Walkham Valley, Merrivale, Dartmoor National Park

Walkham Valley, Merrivale, Dartmoor National Park

[Main picture: the Walkham Valley seen from the moorland road near Withill. View up to Vixen Tor and the Staple Tors]

 

Spectacular wooded valley between Merrivale and Horrabridge

Many of Dartmoor’s most famous rivers rise on the north moor. The rivers Tavy, Taw, Teign and Dart have their headwaters on a moorland plateau covering Hangingstone Hill, Whitehorse Hill and Cut Hill. The River Walkham rises on a particularly boggy section of high moor south west of Cut Hill. The river flows around Great Mis Tor before cutting a spectacular wooded valley between Merrivale and Horrabridge.

This listing relates to the wooded valley cut by the River Walkham within Dartmoor National Park between Merrivale and Horrabridge. For a longer description of the river covering the high moor, the Walkham Valley and the border of Dartmoor National Park, see our River Walkham listing.

 

Location of the Walkham Valley

The Walkham Valley is located on the western side of Dartmoor between Princetown and the Tavistock area.

We’ve positioned the Walkham Valley on Google maps. Zoom in on the ‘satellite’ setting to see its location.

 

Directions to, and parking at, the Walkham Valley

To explore the Walkham Valley, drive the trans-moorland B3357 to the Merrivale area.

Refer to Ordnance Survey mapping for car parks. We’ve walked from Four Winds, Merrivale and Pork Hill over the years. You can also park at Princetown for a longer walk.

 

The Walkham Valley

The hamlet Merrivale sits at the northern end of the Walkham Valley on the trans-moorland B3357. The Dartmoor Inn is located in Merrivale. English Heritage’s prehistoric Merrivale Complex is on flat moorland to the south east.

From Merrivale, the River Walkham flows through one of Dartmoor’s many heavily wooded, steep-sided valleys down to Horrabridge. This section of the River Walkham is mainly on private land although there’s a route through it on the west side of the river. This route is magnificent and takes you past Hucken Tor in temperate rainforest.

The River Walkham flows under Merrivale Bridge and passes below two farms before entering an extraordinary section of woodland. A good path runs through the woods west of the River Walkham. This is clearly marked on Ordnance Survey mapping. You walk along an ancient, sunken lane and pass the granite stacks of Hucken Tor which, in turn, sit below King’s Tor and the moor by Princetown. The ancient, sunken lane meets a moorland road at Daveytown and continues south. There are superb views of the heavily wooded, steep-sided valley looking back up to Vixen Tor and the Staple Tors on the high moor beyond.

The River Walkham flows under Ward Bridge to Huckworthy Bridge and Horrabridge close to the western border of Dartmoor National Park.

 

Recommended route to the Walkham Valley for the first time

To explore the Walkham Valley for the first time, we’d recommend following the path south from Merrivale and the Dartmoor Inn. This path is clearly marked on Ordnance Survey mapping.

Follow the path through Hillside and Longash farms (close gates as requested). You’ll see open moor to your left and the heavily wooded Walkham Valley to your right and in front. You’ll enter woodland which is particularly impressive around Hucken Tor. Note that the western side of Dartmoor slopes down to the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which means you get wonderful, big sunsets on this side of the national park. Late light through the trees in the Walkham Valley can be awesome.

The path becomes an ancient, sunken lane where it meets the moorland road near Daveytown.

The easiest return route from here is to retrace your steps back to Merrivale. Alternatively, you can wander past Withill in the direction of Ward Bridge. You’ll see a turning to your left. Follow this and you meet open moorland. Walk up to the track that loops around King’s Tor. Head left in the direction of King’s Tor and then drop down to English Heritage’s Merrivale Complex before returning to where you started. You can also continue to Ward Bridge and then climb to Sampford Spiney before meeting a path that winds up to Pew Tor. Cross the moor to the car parks on Pork Hill along the B3357. Walk back to where you started.

 

Other routes and directions to the Walkham Valley

As is the case with all valleys on Dartmoor, you can walk in from many directions. Here are other routes. They're all straightforward.

