“ I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.” Steven Spielberg.

Activities in Dartmoor While Social Distancing

With the Covid-19 pandemic easing up a bit, with the help of social distancing and other precautions there are a host of activities in Dartmoor that can be enjoyed. During these uncertain times, focusing on the welfare and safety of the residents, visitors and tourism workers is at the forefront, there are options. Whether you’re looking to explore the high tors on foot, head over the moors on horseback, hit the links or just spend a quiet day fishing, there are many activities in Dartmoor welcoming visitors and guests again.

Bear in mind, that as the situation is changing rapidly, be sure to closely monitor all government guidelines prior to making your plans.

Go Fishing
Not many sports scream “Social Distancing” more than fishing? The Dartmoor Reservoirs and Rivers and well known for their great fishing, with sea trout, wild brown trout and salmon in abundance. While much of the fishing on the river in Dartmoor is privately owned, there are stretches of the East and West Dart Rivers that may be fished with the purchase of a Duchy of Cornwall permit.

The Tavistock Trout Fishery features five lakes available for fishing, and tuition is available. Also, the National Park is also a spot for reservoir fishing, and information about reservoirs and permits are available from the South West Lakes Trust. So bring your best fishing tackle and be prepared for some great fishing with some of the most beautiful scenery around.

Hit the Links
If you’re itching to get the golf bag out of the trunk, Dartmoor has you covered there as well. Set among the mature woodlands of Dartmoor National Park is the inland retreat of Bovey Castle. The 18-hole Championship Course, a J.F. Abercromby design, opened to great acclaim in 1930 and rivals its sister courses at Gleneagle and Turnberry.

The course itself is not very long at just under 6300 yards but requires a strong command of your wedges. The challenging tract set that meanders through the grounds of the castle’s beautiful estate. The five-star facilities and luxurious accommodations of the castle provide guests of the resort one of the most idyllic destinations to play golf. The course is open with steps taken to ensure compliance with all government guidelines. A full description of the new rules can be found on the Bovey Castle Golf Course website.

Go for a Ride
If you’re looking to see the area on horseback, Dartmoor had some dramatic scenery to take in while on a ride. No matter if you’re a beginner on your first ride, or have experience on horseback, the moors, woodland trails, and bridleways are a great destination to take a ride. After the most recent easing of government guidelines, there are several options to meet your riding needs. Be certain to check with them for specific restrictions.

The Shilstone Rocks Riding Centre is based at Widecombe in-the- Moor inside the National Park. With services that range from complete beginners to experience riders, Shilstone provides qualified ride leaders and instructors to give you as much, or as little, instruction during your ride  Lessons are available, or they can organize a tailor-made package to suit your needs

For nearly forty years the Cholwell Riding Stables has been providing riding lessons and escorted rides. Set between Okehampton and Tavistock, next to the famous “Wheal Betsy” Silver Lead mine they are situated perfectly to ride straight out onto Dartmoor without any additional need for road work. They also cater to riders from the complete novice to the most experienced on a wide selection of well-mannered horses.

A registered charity that was created to work with pony keepers on Dartmoor to preserve the traditional type of native Dartmoor Pony, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust offers a range of services to support and assist owners of Dartmoor Ponies on the Moor. They have a new Visitor Centre at Parke, Bovey Tracey, in partnership with the National Trust. They provide information and education for the public and visitors can interact with ponies and a range of courses for learners of all ages.

For a unique riding adventure, Adventure Clydesdales are based at Brimpts Farm in the midst of some of the finest riding in the UK, with access to miles of bridleways, forest, and scenic moorland.

Written by Jordan Fuller