CHAGFORD’S HISTORIC CHURCH…
Chagford Parish church is at the heart of this vibrant town. Everyone of whatever tradition, and none, will find a warm welcome here.
The beautiful church building, dedicated to St Michael the Archangel, has been a place of prayer, peace and hospitality for close on a millennium. The church was consecrated by Bishop Branscombe in July 1261 and in 2011, the 750th anniversary was celebrated.
Both Dartmoor and Fernworthy reservoir near Chagford feature prominently in guidebooks such as ‘Where to Watch Birds – Devon and Cornwall’.
The open moorland holds many species of breeding Passerines in summer, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits sing constantly overhead and Wheatears are seen amongst the rocky slopes. On the higher moors, scattered numbers of Red Grouse and Ring Ouzel always prove popular ‘ticks’ for the more experienced ‘birder’.
Fernworthy nearby, a 77 acre reservoir, reports Tufted duck and small numbers of Goosander visiting regularly and in winter, small flocks of Siskin and Crossbill can be seen with Nightjar being a notable summer visitor with numbers regularly reaching 25-30 pairs.
COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES AND MASSAGE…
Breathe Detox Retreats; Massage & Mindfulness; Source Point Acupuncture
Chagford is a wonderful base for cycling with a number of excellent cycle routes to suit all abilities across spectacular Dartmoor. The Dartmoor National Park Authority suggests traffic-free trails, quiet forest tracks, challenging bridleways and historic rural lanes to enjoy at your own pace. They offer an excellent waterproof cycling map available at Tourist Information Centres.
Tour unspoilt Dartmoor, in our luxury 6 seater Land Rover.
Let Tich, your guide a true Devonian Dialect speaker, take you on a journey through Dartmoor’s farmsteads and fields that remain unaffected by time. Learn about the area’s myths, legends and local characters. See the famous Dartmoor ponies which roam freely over the rugged landscape alongside the cattle and sheep. Stunning views, great pubs and fantastic photo opportunities.
Phone: 01647 231 453 – 07970 906 122
ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN…
CHAGFORD SWIMMING POOL
Opened in 1934, Chagford Swimming Pool was dug by hand by local residents on land entrusted to the village by the Hayter-Hames family. It is the largest freshwater swimming pool in the south west of England and is a very special spot to visit. The pool is fed by the mill leat, a small stream off the main river, which was originally diverted to power the waterwheel at Rushford farm. Nowadays, the water is filtered and a minimal amount of chlorine is added to ensure families can bathe safely.
The temperature of the water is brought up from the original river temperature of only 16 degrees to a much more comfortable 23 degrees (if the weather is good) through the use of solar covers. This makes it an afternoon activity once the sun has warmed things up. There’s also a very popular toddlers’s pool complete with toy boats and watering cans and a delightful grassy area with some chairs and tables for relaxing and sunbathing. Refreshments are available from the tea shed. Blissful!
MINIATURE PONY CENTRE
Miniature ponies, tiny donkeys, heavy horses and a host of other animals make for an enchanting day out in an idyllic Dartmoor setting.
Enjoy your day rain or shine, with play areas for all weathers, free spotter guides, a wealth of wildlife to discover, and café and picnic areas.
Hands-on activities every day, including pony rides (for children aged 3 to 10, there is a small extra charge for pony rides).
POTTER’S WALK, FERNWORTHY RESERVOIR
This is very near to Chagford and suitable for exploring with young children. This circular walk is just 0.75 miles and starts in the car park of Fernworthy Reservoir, which has disabled bays and public toilets. It’s a lovely spot, mostly flat and with no steps, gates or stiles and there are regular resting places.
You can take a picnic here (lots of yummy picnic items to purchase in Chagford’s shops and delis) – you’ll find a picnic spot with benches and there are bird hides too. Idyllic!
DARTMOOR LLAMA WALKS
A really unique and quirky day out which children will always remember, Dartmoor Llama Walks on the beautiful Moor is a great experience for the whole family. You can choose from a range of guided walks with these adorable and gentle creatures and discover the craggy granite tors, tumbling rivers and heather moorland of Dartmoor.
Don’t worry about carrying a backpack or your picnic, as the llamas will do it for you.
