Wednesday Walks – Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor

wistmans

Image credit: Derek Harper | CC BY-SA 2.0 | via Wikimedia Commons

At a distance of 4.6 miles we are classing this circular walk on Dartmoor as medium difficulty. You’ll start and finish near Two Bridges Hotel in the centre of the moor where you’ll be able to stop for a well-earned refreshment after the walk! Two Bridges is half an hour or so drive from us here at Bowerland, so why not plan this walk during your stay with us?

To start, park up in the car park opposite the Two Bridges Hotel which is actually a disused quarry. From here you’ll need to walk along the track for about half a mile, after which the path will split – take the left route to head along to Wistman’s Wood.

After another half mile or so you’ll need to cross over a stile, before following the small path next to the woods. There is a Dartmoor legend that the Devil keeps his black ‘Wisht Hounds’ within the wood, who come out onto the moor on dark and misty nights looking for travellers – so take care when peering in!

As the path takes you round the outskirts of the woods you’ll eventually reach the Druid’s Stone (named as such because Wistman’s Wood is believed to have been a Druidic site). The stone has an inscription commemorating a ‘Mr Buller’ for removing a tree back in the 1800s. When you’re ready, continue on until you reach a weir.

You’ll find that the path splits into two options. Either can be used to reach the weir – if it’s a rainy day when you’re out on your walk you may wish to stick to the safer top route. Once you reach the weir, head up towards Longaford Tor.  An interesting fact – on the other side of the Tor you’ll see Bellever Forest, the start of the ‘Lych Way’ or ‘Corpse Road’. Up until 1260AD all Dartmoor residents had to be buried at Lydford, and for those on the East side of Dartmoor this route started at Bellever Forest.

Follow the route across the side of Longaford Tor, and across the weir mentioned earlier towards Lydford itself. You’ll now pass into a rockier area called Littaford Tors. From here follow the path downwards, eventually crossing over a stile back onto the original path we started on. Follow this for half a mile to reach the car park we started from.

Chris Green

About the Author: Chris Green works in the office at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs, using his technical expertise to assist wherever needed. In his spare time he likes playing guitar and bass, and hiking around Dartmoor.

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