West Cleave, Okehampton, Dartmoor National Park

West Cleave, Okehampton, Dartmoor National Park

Many Dartmoor valleys, gorges and cleaves are well known and much visited. The Teign Gorge by the National Trust's Castle Drogo and Lustleigh Cleave between the villages Lustleigh and Manaton can get very busy. Other valleys, gorges and cleaves are less well known and tend to be visited by Dartmoor locals. West Cleave is one of the most stunning examples of the latter.

Near Okehampton, by the northern border of the National Park, West Cleave is a deep wooded valley cut by the East Okement River. About half way up the cleave, the East Okement River is joined by the pretty Moor Brook. A section of the Tarka Trail runs along the cleave floor, a large waterfall provides a beautiful viewpoint and bluebells carpet the upper west slopes in Spring. In addition, there's a hillfort and tors overlooking West Cleave. It's a superb place with plenty of walks and we'd very much recommend a visit.

We've positioned West Cleave on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location. You can walk to West Cleave from all directions. We describe some of the routes below.

From the west. Head to Okehampton. In the centre of town, take the road that climbs to Okehampton Camp by East Hill. This road is clearly marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map and crosses over both a railway line and the busy A30. Park in the car parking areas along the road before Okehampton Camp. Follow one of the paths marked on the OS map to West Cleave. The upper path initially follows a road to Lower Halstock. You're likely to see the exceptionally cute miniature ponies from the local stud. At Lower Halstock, you can either take a left turn before the stud taking you alongside Moor Brook into the cleave or you can wander through the stud and take a left by the stud buildings. This path curls around to the upper section of West Cleave. Another route combines the two by crossing Moor Brook Stepping Stones. The lower path takes you across East Hill to the lower section of West Cleave. You can either wander across to the hillfort and drop down or follow the path to the bottom of East Hill. Again, these routes are clearly marked on the OS map. Note that there are other paths but recent OS maps and their digital versions state that the area is no longer open access moorland.

From the north west and north. Head to Okehampton. Either follow the Tarka Trail from the centre of town to the tail of West Cleave or wander up from Okehampton Station using the paths on East Hill as marked on the OS map.

From the south west and south. Head to Okehampton and Okehampton Camp. Continue on the army ring road in the direction of Cullever Steps and East Okement Farm. Park in one of the car parking areas along the ring road. Cross Cullever Steps and follow the army track north east until you connect with the Tarka Trail. Drop Down to West Cleave at Chapel Ford.

From the east. Start from Belstone. Follow the Tarka Trail up over Watchet Hill into West Cleave.

Clearly, there are other routes but the above act as a starting point when exploring the cleave.

Whilst walking West Cleave look out for:

East Hill Hillfort.

Moor Brook.

Tarka Trail.

West Cleave Stepping Stones.

Flat slabs on East Okement River which are great for a picnic.

The large waterfall on the East Okement River.

River pools in which to wild swim.

West Cleave Tor (West Cleave Rocks).

Bluebells (specifically East Hill).

Miniature Ponies (The Halstock & Blackertor Studs).