Fingle Bridge, Drewsteignton, Dartmoor National Park

Fingle Bridge, Drewsteignton, Dartmoor National Park

Fingle Bridge is an exceedingly popular and well known Dartmoor beauty spot. Whilst the bridge that spans the River Teign below steep sided wooded valley walls is the focal point, Fingle Bridge as a beauty spot refers to the wider area. Situated in the Teign Gorge (National Trust), this is one of the most stunning places in Dartmoor National Park. It's great for walking, wildlife, history and views. There's a riverside pub by Fingle Bridge as well. Clearly, it's recommended visiting but make sure you plan to spend a good chunk of time exploring the area. When we first visited over a decade ago, we popped down to the bridge for about thirty minutes and missed most of the area's attractions and beauty.

The Teign Gorge is located in the north eastern section of Dartmoor National Park near the town Chagford and the villages Drewsteignton and Dunsford. The National Trust's Castle Drogo (National Trust), Hunter's Tor (Teign Gorge/North East Dartmoor) and Whiddon Deer Park are at the mouth of the Gorge. Cut by the River Teign, the gorge then runs east through spectacular scenery to Fingle Bridge. From there, the Teign continues east through Fingle Woods to Dunsford Nature Reserve and Steps Bridge. The stretch of river, gorge and steep sided wooded valley from Castle Drogo to Steps Bridge is owned and managed by the National Trust. Given its central location, Fingle Bridge is a super place to explore the area.

To visit, head for the Chagford area. Follow signs to Drewsteignton. From there, a narrow road drops down to Fingle Bridge. There's plenty of parking on either side of the bridge. There are also public toilets at the parking area south of the river although there have been periods when they've been shut owing to frozen pipes. You can also walk to Fingle Bridge from Chagford, Moretonhampstead, Drewsteignton and Dunsford. From Chagford, follow the Two Moors Way/Dartmoor Way along the north bank of the Teign. This route is marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map. From Moretonhampstead, follow the Dartmoor Way around Butterdon Down and near Cranbrook Castle. The path then descends very steeply to Fingle Bridge. From Drewsteignton, take either the woodland path through Rectory Wood and Drewston Wood or take the Two Moors Way to the centre of the Teign Gorge near Sharp Tor. From Dunsford, follow the course of the Teign through Dunsford Wood Nature Reserve and Fingle Woods. This is a long walk. Again, refer to the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map for detail. As ever, we've positioned Fingle Bridge on Google maps to help you find it. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location.

So, what's there to do? If you have time, we'd recommend the Teign Gorge Circular Walk. It'll take about an hour and a half at a leisurely pace. The first section of that walk follows the Hunter's Path along the lip, or upper section, of the Teign Gorge towards Castle Drogo. You are walking high above the gorge floor and the views are exceptional. About half way along Hunter's Path, you'll come to Sharp Tor. This provides a classic Dartmoor view of Castle Drogo with the high moor behind. The return section of the walk follows the Fisherman's Path along the north bank of the Teign to Fingle Bridge. You are walking the gorge floor below high valley walls. The luxury version of this walk is to stop for a National Trust cream tea and a tour around Castle Drogo after the upper section of path and then to pop into Fingle Bridge Inn after the lower section of the path.

Alternative walks include following the bank of the River Teign on the Fisherman's Path to the area below Castle Drogo. Cross Iron Bridge and walk back along the other bank. It's a relatively flat walk with stunning riverside views. You might also want to try the Deer Stalkers Paths. These paths are across the river from Hunter's Path and Fisherman's Path and have only been opened and waymarked in recent years.

Most people head west towards Castle Drogo. Fewer people head east into Fingle Woods. It's a lovely walk along the Teign in these woods. Last, it's nice to walk up to Cranbrook Castle Hillfort. The path from Fingle Bridge to the Iron Age hillfort is very steep but provides amazing views west into the gorge and beyond to the high moors.