Starts/Finishes: Bellever Forest Car Park, PL20 6TP
Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Terrain: Bridleway, gravel tracks, moorland footpaths.
Parking: Ample paid parking.
Bellever Forest Circular Walk
Enjoy time as a family in the outdoors this festive season by heading further afield to Dartmoor, where you’ll discover this rugged National Park has more than just open moorland on offer. All ages and abilities can enjoy this tranquil setting and a relatively easy circular route along hard-packed forestry tracks.
Bellever is a working forest, with timber being produced here since the 1930s. But while the forest is very much a key part of softwood supply in the South West, its archaeological importance and sheer beauty is what brings in the visitors. Burial cairns and hut circles show early signs of life from people living here in the Bronze Age, with the remains of Clapper Bridge clearly visible from the roadside nearby.
The route starts at Bellever Forest car park. Opposite the car park is a beautiful section of the River Dart. Often a very popular spot in summer to play in the water, in winter it offers a chance to see the beauty without the crowds. Visit on a crisp, clear morning to enjoy sunrise painting the entire area a gorgeous golden colour. This popular spot is accessible for wheelchairs and buggies too, making it a prime spot for a picnic.
From the car park, follow the main track turning right when looking away from the toilet block. (1) Take the path between the picnic benches and then through the gate on the far side, taking the track uphill ahead.
(2) At the boundary wall, remain on the main track which goes round to the right.
(3) Take the right path when the track divides, going steadily downhill.
(4) After some time, the path will go out of the forest and between fields. Go through the gate and turn right to take the tarmac road. You’ll pass Bellever YHA on your left.
Continue straight ahead at the road fork, ignoring the turning on your right immediately after. (5) Then take the next right turn to re-enter the car park where you began.
(6) Extend your route further by heading west out of the forest and up to Bellever Tor for a stunning 360 degree panoramic viewpoint over the forest and to Laughter Tor on the other side, as well as across to Two Bridges and Princetown beyond.
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum