Hamel Down, Widecombe in the Moor, Dartmoor National Park

Hamel Down, Widecombe in the Moor, Dartmoor National Park

Drive along the A30 that skirts the northern boundary of Dartmoor National Park and you'll see the unmistakable dome of Cosdon Hill topped by Cosdon Beacon. Further south, towards the heart of the National Park is the equally vast Hamel Down topped by a tor, barrows and its own beacon. The views from the broad ridge that runs along the down are sensational, especially those looking east towards the Haytor Rocks area with the South Devon coast beyond.

We've positioned Hamel Down on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location. Given its size, you can walk in from all directions. If you're heading in from the south, start at Widecombe in the Moor. Connect with the Two Moors Way and follow it up on to Hamel Down's broad ridge. If you're coming from the north, there's limited parking on the side of the road by English Heritage's Grimspound. It's a short, sharp yomp up the flank of Hamel Down to Hameldown Tor. Again, follow the Two Moors Way. You can also walk in from the Natsworthy and Heathercombe area to the east. In addition, whilst it takes a little longer, you can walk in from the car parking areas near the Warren House Inn or from the large car park and viewpoint on the B3212 above Lettaford at the edge of Shapely Common. Refer to the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map for detail. With kids, we tend to cover one kilometre in thirty minutes.

Hamel Down is impressive all year round but, if possible, try to visit in late summer when the heather and gorse are out. The smell and colours are intoxicating.

Running north to south, points of interest on Hamel Down include:

Grimspound (English Heritage)

Hameldown Tor

Hamel Down Cross

Broad Barrow

Two Barrows

Hameldown Beacon