Dart Gorge, Holne, Dartmoor National Park

Dart Gorge, Holne, Dartmoor National Park


The Dart Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in Dartmoor National Park. Like the Teign Gorge and Lustleigh Cleave, the Dart Gorge is a steep-sided wooded valley cut by a fast-flowing river that runs from the high moors down to the Devon coast.

The Dart Gorge is located in the eastern section of the National Park. We've positioned the Dart Gorge on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting of the accompanying map to see its location. For the purposes of this listing, we describe the gorge between Dartmeet and New Bridge. It's lined with some extraordinary tors. Clearly, the area is great for walking.

Many famous Devon rivers rise on Dartmoor's remote north plateau. The West Dart River begins by Cut Hill and Fur Tor. The East Dart River starts by Whitehorse Hill and Hangingstone Hill. The two tributaries join at Dartmeet before flowing into the Dart Gorge. At the eastern end of the gorge, the river runs under New Bridge and bends around Deeper Marsh and Spitchwick on its way to Buckfast and Buckfastleigh on the border of the National Park.

Many tors and rocky outcrops are situated in and around the gorge. The majority of these tors provide superb views of the area. On the northern side of the gorge, we'd recommend a trip to Sharp Tor. On the southern side of the gorge, we'd suggest you visit Bench Tor. Given their locations and views, both are great picnic spots and are relatively close to parking areas.

Whilst you can walk to the Dart Gorge from all directions, the main access points are the car parking areas at Dartmeet, Venford Reservoir, New Bridge and around Sharp Tor. These are marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map. From these car parking areas, you can enjoy some amazing walks. These range from easy to exhausting. Over years of photographing and researching things to do and places to visit within Dartmoor National Park, it's a place to which we've returned on dozens of occasions. Recommended walks include:

Gentle: a walk to Bench Tor. There are two, large car parks by Venford Reservoir. Start from the car park on the eastern side of the water. Grass tracks lead to a spur that juts out into the Dart Gorge. Here, you'll see the rocky outcrop of Bench Tor. The views down into the gorge are special.

Medium: perhaps the most famous is the walk along Dr Blackall's Drive. Part of the Two Moors Way, Dr Blackall's Drive runs along the northern lip of the gorge. Start at New Bridge. Follow the Two Moors Way towards Sharp Tor. Return on the same route. Again, the views are special.

Hard: Dart Gorge Circular Walk

If this type of landscape appeals then you're in for a treat. Dartmoor's fringed by a high number of wooded valleys and cleaves. Others we'd suggest you explore inlcude the Teign Gorge and Lustleigh Cleave, the Dewerstone Valley and Tavy Cleave. The National Trust's Lydford Gorge is wonderful.