Manaton, Dartmoor National Park

Manaton, Dartmoor National Park
  • Village in a magnificent location between high moor and one of Dartmoor's most beautiful steep-sided valleys. Manaton sits above the Dartmoor gateway town Bovey Tracey in the eastern section of the National Park
  • Wander to Hayne Down and the famous Dartmoor landmark Bowerman's Nose. Continue to Hound Tor and Haytor Rocks to experience high moor and some of the National Park's best tors
  • Walk the sublime Lustleigh Cleave. Take in the massive view of Dartmoor from Hunters Tor at the north west end of the cleave
  • Visit Becky Falls Ancient Woodland Park and discover the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve
  • Relax at the Kestor Inn or drive down to Bovey Tracey to explore South Devon. Exeter and Plymouth are both easily accessible via the A38. Major roads branch off the A38 to the coast
  • Main photo: Manaton Show and Fair in summer


Where is Manaton in Dartmoor National Park?

Manaton is located above the Dartmoor gateway town Bovey Tracey in the eastern section of the National Park. The pretty village sits between high moor and one of Dartmoor's most beautiful steep-sided valleys.

The River Bovey rises on Dartmoor's high moor. It arcs towards the luxury hotel Bovey Castle and then skirts the pretty village North Bovey on its way to the mouth of the Bovey Valley at Foxworthy. It passes under Foxworthy Bridge at the bottom of the glorious Lustleigh Cleave. Hunter's Tor is high above on Lustleigh Cleave's broad ridge. It's the upper section of a heavily wooded, glorious valley.

From Foxworthy, the River Bovey runs to Horsham Steps and then Clam Bridge before entering the Bovey Valley Woodlands. Hisley Wood is north of the water. Houndtor Wood is south. The river comes to the much photographed Hisley Bridge and curves past Pullbrook Wood to a large car parking area at Drakeford Bridge. It briefly runs parallel to the Wray Valley Trail and enters the National Trust's Parke Estate.

Manaton sits on high ground above the River Bovey and opposite Lustleigh Cleave. In addition to this heavily wooded, glorious valley, high moor extends south and east. Some of Dartmoor's most famous tors and granite outcrops are relatively close to the village. It's a stunning place.


Directions to Manaton

Take the A38 Devon Expressway to the Bovey Tracey area. Follow the A382 to the Dartmoor gateway town.

At the second mini roundabout, turn left and drive the B3387 past Parke Estate (National Trust). The road forks. Take the right fork and drive the moorland road to Trendlebere Down which is part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. The road climbs steeply and huge views of South Devon and Lustleigh Cleave open out.

The road flattens and enters a heavily wooded area. Pass Becky Falls Ancient Woodland Park and you come to the lower section of Manaton (known locally and on Ordnance Survey maps as Water and Freeland). The village pub The Kestor Inn is on your right. Continue to the village green and church in the upper section of the village.

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


Parking in Manaton

There's a car park by the village green, church and Manaton cricket pitch in the upper section of the village. This is clearly visible on Google's satellite imagery.


Why holiday or weekend break in Manaton?

To help you choose the Manaton area, we’ve listed some of the local attractions below.


The Kestor Inn in Manaton

Enjoy a pub lunch at The Kestor Inn. Make sure you make the most of its wonderful location. Situated above one of the most beautiful valleys in Dartmoor National Park, the Kestor Inn is a stroll away from England's first National Nature Reserve, one of Dartmoor's most popular family visitor attractions and close to the National Park's high moorland including the famous Bowerman's Nose. Local walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers love this area. Less well known to holidaymakers, it's a perfect base from which to explore the different landscapes and activities Dartmoor offers.


Becky Falls Ancient Woodland Park below Manaton

Visit this Dartmoor beauty spot. Known for its waterfalls, the woodland park is particularly impressive after a spell of rain.

There's a restaurant, shop, toilets, outdoor eating area, owl house and animal pens as you enter. Nearby is an open air theatre and an indoor theatre that doubles up as a reptile house. Three trails have been designed to help you explore the Park. Kids can stamp a booklet on the blue trail that follows streams and passes small tors. The more difficult red trail takes you down to the main waterfalls. The purple trail is the most difficult as you descend to the lower falls. It's a superb walk with stunning riverside views. All trails lead back to the restaurant. Grab a cream tea, ice cream or meal.


Lustleigh Cleave and Hunters Tor from Manaton

Lustleigh Cleave is one of the most beautiful steep-sided valleys in Dartmoor National Park. Explore it from Manaton.

Take in the extraordinary views from Hunter's Tor (Lustleigh Cleave/East Dartmoor) at the upper end of the cleave.


East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve from Manaton

Discover the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve.

England's first National Nature Reserve, the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve consists of parts of the Bovey Valley, Trendlebere Down and Yarner Wood. These are located just east and south east of Manaton.


Bowerman’s Nose from Manaton

See Bowerman's Nose.

On the western side of Hayne Down, near the moorland village Manaton, is a tall stack of granite called Bowerman's Nose. When viewed from various angles, the stack of granite takes on the form of a human being with a big nose. Local legend suggests that Bowerman was a Norman hunter who was turned into stone by witches. His hounds form nearby Hound Tor.


Dartmoor tors near Manaton

Stand at Bowerman's Nose and you'll see some of Dartmoor's most famous tors. 

Walk to Hound Tor (East Dartmoor) and Haytor Rocks.

Easdon Tor is close to Manaton and is amazing. Massive views of Dartmoor and South Devon.


