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Hiking in Dartmoor National Park was on my list of things to do on my Devon Road Trip, so was finding Dartmoor Ponies, and I managed to do both on a lovely half-day in Dartmoor National Park by doing the Haytor Walk and visiting many other famous tors in Dartmoor like Hound Tor and Saddle Tor!
So in this Devon blog post, I’m going to tell you how I did one of the best hikes in Dartmoor National Park including where I parked and how I found all of these tor’s to help your plan your hike and trip as this wasn’t something I was sure on before I arrived in the National Park.
Doing the Haytor Walk, the Hound Tor Walk and Saddle Tor Walk are great ideas for Dartmoor walks because of their easy to reach location to the East of the National Park especially if you’re coming from Exeter or Exmouth way.
Now, before we get into this Dartmoor walk to visit all of these ‘Tor’s’, you may be familiar with different Tor’s around the UK like in the Peak District, Lake District and here in the South West of England but…
What is a Tor?
A Tor a large, free-standing rock outcrop that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest.
Tors are landforms created by the erosion and weathering of rock; most commonly granites, but also schists, dacites, dolerites, ignimbrites, coarse sandstones and others. Tors are mostly less than 5 meters (16 ft) high. (courtesy of Wikipedia)
How to get to Haytor
My route took me via Bovey Tracey which is a small village and I decided to stop here for a toilet break and to pick up some lunch which I’m glad I did. There’s a Co-op and Tesco Express along with some other cafes in the village so it’s an ideal place to stop en route to Haytor.
From here I entered Dartmoor National Park from the East and continued along the road for just 12 minutes with my stop being Haytor Car Park.
Although I was in the National Park, the typical roads of Dartmoor National Park with the rolling countryside to each side and the possibility of seeing the ponies didn’t really open up until I got into Haytor Vale and passed the Haytor National Park Information Centre and the Dartmoor Activity Centre which is behind it.
There is ‘Haytor Car Park‘ located on Google Maps which is very close to the Haytor Rocks.
If you come from the East as I did, before reaching this official Hay tor walk car park on Google you’ll see the Haytor National Park Information Centre Car Park (also on Google Maps). I’m not 100% but there may be a cost to park in the official information centre car park.
Between these 2 car parks are more car parks for Haytor on each side of the road.
The reason I am explaining all of this, is because from what I saw, it costs money to park in the actual Haytor car park whereas when parking in one of the smaller car parks and less official car parks, it doesn’t cost money to park.
Below is the car park for Haytor I parked in which had plenty of space (although there were Dartmoor Ponies in there when I arrived too) and it’s free to park.
Hay Tor Walk
From either of the car parks for Hay tor, it is really easy to reach the iconic Haytor rocks. There are different footpaths all leading up a hill to the top.
Once at the ridge of of Haytor the view is incredible all around but what surprised and impressed me most was how many footpaths I could see laid out head of me and how many rocks and Tor’s in the distance there were to see!
Google Map’s is pretty rubbish when it comes to finding footpaths here, instead I used Maps.me which as you can see below shows just how many paths there are from Haytor!
What I also loved is that once at the top the land is pretty flat, this makes the hiking in the Dartmoor National Park here not too hard, it also makes it easy to see what’s in front and get there.
Whilst on this part of the hay tor walk, I recommend walking down the hill a bit to Haytor Quarry. The Hayer Quarry walk doesn’t take too long from Haytor Rocks at all.
Hound Tor Walk
Hound Tor is also known as one of the best hikes in Dartmoor National Park because it’s such an iconic rock and tor. Countryfile says: The story goes that it was created when a mighty hunter called Bowerman interrupted a coven of witches with his pack of hounds. The witches responded by turning the hunter and his hounds to stone!
Hence the name!
Getting to Hound Tor from Hay Tor is pretty easy, there is a fairly straight footpath although at times the footpaths can be hard to stick to because you’ll see see other rock attractions on route.
For this Hound Tor Walk I recommend walking via Holwell Tor, Smallacombe Rocks, Greator Rocks and look out for the Hound Tor Deserted Medieval Village (which is on Google Maps) before reaching Hound Tor.
Saddle Tor Walk
To finish up this Hay tor circular walk and one of the best best hikes in Dartmoor, I suggest heading towards Saddle Tor which is another famous Tor in Dartmoor!
To get from Hound Tor to Saddle Tor, you will pretty much walk back the way you came, although as I said, there are many different footpaths all going the same way so you can mix it up a bit, and instead of going towards Haytor at the end, go left to Saddle Tor via Emsworthy Rocks.
Saddle Tor is really close to the road so I walked from Saddle Tor to Haytor and Haytor Car Park via the side of the road which was a great chance to see more Dartmoor Ponies!
As a side note, this is a really good post about seeing the Dartmoor Ponies!
I hope you enjoy this Dartmoor Walk around Haytor, Hound Tor, Saddle Tor and more Tor’s in Dartmoor National Park!
- For more of my posts to help plan your South West trip see:
- A Devon Road Trip Guide & Devon Road Trip Itinerary To Plan Your Trip!
- 25 BEST Things To Do in Lyme Regis and Near Lyme Regis!
- 15 Hidden Gems in Cornwall To Visit To Escape The Crowds!
- Best Things To Do in Padstow & Things To Do Near Padstow!
- How To Visit Cheddar Gorge. Things To Do, Cheddar Gorge Walks & Parking!