At the beginning of January we had a free weekend that we wanted to invest in a little road trip. We live in West London, so we decided to go for a relaxed weekend, and looking for a Natural Park we chose Dartmoor. From West London to the south-east border of the Park (where we had our B&B ) it took us a bit more than 3 hours driving.
We stayed at the Abbey Inn in Buckfeastleigh, in Devon. Since it was low season, we got a really nice room with views over the river, for around 55£. The service was excellent, the food amazing and we felt welcome and very comfortable.
After our arrival at the hotel we were a bit tired of the car, and it was getting dark anyway, so we decided to walk around the town’s Abbey, which was about 5 minutes walking from our hotel, we didn’t get in but it was beautiful from the outside already; the gardens are lovely.
We went to bed early and the next morning we left soon after breakfast to explore the Park (check map route 1 below). The place itself is exceptionally beautiful, amazing green endless spaces and the occasional wild pony or sheep here and there. We followed the road, crossing Dartmoor National Park from south-east to west, stopping at the highest point to take some pictures and admire a 360 degrees civilization-less view. We stopped several times for a quick interaction with the ponies (I had a couple of bananas for them), which always brings a smile on my face. We stopped in a parking spot where 6 or 7 of them were nibbling grass, and they soon gathered around us to check on the bananas.
When they finished the fruit we were of no more interest for them (of course ) so we left. We headed for some warm Sunday roast in the town of Yelverton (2) and later we wanted to see the White Lady waterfalls, which are known to be the most beautiful in the whole park (3), they are also known as Lydford Gorge.
There’s a long path all along the river that is 2 hours long but it is closed during winter time, we just did the short one that takes around 40 minutes. There’s a “difficult”path with stairs and narrow stone paths, and another softer one. The place was all musky, mossy and it was decorated with this little wood fellas sculptures, which was somehow creepy but it added to the atmosphere. Also the fact that the place was empty made this trip totally worth it, even if the long path was closed.
From the magical waterfall we wanted to visit another cool place (4), which was the Okehampton Castle but it was also closed for winter! This was a bit disappointing.
After this long exploration day we started our way back to the city, and we were back home at 21.00.
Car rental: 55
Dinner and Lunch: 40
The approximate budget for this weekend trip was 180£. I had fun and I enjoyed a relaxed time, I’m decided to return and explore a bit more in detail the park, and probably when the weather is a bit nicer come back for some hiking, since I saw plenty of interesting routes. The drive around Dartmoor National Park is also really nice, the views are breathtaking and the roads are in good condition, although inside the park most of the roads are one lane only!