Beardown Tors, Two Bridges, Dartmoor National Park

Beardown Tors, Two Bridges, Dartmoor National Park

Cluster of outcrops overlooking the West Dart River and Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve

Many of Dartmoor's most beautiful locations are shaped by rivers. The Dart Gorge, Teign Gorge, Tavy Cleave and Lustleigh Cleave are all cut by rivers flowing from the high moor. The river valley just north of Two Bridges and Two Bridges Hotel is another. The West Dart River flows through a steep-sided valley lined to the east with Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve and topped by impressive tors. Longaford dominates on the east side. The cluster of outcrops called Beardown Tors dominates on the west side. The general area is great for walking and you can enjoy a cream tea or drink at Two Bridges Hotel afterwards.

We've positioned Beardown Tors on Google maps. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see their location.


Recommended route to Beardown Tors for the first time

To visit Beardown Tors for the first time, we'd recommend starting from Two Bridges where the B3212 and B3357 cross. It's impossible to miss Two Bridges Hotel and the two bridges spanning the West River Dart when you are there.

There's limited parking in a quarry on the north side of the road. There's also space for about half a dozen cars by the road. Clearly, you can also walk from Two Bridges Hotel if you are a customer. It's a great location in which to stay and they sell a fine cream tea.

To begin, walk west down the road and over one of the two bridges after which this place is named. You are now on the west side of the West Dart River. Take the path on your right that runs through woodland and above the Cowsic River. Cross the Cowsic River via the bridge and follow the path through Beardown Farm and into the plantation on Beardown Hill. You walk next to Devonport Leat. As you leave the plantation, stunning views open out. The steep-sided valley cut by the West River Dart is ahead of you. Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve is visible above the river.

Continue on the path that follows the shape of Devonport Leat and then across the leat on a footbridge as marked on Ordnance Survey Explorer mapping (paper and digital versions). Yomp up the side of the moor to Beardown Tors.

Note that Beardown Tors sit on the edge of the British Army's Merrivale Firing Range. Google firing times before you go. If the army are training, you'll see red flags flying and usually hear machine gun fire in this area. Beardown Tors are on the civilian side of the range so you're fine!

Once you've enjoyed the views, turn around and retrace your footsteps back to Two Bridges.


Extending this route into a circular walk to Beardown Tors from Two Bridges

Dartmoor's many rivers are formidable barriers after heavy rain. When in spate, it's dangerous to attempt to cross these rivers even near their headwaters. However, after periods of dry weather, the National Park is packed with fords and stepping stones that you can use to cross water. The West Dart River can be crossed at Wistman's Wood Ford.

To extend the recommended route described above into a circular walk, head north of Beardown Tors until you come to the ancient Lichway/Lych Way as marked on Ordnance Survey Explorer mapping. Follow the Lichway/Lych Way as it drops down to Wistman's Wood Ford. Cross the West River Dart and then loop around to the north end of Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve. Explore this extraordinary place and then walk the very obvious and worn path back to Two Bridges.


Other routes and directions to Beardown Tors

As is the case with most tors on Dartmoor, you can walk in from all directions. Here are other routes to Beardown Tors. We've walked them all with very young kids and they're all straightforward. The only caveat is the volume of water in the West Dart River. Don't try to cross it after rain. If you're long distance walking on Dartmoor, for example following the Lichway/Lych Way, you have to divert to Two Bridges and wander back up to Beardown Tors to rejoin the way. We've been forced to do this many times and it's the only safe way to cross the river.


Routes and directions to Beardown Tors from the west

There's a car parking area at Holming Beam just off the B3357 west of Two Bridges. It offers great access to the remote and under-visited Merrivale Range area of Dartmoor. It also provides an easy walk to Beardown Tors from the west.

Walk north from the car parking area and you come to a track that drops down to a footbridge that spans the Cowsic River. It's then a yomp up the side of the moor to Beardown Tors.

When river levels are low, you can extend this into a circular walk. Head north of Beardown Tors to connect with the ancient Lichway/Lych Way. Follow this below Lydford Tor and descend to the ford at Broad Hole. Cross the water (again, impassable after heavy rain) and then walk uphill before trending south over the skinny Conies Down Water back to Holming Beam.

If you're walking from the west of Dartmoor, use the Lichway/Lych Way. Head for White Barrow, ford the River Walkham and continue to Broad Hole and Beardown Tors. This is remote moorland and it's wonderful.


Routes and directins to Beardown Tors from the east

We'd recommend walking the Lichway/Lych Way from Bellever Forest to the east. Park in the heart of Bellever Forest (charges apply) and follow the way through the forest to the B3212. Cross the road and continue to Powdermills before ascending to Longaford Tor. Drop down to Wistman's Wood Ford and then climb to Beardown Tors. Only try this route after a spell of dry weather.

You can make this into a circular walk by then wandering down to Devonport Leat and Beardown Farm. Continue to Two Bridges and then take the path to Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve. Yomp up to Longaford Tor and return to Bellever Forest.


Routes and directions to Beardown Tors from the north

This one is for experienced walkers. The moor north of Beardown Tors is remote, rough and boggy. It's where you'll find the headwaters of the West Dart River, the Cowsic River and the River Tavy. Beyond these are Cut Hill and Fur Tor. You'll most likely come from this direction if you're walking across Dartmoor or completing a large loop taking in Cut Hill and Fur Tor.

From Cut Hill and Fur Tor, walk the moor between the West Dart Head and Tavy Head. Be particularly mindful of boggy patches up there (look out for bright green patches or reflections in standing water). We wouldn't recommend this after rain as it's very difficult walking.

Head south to Devil's Tor and Beardown Man Standing Stone. Continue to Lydford Tor (where you're leaving behind the tricky terrain) and then Beardown Tors. Depending on your route, either then cross Wistman's Wood Ford or head to Two Bridges to complete your walk.


The views from Beardown Tors

The views from Beardown Tors are massive. Highlights include Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve below to the east and Great Mis Tor to the west.


The area around Beardown Tors

In the local area, make sure you visit Wistman's Wood National Nature Reserve and Princetown.