Holne Woods (National Trust), Holne, Dartmoor National Park

Holne Woods (National Trust), Holne, Dartmoor National Park

The River Dart is particularly beautiful between Dartmeet and New Bridge. When in spate, the water powers through the Dart Gorge shaping cascades and pools. The easiest way to access and experience the Dart in the lower section of the gorge is via Holne Woods.

Managed by the National Trust, the woods run along the southern bank of the Dart from New Bridge up to Bellpool Island. From there, they run into White Wood below Bench Tor. The woods also push up the steep gorge walls to the egde of the Dartmoor's high south moor by Venford Reservoir.

There's plenty of parking at New Bridge including a layby on the Holne Woods side of the bridge and a large car parking area on the other. Note that the extremely popular Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common) is downriver of Holne Woods so the New Bridge area is often heaving with visitors in high tourist season when the sun's out. At these times, it can be difficult to find parking.

From New Bridge, a good path/track runs through Holne Woods. At points you are close to the Dart. At other times, you're high above the river.

The stretch of the Dart along Holne Woods has become increasingly popular with wild swimmers in recent years. Whilst Sharrah Pool, in the heart of the gorge, is the most researched swimming spot according to our stats, there are many other places to have a dip closer to New Bridge.

It's possible to walk Holne Woods to the Sharrah Pool area and then push on through White Wood to Venford Brook. It's an amazing walk but the central section is difficult so take care. We describe the walk in our Dart Gorge Venford Reservoir to New Bridge South Bank Walk listing.

Photographers are drawn to Holne Woods in Autumn. The colours are spectacular.

It's also fun to watch the canoeists shoot over cascades in the Autum/Winter period.

Last, Holne Woods is a great place to watch wildlife. We've photographed a shag up by Bellpool Island and Sharrah Pool.

Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting of the accompanying Google map to see the location of Holne Woods. The path/track is marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map. It forms part of the Two Moors way between the village Holne and the stunning Dr Blackall's Drive.