 

Routes and directions to the Walkham Valley from the west

Start at the large car parking area on Pork Hill. Wander over to the much photographed cross on Whitchurch Common as marked on Ordnance Survey mapping and then continue to Pew Tor. You get super views of the Walkham Valley from here. Follow the path that winds down to Sampford Spiney. Descend through an ancient track and then moorland road to Ward Bridge and the River Walkham.

Cross the bridge and ascend the moorland road to Withill. There are super views up the Walkham Valley to Vixen Tor and the Staple Tors at this point. Continue to Daveytown and walk the ancient path to the woodland around Hucken Tor.

Wander up to Longash and Hillside. The Dartmoor Inn is across the road. Follow the paths on either side of the B3357 back to the car parking area on Pork Hill.

 

Routes and directions to the Walkham Valley from the east

Start at the car park in Princetown. Walk the trackbed of the disused railway west in the direction of Swelltor Quarries. Connect with the path as marked on Ordnance Survey mapping that connects with a moorland road south of Withill. There are super views up the Walkham Valley to Vixen Tor and the Staple Tors at this point. Continue to Daveytown and walk the ancient path to the woodland around Hucken Tor.

Wander up to Longash and Hillside. The Dartmoor Inn is across the road. Follow the B3357 east for a short while and then wander across open moorland to see English Heritage’s Merrivale Complex. Follow one of the paths that rises to the trackbed of the disused railway and then return to Princetown.

Alternatively, start at Four Winds car park on the B3357. Walk across open moorland in the direction of King’s Tor to connect with the trackbed of the disused railway and then follow the route above. Again, refer to Ordnance Survey mapping for detail.

 

Routes and directions to the Walkham Valley from the south

Start from one of the car parking areas on the B3212 near Sharpitor above Burrator Reservoir. Follow the path marked on Ordnance Survey mapping that crosses open moorland to Routrundle and then the moorland road south of Withill. There are super views up the Walkham Valley to Vixen Tor and the Staple Tors at this point. Continue to Daveytown and walk the ancient path to the woodland around Hucken Tor.

Wander up to Longash and Hillside. The Dartmoor Inn is across the road. Follow the B3357 east for a short while and then wander across open moorland to see English Heritage’s Merrivale Complex. Follow one of the paths that rises to the trackbed of the disused railway and then return to Routrundle and then the car parking areas on the B3212 near Sharpitor above Burrator Reservoir. 

 

The views from the Walkham Valley

We’d recommend the views up the Walkham Valley to Vixen Tor and the Staple Tors on the moorland road near Withill.

The views east from Pew Tor and west from the King’s Tor area of the Walkham Valley are also superb.

 

The area around the Walkham Valley

The area around the Walkham Valley is packed with things to do.

Explore English Heritage’s Merrivale Complex.

Visit Princetown National Park Visitor Centre and Dartmoor Prison Museum.

In addition to Pew Tor and King’s Tor, we’d also suggest walking to Great Mis Tor and Great Staple Tor.

Last, drop down to Tavistock which is part of a rare UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Places to eat and drink near the Walkham Valley

Try the Dartmoor Inn at Merrivale.

There’s an ice cream van at the car parking area on Pork Hill.

 

Grenofen Bridge, Drake’s Trail, Double Waters and the River Tavy

On the other side of the busy A386, the River Walkham cuts another beautiful wooded valley that arcs to Double Waters on the western boundary of Dartmoor National Park. Here, the River Walkham becomes the River Tavy that winds south to meet the River Tamar. This wide river then flows into the Hamoaze by Devonport and The Sound at Plymouth.

 

Other valleys, cleaves and gorges in Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor is fringed by heavily wooded, steep-sided valleys. We’d recommend visiting as many as possible whilst on holiday in the national park.

The Dewerstone Valley is south of the Walkham Valley.

The National Trust’s Lydford Gorge is north by the A386.

The Dart Gorge is on the eastern side of the national park.

Lustleigh Cleave is on the eastern side of Dartmoor as well near Bovey Tracey.

The Teign Gorge is in the north east section by Chagford.