Phone: +44 (0) 01364-631481
BECKY FALLS WOODLAND PARK
Recently voted Devon’s Top Beauty Spot, Becky Falls has been welcoming visitors for over 100 years and is an exciting day out for children and their families. There is a range of trails marked by difficulty and the blue trail offers a Childrens’ Nature Trail Competition. There are lots of family activities and events such as Cute and Cuddly Animal Show, Children’s Letterboxing Challenge, Ugly Bug Show and much more.
There is a cafe with a selection of baby food (please note baby carriers are recommended rather than pushchairs) and picnic tables around the site. More demanding walks and a boulder clamber provide an exciting challenge for older family members.
Phone: +44 (0) 01647-221259
Fly fishing is available for brown trout, sea trout and salmon on the upper reaches of the River Teign in the Dartmoor National Park.
The Upper Teign Fishing Association offers many miles of fishing on a wonderful variety of rivers – from the boulder-strewn water around Fingle Bridge and Castle Drogo to the quiet meadow stream around Chagford.
The Upper Teign Fishing Association provides fishing both for its members and for visitors, who may buy a permit for the day.
Fishing licences are available from Mill End Hotel.
The traditional sport of letterboxing originated in Chagford in the 19th century when a Chagford guide called James Perrott started the first letterbox at Cranmere Pool on Dartmoor. Letterboxing is a great way to explore the sights and sounds of legendary Dartmoor National Park with its unique combination of orienteering, treasure hunting and puzzle solving.
Dartmoor letterboxes are small boxes hidden in cracks and crevices or under vegetation and usually contain a small visitors book and a unique rubber stamp. When you find a box you can use the stamp to log the find in your own record book and mark the visitors book with your own special stamp. Anyone can place a letterbox in a hidden location for this purpose. The founder James Perrott’s first letterbox was in fact a small cairn at Cranmere Pool on North Dartmoor. He hid a glass jar inside the cairn so that people could leave a visiting card. Today there are thousands of letterboxes around the moor and there is a 100 Club for those who have found 100 or more boxes. James Perrott is buried in St Michael’s churchyard in Chagford, well worth a visit.
PLACES TO VISIT…
Castle Drogo, designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens for Julius Drewe the founder of the Home and Colonial Stores as his ancestral home built high on the edge of Dartmoor.
Now underway a five project to preserve the castle from the elements making it permanently watertight, while remaining open to our visitor, so they are able to experience the journey with the Trust.
Much to see and do at the castle this year, not forgetting the beautiful walks that surround the estate for everyone to explore.
OS Grid Ref: 191:SX721900
There are a huge number of really special things to do on Dartmoor and you’ll want to come back again and again. Chagford is a wonderful base from which to explore the Moor and all its myriad attractions from walking to visiting castles and ruins to swimming al fresco, riding, climbing canoeing and much more. As many people have before, we suspect that you will fall in love with Dartmoor and once discovered you may want to make it your home from home.
To book accommodation for your visit click here.
MUSEUM OF DARTMOOR LIFE
In nearby Okehampton, the Museum of Dartmoor Life is well worth a visit. It’s an interesting museum that charts life on Dartmoor and how the environment has changed throughout history. There are 3 floors of permanent exhibits featuring old Dartmoor trades such as farming, thatching and cider making.
You’ll find historic Dartmoor industries, the military, prison and transport displays plus representations of Saxons, Romans and Bronze Age. There’s also a museum shop selling books and other items.
Phone: +44 (0) 01837-52295
A blissfully tranquil Dartmoor lake, Fernworthy is a great place to visit with enchanting waymarked walks including a 3-mile circular waterside walk plus a walk suitable for less able visitors with seats, restful viewpoints and information around the route.
You can picnic or enjoy fishing or bird watching and there is a Special Protection Zone managed in partnership with Devon Bird Watching and Preservation Society. There is trout angling available and you can buy a permit on the day from the self-service kiosk.
Map Ref: LR191 665840
STONE LANE GARDENS
Stone Lane Gardens is a strikingly beautiful 5-acre woodland and water garden close to Chagford. Stone Lane is famous for its National Collections of Birch and Alder trees and the annual ‘Mythic Garden’ sculpture exhibition. The garden is planted on a sloping site with pool and streams that complement the beautiful shades of tree bark.
