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Dartmoor circular walk - one weekend?

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 londonbear 08 Oct 2020

Hi folks, 

Unexpected ended up with a friend's car for the weekend, and wanted to make a mad dash somewhere we've never been, like Dartmoor. Would anyone have an itinerary for a single weekend circular walk? The stuff I'm seeing online is very brief, and even the day-long walk we thought of splitting into two (https://www.visitdartmoor.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Moors_Tors_East_Dartmoor_130887516.pdf) looks super short when traced on Google maps. The idea is to arrive at Dartmoor from London at 12pm Sat, and get back to the car at 4pm Sun; wild camping. 

Alternatively, if anyone has a saner idea nearer to London for a circular walk that allows for one wild camping night (or two - guess we start leave on Friday evening if we don't need to drive for 4 hours) this would also be extremely welcome. 

Very very grateful for everyone's time and insights. 

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 stuartf 08 Oct 2020
In reply to londonbear:

Start at okehampton, go up thorough the army camp, then rowtor, west mill tor, yes tor, high willhayes, dinger tor, lints tor, sandy ford, kitty tor, great links tor, hare tor, head ESE to tavy cleave, follow the river for a bit then up to fur tor and cut hill, then down the North West passage to Sandy hole pass. Head back by sittaford tor, Whitehorse hill, hangingstone hill, wild tor, and cosdon beacon before heading down to belstone, then take the Footpath that crosses the east okement river and follows the valley back down to okehampton. 

Plenty of wild camping spots, some of the ground is pretty rough and remote, particularly between tavy cleave and sandy hole pass. 

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 Wainers44 08 Oct 2020
In reply to londonbear:

The classic circular is the Dartmoor Perambulation.  Even in 2 days though it's a tough old walk. You will need to be able to nav very well.

https://www.sites.google.com/site/dartmoorancientboundarywalk/home

If you do it, start from either Warren House or Princetown. That way if day 1 is too tough and you only get halfway round, road transport by taxi is much easier and cheaper to sort!

Sorry,  just noticed your timings.  Might be a bit tight!! Could still do the North Moor half over two days and return and finish it another time?

Post edited at 08:01
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 londonbear 08 Oct 2020
In reply to londonbear:

Thank you both! Yes, we took a more sober look at timings and shuddered - it comes out to 8-10 hours drive to 8-10 hours walking. We might do something closer to home this time, maybe Chilterns / Cotswolds if we can find a nicely wild-y camping spot (wild camping is probably not an option). Will save Dartmoor for some bank holiday weekend   

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In reply to londonbear:

It's tough, living in London but loving hills. We once did an article on this common problem:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/features/hillwalking_for_londoners_-_a_survival_guide-7789

Maybe nip out to The Ridgeway or the South Downs Way. Either will give you a very decent walk, and you will easily find a tucked away corner for a low impact dusk-to-dawn wild camp (not strictly legal, don't tell them I said you could). Carry enough water for the night/2nd day. 

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 Sean Kelly 08 Oct 2020
In reply to londonbear:

It's worth bearing in mind that if you opt to stay off designated tracks then Dartmoor can be really hard going with uneven ground and tuft grass. And as for the mires with all this rain you will certainly get wet feet. River crossing can also be quite hazardous with all the recent rain. All in all a good challenging day to be had on the high moor. The circuit from above Belstone taking in Irishman's Wall enroute is generally hazard free if you stick to the high ground. Vary the length to suit the time available.

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In reply to Sean Kelly:

If it's raining a lot then even the hills will be running with water. It's a bizarre thing to see standing water deep enough to overwhelm trainers on a grassy slope.

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In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> Maybe nip out to The Ridgeway 

Walked this one Easter a good number of years ago and it was astonishing how remote many parts of it felt when you are in the middle of the Home Counties.  Also how spooky it was at dusk at Wayland's Smithy all by myself...

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In reply to Bobling:

I bet!

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 BuzyG 09 Oct 2020
In reply to londonbear:

Perfect weekend for Dartmoor.  It's just such a magical place this time of year. Remote and mysterious.  Well worth a bit of a drive to be up there away from the hordes. 

The route StuartF suggest above is a really good circuit and easily achievable for most in the time you have available. 

Enjoy your Weekend where ever you end up.

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 Sean Kelly 10 Oct 2020
In reply to londonbear:

Not so perfect actually. It was bitter in the very strong winds today. Managed 2 hours with the dog who appeared impervious to the freezing wind. Some hardy souls attempting to climb at Haytor. Would have been ok at the Dewerstone though!

Post edited at 19:27
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 BuzyG 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

I can't comment on Saturday I was on Bodmin moor. The weather was pretty decent up on Dartmoor Sunday though.  I was Walking the West Dart area all day.  The visibility was just amazing.  you could see clear out to sea into Torbay, which is a good distance.  Haytor looked to be bathed in sunshine most of the day too.  A lot of trees at Dewerstone, which though they provide great protection from the wind and cold, also hold the moisture long after it stops raining.

Post edited at 12:58
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