wistmans wood

Wistman’s Wood

The walk to Wistman’s Wood and Longaford Tor can be an easy 2.6 mile walk or you can extend it into a 4.6 miles walk of medium difficulty.  For guests coming to visit – it is about a 37 min drive from the Bowerland in the heart of Dartmoor. See driving directions.

Wistman’s Wood is an ancient forest of dwarf oak trees, steeped in mystery and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This ancient forest has been mentioned in writing for hundreds of years. It is likely to be a left-over from the forest that covered much of Dartmoor c. 7000 BCE, before Mesolithic hunter/gatherers cleared it around 5000 BCE.” ~ Wikipedia

  • After parking in the quarry,  walk along a man-made track about half a mile where the path splits. Then take the moorland path on the left to Wistman’s Wood. This is a great place to walk your dogs. The woods are 1.3 miles from the old quarry. Look out for the notice board just before the final stile. You can read some information about the woods.
  • There is a small path which runs above the woods so you can peek into their depths.
  • As you follow this path you may hear some loud echoing booms which are nothing to be alarmed about, it is just the firing range on Beardown Tors, which is opposite you.
  • Carry on to the far side of the woods and have a look at the Druids Stone or Buller Stone as it was later known. There is an inscription on it from 1866 commemorating Mr Buller for removing a tree from the woods. If you are looking for a shorter walk, turn back here, otherwise continue on to the weir.
  • To get to the weir from here the path splits into two and if wet it is better to stick to the top path, however if it is dry take the lower route, briefly climbing a stile (and back) to the river to get a nice photo back down the valley. A marshy path follows the wall along and up to the weir.
Longaford Tor

From here head up towards Longaford Tor and Little Longaford Tor. It is possible to see Bellever forest on the other side which was the start of the Lych Way, sometimes known as the Corpse Road. This is the route the dead were taken for burial at Lydford. For Dartmoor residents, up until 1260 all burials had to take place at Lydford and for those on the eastern side of the moor, the 12 mile (19km) route started at Bellever. After 1260, permission was given by Bishop Bronescombe to allow burials at Widecombe.

The route goes from Bellever, to the side of Longaford Tor, and across the weir you have just visited, continuing towards Lydford.  Longaford Tor is also easily recognised as an impressive granite pyramid. Carry on along the top towards Littaford Tors. This area is quite rocky with the remains of Bronze Age settlements scattered around. Follow the path along and down, over a stile and then you will meet the original man-made path for the half a mile back to the old quarry.

The nearest refreshments and facilities is in Princetown, at the Two Bridges Hotel. Parking is opposite the Two Bridges Hotel in the small quarry car parking.

We hope you enjoy this beautiful walk. Read more of our Wednesday Walks HERE. And see Devon Dog’s Calendar of Events HERE.

Come and stay with us in our cottage style apartments, right in the heart of Dartmoor, and try out our amazing Wednesday Walks for yourself.


Featured image by Alan Hunt | CC BY-SA 2.0 | via Wikimedia Commons