Local Dartmoor information
In the heart of Devon
Lying on the eastern slopes of the Dartmoor National Park, Moretonhampstead is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in England. It sits at almost the exact geographical centre of Devon. This central position makes it an ideal base, not only for Dartmoor holidays, but also for exploring the whole of glorious Devon.
Head north through rolling countryside to the wild and dramatic north coast, or turn south through the soft folds of the South Hams to a stunning south coast of beaches and boats.
Moretonhampstead – a historic Dartmoor town
The town of Moretonhampstead dates from Saxon times when ‘Mor Tun’ was a major settlement at the time. Wool and, in later years, the manufacture of woollen cloth formed the basis of the town’s economy for over 700 years. It grew steadily through the Middle Ages and was very prosperous until the end of the 17th century, when the wool industry began to decline. The town, however, continued to be a local trading centre and a vital watering place for travellers on the difficult routes across Dartmoor and from Exeter and Newton Abbot.
Today, much of the town is designated a conservation area, with many listed buildings of architectural and historic interest. The whole parish is within the Dartmoor National Park.
Fishing, golf, walks – it’s all here
Moretonhampstead is well served for sporting facilities and can boast local playing fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool for the summer and a sports centre. Fishing, golf, horse riding, guided walks, letterboxing and rock climbing are also popular activities close by.
As part of a local arts project, there are many examples of wrought ironwork and sculptures dotted around the town. A good way to find your way around the local sites is to follow the ‘Town Trail’. This, and lots of other useful information about the area, can all be found at the tourist information centre just a 30 second walk from the White Hart.
Moretonhampstead is an idea base from which to explore Dartmoor. As well as the stunning landscape, Dartmoor is blessed with an interesting mix of towns and villages steeped in history.
Chagford is our nearest neighbouring town and one with which Moretonhampstead always shares a ‘friendly’ rivalry! During the English Civil War, as any locals will tell you, Moreton (as it’s known) was a Roundhead stronghold, while Chagford sided with the Cavaliers!
Today, the former Stannary town of Chagford is a picturesque spot with a good range of independent shops and wonderful old buildings. Well worth a visit, it is also central to a number of beautiful walks.
North Bovey and Lustleigh
Equidistant to the north and the south, North Bovey and Lustleigh are picture-book perfect with thatched cottages and village greens. Both must rate as two of the prettiest ‘classic’ villages in England and are surrounded by lovely countryside and walks.
Tavistock is a bustling former Stannary town on the other side of Dartmoor, famous for its pannier market. The drive to Tavistock across the moor is an absolute ‘must’ giving some of the most dramatic views of this remote and beautiful area.
Tavistock is packed with good shops, restaurants and pubs and it’s only a short hop from there to the beautiful south Devon coast.