Shapley Common, Moretonhampstead, Dartmoor National Park

Shapley Common, Moretonhampstead, Dartmoor National Park

The B3212 rises gently from Moretonhampstead past the Miniature Pony Centre and the luxury Bovey Castle Hotel to the high moors. Where the road meets moor, above Lettaford, is a popular viewpoint. There's a spacious car park, ice cream van in the holiday season and you can usually find ponies in the area.

The viewpoint is clearly marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map. South of the viewpoint, grass tracks climb through summer ferns, gorse and heather to Shapley Common and then Shapley Tor. Given the elevation, the views from the common are better than the Ordnance Survey marked viewpoint. It's well worth the one kilometre walk from the car park to the upper area of the common at Shapley Tor to enjoy these views.

On a clear day, you'll see both Dartmoor's high north and south plateaus. Moretonhampstead is visible in the Wray Valley. The white Belvedere Tower in Haldon Forest can be made out and beyond that the sea. Closer, the huge rolling moors around King Tor and Hamledown Tor are particularly impressive in late summer when the heather is out.

If you're feeling energetic, we'd recommend walking beyond Shapley Tor to Hookney Tor before dropping down to English Heritage's Grimspound and then climbing up on to the massive plateau of Hamel Down. There, views open out across the east of the National Park with Haytor Rocks the highlight. Retrace your steps to Shapley Common and then the car park.

Points of interest on Shapley Common include some fine examples of hut circles on the lower slopes close to the car park.