Dartmoor’s high moor near Manaton

Hamel Down dominates the landscape west and south west of Manaton and offers a taste of Dartmoor's wild, high moorland. Walk from Manaton.


Best views in the Manaton area

The Manaton area is stunning. It's packed with remarkable viewpoints. We'd recommend the views from:

Hunter's Tor (Lustleigh Cleave/East Dartmoor) overlooking the village North Bovey and the luxury hotel Bovey Castle to Dartmoor's north moor.

Harton Chest (Lustleigh Cleave) is an outcrop at the top of Lustleigh Cleave providing amazing views of Lustleigh Cleave and the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve.

Hayne Down and Bowerman's Nose looking to Hound Tor and Haytor Rocks.

The trig point topping Easdon Tor.


Walks near Manaton

First, walk in Lustleigh Cleave. This is a steep, heavily wooded section of the Bovey Valley and is one of the most beautiful valleys in Dartmoor National Park. The views from the broad ridge between Harton Chest (Lustleigh Cleave) and Hunter's Tor (Lustleigh Cleave/East Dartmoor) are stunning. The path from the Kestor Inn down to Clam Bridge on the River Bovey and then up to Lustleigh Cleave and its broad ridge is clearly marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map.

Alternatively, explore the lower section of the valley. From the Kestor Inn, follow the skinny lane past Beckhams that turns into a track that descends through Houndtor Wood to the much photographed Hisley Bridge. Follow the path that rises through Hisley Wood towards Lustleigh Cleave. Drop down to the River Bovey at Clam Bridge and then it's a very steep ascent to the pub.

The Kestor Inn is located in the village Manaton which is divided into three areas. Water and Freeland are at the bottom of the village. Manaton itself is at the top by the church and cricket pitch. A pretty path runs from Water and Freeland to Manaton via Horsham. Explore. 

When the River Bovey is low (it's usually low in summer), you can cross the River Bovey on Horsham Steps at Horsham Cleave. There's a nice circular walk from the Kestor Inn to Horsham, Horsham Steps and then Lustleigh Cleave. Again, you drop down to Clam Bridge and yomp up the very steep valley wall to return to the pub.

Walk to Hayne Down and Bowerman's Nose from the car park in the upper section of Manaton.

For longer walks, head out to Hound Tor (East Dartmoor) and Haytor Rocks.

Yomp to the top of Easdon Tor from the village.

Walk to Hamel Down.


Dartmoor prehistory and history around Manaton

Dartmoor is known internationally for its remarkable prehistory.

Grimspound (English Heritage) is one of the National Park's most visited sites. It's located by Hamel Down and is relatively close to Manaton. If you're a keen walker, you can easily walk to Grimspound from Manaton.

See our Best Dartmoor Prehistoric Sites for more information.


Bovey Tracey down the road from Manaton

Drop down to the Dartmoor gateway town Bovey Tracey from Manaton.

Visit the House of Marbles to Becky Falls, The Devon Guild of Craftsmen and Canonteign Falls.


Miniature Pony Centre from Manaton

If you have a young family then The Miniature Pony Centre is essential visiting.


The B3212 trans-moorland road to the Warren House Inn, Postbridge, Bellever, Two Bridges and Princetown from Manaton

The Miniature Pony Centre is situated by the B3212. This is Dartmoor's main trans-moorland road.

Drive the B3212 to the Warren House Inn. Enjoy a pint with a super moorland view.

Continue to Postbridge and stand on its famous clapper bridge.

At Postbridge, divert to Bellever and Bellever Forest. The panoramic views from Bellever Tor are magnificent.

Two Bridges is further south west. Walk to Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve. Wistman's Wood is situated in the heart of Dartmoor in a valley cut by the West Dart River upriver from Two Bridges and Two Bridges Hotel. This high altitude oak woodland gets crowded in holiday periods but is essential visiting when on holiday in Dartmoor.

Drive to Princetown. Learn more about Dartmoor National Park in the Princetown National Park Visitor Centre. Discover Dartmoor Prison's history in Dartmoor Prison Museum.

The B3357 heads west off the B3212 by Two Bridges and Princetown. Follow the B3357 to English Heritage's Merrivale. Stone rows, cairns, hut circles, cists, a standing stone and a stone circle are packed into a small area of moorland between Princetown and Tavistock on the western side of Dartmoor National Park. The B3357 skirts the prehistoric site. Two car parking areas provide very easy access. The two main stone rows are particularly impressive. Browse through the photos in the gallery to get a sense of their size and setting. Walk to Great Mis Tor and the fabulous Great Staple Tor.

The B3212 runs from Princetown down to the beauty spot Burrator Reservoir. Wander up to Sharpitor. Situated above a number of car parking areas on the B3212 Princetown to Yelverton road, Sharpitor provides a classic Dartmoor view over Burrator Reservoir to the Plymouth area and South Devon coast. The National Park's high south moor rises to the south east. Princetown and a cluster of fine tors are visible to the north east and north. Sharpitor (Princetown/West Dartmoor) is essential Dartmoor visiting that's great for kids and families.


Exeter and the Exe Estuary from Manaton

The A38 provides quick access to Exeter. Visit Exeter Cathedral and Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) are superb. Take a tour of the unique Exeter's Underground Passages.

Drop down to Exeter's Historic Quayside and cycle the Exe Estuary Trail.


Exploring South Devon and The English Riviera from Manaton

Manaton is in the eastern section of Dartmoor so it's easy to explore South Devon and The English Riviera from the village.

See our sister site Love South Devon for more information.


Other local towns and villages near Manaton

For villages, try North Bovey, Lustleigh, Haytor Vale and Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

For towns, head for Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead.