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Dartmoor National Park
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The Dartmoor National Park Destination is located in Devon, England. Comprised of numerous cities, rivers, bogs, and its namesake—Dartmoor National Park—the destination receives millions of visitors each year.[7] The area's coastal environment brings in a decent proportion of cloud cover throughout the year. Additionally, the overall climate of the region is described as "cool" during the summers and "wet and very cold" in winter. Temperatures range between 3 and 8 degrees Celsius from late November to February of each year, while June through September often experiences highs and lows of 19 degrees and 12 degrees Celsius, respectively. As such, warm-weather activities are more accessible and popular from June to August.[5] Overall, Dartmoor National Park is known for its wide range of outdoor attractions, including standing stones, hiking trails, and tors (hills with rocky surfacing). It is also the setting for many folktales and myths, including the inspiration behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel titled The Hound of Baskerville.[2]

What Dartmoor National Park is known for

The Dartmoor National Park Destination—named for the most prominent nature-based attraction in the area—is located in Devon, England. Cities such as Plymouth, Exeter, Helston, Barnstaple, and Wellington comprise the destination, and the territory contains hundreds of miles of coastline, as well as a few isles. Plymouth, in particular, is one of the largest towns in the region and is home to approximately 262,000 people. Home to the University of Plymouth and the naval base HMNB Devonport, Plymouth is considered to be a "small-port city." [8]

Dartmoor National Park features a number of outdoor activities for visiting tourists, including attractions such as horseback riding, climbing, camping, cycling, and canoeing. An additional activity that is possible in Dartmoor is called "letterboxing." The process—which originated in Dartmoor in 1854 with a man named James Perrott—involves setting up a small container on or near a hiking trail and leaving letters, notes, or other items for future navigators to discover. Geocaching, which is similar to letterboxing, is also available throughout Dartmoor National Park. Park officials do like to point out, however, that many indigenous species of birds nest on the ground in the spring and early summer. These birds should be left undisturbed in all letterboxing or geocaching endeavors.[1]

Locals have many ideas when it comes to "experience[ing] The Moor," some of which are specifically catered to families. These features involve "jumping on thrilling rides" or "getting up close to exotic animals." Many of the attractions in Dartmoor National Park are connected to a number of legends or myths associated with the area. Local folklore is filled with stories of witchcraft, pixies, ghosts, and other strange beings or occurrences. The Coffin Stone, Grey Wethers Stone Circles, Crazywell Pool, and Branscombe's Loaf and Cheese are just a few examples of Dartmoor attractions that are "shrouded in mystery." Perhaps the most famous of the Dartmoor folktales is that of the "Hound of the Baskervilles," which was penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his Sherlock Holmes novels. The tale had a basis in existing myths surrounding someone of an "evil reputation" called Squire Cabell. When the man died, supposedly a pack of black hounds "ran howling across Dartmoor."[2]

Apart from the various tourist attractions in the Dartmoor area, the land has certain sections which are used as military firing ranges. This facility is separate from the Dartmoor National Park Authority—a group of 22 individuals that manage the park's operation—and requires special permission to access their otherwise restricted firing ranges.[3]


Like in other regions of the British Isles, the Dartmoor National Park Destination has a relatively cool climate throughout the year. During the summer, which ranges from the middle of June to the middle of September on average, temperatures rarely exceed 19 degrees Celsius or fall below 12 degrees. This is a major factor for many tourists to the national park, so it is not surprising that the recommended "best time of year for warm-weather activities" is reported to be between June and August. In contrast, winters are described as "long, very cold, and wet." Moderate wind and partially cloudy skies are common occurrences in the Dartmoor National Park Destination. Most years, the average high and low temperatures during the winter are between 3 and 8 degrees Celsius.[5]

Precipitation and cloud cover in the area are approximately consistent from month to month. There are slight increases in the proportion of cloudy days between November and March, and rain is marginally more likely in that same time range as well. Local humidity levels are described as "dry" throughout much of the year, though mild humidity can be present between May and November.[5]

Given the region's emphasis on outdoor attractions—including hiking, biking, or other direct methods of experiencing the surrounding nature—it is possible to find a number of plant and animal species near Dartmoor. Cows are some of the most common creatures to spot during a trip to the national park or territory as a whole. There are multiple different types of cows in the area, with the Highland cow being the most distinctive. "These breeds have shaggy coats and big horns," explains the website of a local wildlife centre. Similarly "shaggy" ponies have lived in Dartmoor for centuries and in recent years, are looked after by local residents of Dartmoor.[6]

Birdwatchers in the Dartmoor National Park Destination might catch sights of stonechats, skylarks, meadow pipits, and snipes. On rare occasions, species such as ring ouzel and cuckoo can be spotted as well. The woodland and heathland environments in Dartmoor are home to frogs, toads, salmon, and trout. As a whole, the UK is reported to have only one venomous species of snake, the adder, which is native to Dartmoor. The snakes are timid and rarely surface from underground homes, primarily only biting things that directly bother them.[6]

Dartmoor includes numerous rivers, such as the Dartmeet, Taw, Tavy, Avon, and Teign. Bogs, tors—hills that are surfaced in bedrock or other boulder-like formations—and lowlands are common in the destination as well.[3]


One of the most defining features of the Dartmoor National Park Destination is its natural granite formations. The rocks were forged approximately 280 years ago and in modern times are seen predominantly in the rocky outcrops on hills known as "tors." Ancient peoples in Dartmoor began as hunters and gatherers, though they steadily increased in their agricultural development. During the Bronze Age (c.2300 to 800 BC), people began to create larger structures, including villages of roundhouses and boundary walls—otherwise known as "reaves." Many of these structures still exist today, albeit as ruins of what they once were.[4]

Standing stones, which serve as prehistoric pieces of evidence regarding early human development, are spread throughout the territory. Beardown Man, Drizzlecombe, Grey Wethers, and Scorhill are examples of stone circles, stone rows, and cairns of the region. Upper Erme stone row is the longest of its kind in the entire world, with numerous stones forming a line that stretches nearly 11,000 feet in length.[3]

Dartmoor's largest industries over the years have been agriculture, tin ore mining (mostly during the medieval period), granite, gunpowder, and tourism. Parts of the moor are used for military purposes, though the majority of the land has been designated as the Dartmoor National Park. Governed by the Dartmoor National Park Authority, the attraction became formally registered in 1951 and has been a prominent tourist attraction in England ever since.[4] More specifically, Dartmoor National Park received just over 7 million visitors in 2014. The majority of these tourists resided in Teignbridge, West Devon, or Plymouth during their stay. It is estimated that by 2039 the number of annual visitors to the national park will be close to 8 million.[7]

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Cherrywood Lodge

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Cherrywood Lodge

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