Starts/Finishes: Princetown Main Car Park, Station Road, PL20 6QF. (GR: SX589735)
Distance: 6.5 miles
Time: 2 – 2.5 hours by bike, 4 hours on foot
Terrain: Hard-packed gravel and rocky trail – using former railway track
Parking: Chargeable car park in Princetown – PL20 6QF
Princetown Railway Walk and Cycle Route
Although we’re focusing on the cycling aspect, this wide multi-use route is shared by walkers as well as cyclists and so can be enjoyed however you prefer.
Turn left out of the car park entrance and then take the track on the left immediately after the Fire Station. This link path will take you onto the dismantled Princetown Railway line, where you’ll continue to the right.
The route stays relatively level but increases in roughness as you go. As the road drops away from you to the left you’ll start to venture further into open moorland with magnificent views ahead to King’s Tor and beyond.
After approximately 1.5 miles you’ll come to a clearly defined crossroads. Turn left and follow the track downhill for a short way. Turn right at the next junction to follow the rugged and beautiful King’s Tor loop.
There’s so much to see and explore on this loop. On your right you’ll see the remnants of Swelltor Quarry, including the remains of old quarry buildings, and as you continue along you’ll enjoy being encompassed by granite boulders contrasting against the moorland before admiring the view over the woodland valley and across to Pew Tor.
As you loop around and over the bridge, you’ll have access to King’s Tor to your right – well worth a climb to enjoy a 360 look at the landscape.
Continue along the track and you’ll find yourself back at the crossroad junction. It’s well worth turning left and taking the optional quarter mile detour to visit the stunning Foggintor Quarry. Once one of the three great Dartmoor quarries, its most notable claim to fame is providing the granite stone for Nelson’s Column!
Nowadays this still scar on the landscape offers a chance to shelter from the wind, enjoy a picnic and admire the sun bouncing off the water and rock faces.
Otherwise, simply continue straight ahead to follow the cycleway back to the car park where you began.
Looking for a longer route? Keep following the route south from Foggintor Quarry to continue onwards to Ingra Tor and Burrator Reservoir to make a full day utilising the entire 18 mile loop. Don’t have your own bike? Cycle hire is available from Fox Tor Café in the centre of just town by the roundabout. Booking ahead is advised.
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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