Swirling mists, granite tors, wide open spaces, attractive towns and villages, deep bogs, ponies, a grim prison, Sherlock Holmes - many images come to mind when thinking of Dartmoor. Such is the fascination of this unspoilt area of countryside that, during the 1990s, Dartmoor has attracted over 10 million day visits each year, not surprising as it is just a short drive from the resort areas of south Devon.
Dartmoor was designated one of the National Parks of England and Wales in 1951. It is a beautiful moorland landscape with wooded valleys, windswept Tors and picturesque thatch and granite villages, covering some 369 square miles in area. The public can roam freely on unenclosed, open moorland both on foot and horseback. There are also about 600 miles of public rights of way. Dartmoor is a rich habitat for wildlife and has a wealth of archaeological remains.
Whenever you pay a visit to Dartmoor you are sure to see many Dartmoor Ponies roaming freely over the moorland. The ponies live out on the moor all year round and spend most of the time in small herds of mares with one adult stallion and the young ponies. Although they live wild all the ponies are owned and every year, in late September and early October, pony drifts are held. The ponies are gathered up and the weaker ponies, unable to cope with a bleak Dartmoor winter, are sent to market. They are a joy to see but please remember not to feed them as this attracts them towards the dangers of the roads. As they are wild animals they are liable to bite or kick so it's advisable to keep a safe distance.
Click Image For a Panoramic View of Haytor
Use the map of Dartmoor below to zoom in or out to view directions or click the satellite button for an aerial view. For a larger version of this Dartmoor map Click Here.