Ashburton, Dartmoor National Park

Ashburton, Dartmoor National Park
  • Ashburton is located on the eastern border of Dartmoor National Park offering great access to Dartmoor, South Devon and the cities Exeter and Plymouth. It's the largest settlement within Dartmoor National Park and a great base for a holiday in this part of Devon
  • Experience a variety of Dartmoor landscapes from the town. High moorland, Dartmoor's famous tors, river valleys, a gorge and magnificent National Trust woodland. Some of the Westcountry's best sandy beaches are an easy drive away
  • Gateway town to the spectacular Dart Gorge area (including the local beauty spot Spitchwick) and Dartmoor's south moor around Venford Reservoir
  • Close to some of Dartmoor's most popular visitor attractions including the River Dart Country Park, Buckfast Abbey, the South Devon Railway, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies and Pennywell Farm
  • Superb for outdoor activities. Local walking and wild swimming in the River Dart are particularly popular and impressive
  • Main photo: North Street in the centre of Ashburton


Where is Ashburton in Dartmoor National Park?

The A38 is a major South Devon road running between Exeter and Plymouth. The road skirts the eastern border of Dartmoor National Park. Ashburton is located on the edge of the National Park between the two cities.

The town provides access to one of Dartmoor's most stunning gorges/wooded valleys, its high moor and some of its most popular attractions. Given its location by the A38, the South Devon coast and The English Riviera are also easily accessible from the Ashburton area.


Directions to Ashburton

Most people will approach Ashburton on the A38. There are a couple of exits to the north and south ends of town.

We've positioned Ashburton on Google maps. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location.


Parking in Ashburton

There's a reasonably large car park in the centre of town off North Street.


Why holiday or weekend break in Ashburton?

To help you choose Ashburton, we've listed some of the local attractions below.


River Dart Country Park just west of Ashburton

If you're on holiday in Dartmoor National Park with kids then enjoy River Dart Adventures within the River Dart Country Park.


Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common) by the River Dart west of Ashburton

Picnic, and wild swim, at Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common). This famous Dartmoor beauty spot is located on a bend in the River Dart by New Bridge (Newbridge). Wild swimming has become increasingly popular in recent years so Spitchwick gets rammed on hot, sunny days.

More adventurous wild swimmers head to Sharrah Pool in the Dart Gorge.


Walk the Dart Gorge near Ashburton

The Dart Gorge is a steep-sided wooded valley cut by the River Dart. A short drive west of Ashburton, this is one of Dartmoor's most stunning areas.

Park at New Bridge and follow the Two Moors Way to Dr Blackall's Drive Walk. The views down into the gorge and ahead to Sharp Tor (Dartmeet/East Dartmoor) are quite something.


Visit some of Dartmoor's best tors near Ashburton

Take in the views from the area's many stunning tors. Drive to the Venford Reservoir area for two of the best.

Bench Tor juts out into the Dart Gorge and is exceptional. It's particularly impressive in late autumn when the leaves turn.

Combestone Tor is further west by a car parking area on the moorland road between Venford Reservoir and Hexworthy. It's one of Dartmoor's most easily accessible tors and the views are amazing.


Head out onto the high moor above Ashburton

Dartmoor is famous for its moorland.  Roughly speaking, there are two areas of high moorland in the National Park. Ashburton provides easy access to Dartmoor's south moor.

Ryder's Hill is the highest point on Dartmoor's south plateau. We tend to walk in from the car parking area by Combestone Tor. It can get boggy up top.

Note that Yes Tor and High Willhays are the two highest points on Dartmoor and are located in the north west of the Park above Okehampton.


Explore beautiful woods near Ashburton

Hembury Woods (National Trust) is near Ashburton. It's a magnificent place topped by Hembury Hillfort. The River Dart flows through the lower section of the woods.

Try the Hembury Woods Circular Walk.


Discover Dartmoor's most beautiful villages from Ashburton

A short distance to Ashburton's north west, we'd recommend a trip to the beautiful moorland village Buckland-in-the-Moor. Many think the views from Buckland Beacon and The Ten Commandments Stones are the best in the Park.

From Buckland-in-the-Moor, travel to Widecombe-in-the-Moor and explore the area around Haytor Rocks.

Visit Dartmeet with its ruined clapper bridge and stepping stones. There are great walks along the north bank of the River Dart into the Dart Gorge.

We'd also suggest that you visit Postbridge and Princetown in the heart of Dartmoor National Park.

You can learn more about the prehistory and history of Dartmoor in the Haytor, Postbridge and Princetown National Park Visitor Centres.


Family visitor attractions near Ashburton

This area of Dartmoor National Park and South Devon is packed with family visitor attractions.

In addition to the River Dart Country Park, try Buckfast Abbey, the South Devon Railway, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies and Pennywell Farm.


National Trust properties near Ashburton

Hembury Woods, mentioned above, is managed by the National Trust. We'd recommend visiting other National Trust properties in this part of Devon.

Dartmoor's a small place. Castle Drogo (National Trust), Saltram House and Buckland Abbey (National Trust) are all easily accessible by car.


Explore South Devon and The English Riviera from Ashburton

Given the town's location by the A38, explore South Devon and The English Riviera.

On sunny days, Salcombe and Dartmouth are among the finest coastal destinations in the UK.

The South Devon coastline is lined with stunning beaches. Try Bantham Beach, Bigbury-on-Sea Beach and the vast shingle beach at Slapton Sands.

See our sister site, Love South Devon, for ideas.


Day trips to Plymouth and Exeter from Ashburton

Take day trips to Plymouth and Exeter.

In Plymouth, visit the National Marine Aquarium, the historic Plymouth Barbican and Plymouth Hoe. The views from the latter are amazing.

In Exeter, experience Exeter Cathedral, Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) and Exeter Quayside. See our sister site, Holiday in Exeter, for ideas.


Ashburton cafes, pubs and restaurants

Ashburton's a small place easily explored on foot. There are lots of places to eat and drink in the centre of town along North Street, East Street and West Street. Have a wander and take your pick.