk.

As mentioned above, Dartmoor is mostly open access so the potential routes crossing Dartmoor east to west seem endless. Just be mindful of rivers, streams and bogs.