Bovey Tracey, TQ13 9JQ
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Distance: 2.7 miles
Terrain: Mixture of grass, hard-packed and muddy footpaths
Parking: Large car park at Parke main entrance
Parke Riverside Walk
The peaceful Parke estate is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys nature, history, Victorian era growing and an array of fantastic wildlife.
As well as boasting beautiful gardens in which to enjoy spiritual refreshment, this previous family home was engineered to be almost entirely self-sufficient, thanks in large part to its wonderful walled garden dating back to the 1800s.
Today the vegetable garden is run in partnership between the local people of Bovey Community Garden and the National Trust, where gardeners work, learn and socialise in return for a share of the crops.
As you walk around the estate you’ll see over 150 apple trees and mistletoe in abundance within the orchard, tranquil fishponds and medieval weir, and rolling meadows for grazing livestock.
Parke offers three routes of varying lengths to suit all fitness levels. A short route takes around 30 minutes, a medium route takes around an hour, and a much longer route which takes you out into woodland outside of the estate can be completed in half a day. We recommend a hybrid of the start of the long route and then following the medium route where they meet, taking around 1 – 1.5 hours which includes a riverside walk and a steep climb through Blackmoor Copse.
From the main visitor entrance from the car park, a map board will help you find your bearings.
(1) Take the path opposite and ascend past the orchard on your right. Continue uphill along the hard-packed track and make your way through a wooden gate into a field.
Continue straight ahead, stopping to say hello to any charming Dartmoor ponies as you travel – part of the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust.
(2) Admire far-reaching views across Bovey Tracey and the surrounding valley from the top of this field.
Next, go through two kissing gates and continue along the ridge of the next field, aiming towards another in the distance. A marker post will keep you headed in the right direction.
(3) As you reach the gate, you’ll descend down into the woods, turning right to join the medium-length purple route (4). There’s the chance to take a short detour to a bench with a fantastic valley viewpoint before following this route as it continues down to the River Bovey.
When you reach the bridge over the river, (5) be sure to turn right to stay on the purple route, following the twists and turns of this meandering watercourse.
(6) Eventually you’ll reach a Medieval weir which feeds the fishponds and the now disused mill. Continue through the gate and follow the river’s edge until you reach an intersection of paths and a stone bridge on your right. (7) Take the road over the bridge and then walk the final strenuous climb taking you back to the visitor centre.
See more like this
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