The Garden was created over 40 years by the late Kenneth Ashburner and is now a charitable trust. There is a tree nursery and you can order online and collect during your visit.
Phone: +44 (0) 01647-231311
DARTMOOR PRISON MUSEUM
Legendary Dartmoor Prison has many tales to tell and Dartmoor Prison Museum is a fascinating archive of some of the famous prisoners, memorabilia, manacles and weapons as well as insignia and uniforms.
Dartmoor Prison opened in 1809 when the first Napoleonic War French prisoners arrived. After a period of closure it has remained open from 1850 to the present day and inmates have been some of the most dangerous and notorious in English penal history. Conditions have greatly improved since then, of course, but Dartmoor Prison’s darker history makes a fascinating day out!
Phone: +44 (0) 01822-322130
The remains of the largest castle in Devon, Okehampton Castle is located in an exceptionally picturesque setting with riverside and woodland walks nearby. Originally built as a traditional motte and bailey structure, it was converted into a splendid home in the 14th century by the Earl of Devon.
Unfortunately the Earl, Hugh Courtenay fell out with Henry VIII in 1538 and the property eventually fell into ruins. It is great for picnics and bird watching and soaking up the atmosphere of historic Dartmoor. There’s an audio tour with stories of wonderfully ghostly happenings!
Phone: +44 (0) 01837-52844
This is England highest waterfall, with crystal clear waters tumbling 220ft down ancient rock formations into tranquil lakes in the beautiful Teign Valley. Canonteign Falls is a breathtaking sight and a truly memorable experience for visitors to the area.
There are woodland walks suitable for all ages and abilities, a secret garden and a fern garden where you will be fascinated by some of the wonderful Dartmoor wildlife. There is a children’s play area plus a lovely lakeside restaurant, snack bar and gift shop.
Phone: +44 (0) 01647 252434
Dartmoor is a wonderful place for both experienced riders and beginners and there are a number of stables offering riding and pony trekking across Dartmoor in the area of Chagford. Try the website below to find out more.
Dartmoor offers some of the finest rock climbing available within some of the wildest country in the southwest. The granite Tors provide excellent climbing and bouldering sites for all abilities. The British Mountaineering Council specifically recommends a number of sites within easy reach of Chagford. For further information on the sites and to view the excellent ‘Climbing on Dartmoor’ guide please visit the website.
Renowned amongst ‘wild swimmers’ Chagford Swimming Pool offers a memorable swimming experience for adults and youngsters alike.
Opened in 1934, Chagford Swimming Pool was dug by hand by local residents on land entrusted to the village by the Hayter-Hames family. It is the largest freshwater swimming pool in the south west of England and a very special spot to visit. The pool is fed by the mill leat, a small stream off the main river, which was originally diverted to power the waterwheel at Rushford Farm. Nowadays the water is filtered and a minimal amount of chlorine is added to ensure bathing safety. The temperature of the water is brought up from the original river temperature of only 16 degrees to a more comfortable 23 degrees (if the weather is good) through the use of solar covers. This makes it an afternoon activity once the sun has warmed things up. There is a delightful grassy area with chairs and tables for relaxing and sunbathing and refreshments are available from the tea shed. Blissful!
Note: The pool is open May to September only.
THREE HARES TRAIL…
This fascinating trail takes you to visit the seventeen churches in this area all with this ancient symbol carved into their roof bosses.
Chagford has two fine examples in its beautiful church and many more can be seen throughout this lovely Stannary Town as it is thought to be associated with the Tin Mining and called “The Tinners Rabbits”. You can find out more by visiting the Ludgate Fine Art Gallery and picking up a leaflet, where the artist Eleanor Ludgate designed the trail.
Phone: +44 (0) 01647 433287
Dartmoor is one of England’s finest National Parks with 365 square miles of wild open moorland. It is a very exciting and unique place to visit for the keen walker. The beautiful town of Chagford is conveniently placed to the east of Dartmoor and provides easy access to this natural wilderness, making it the perfect place to stay for a walking holiday.
Legendary Dartmoor provides terrain for all abilities, from an easy afternoon stroll to some of the most challenging expedition territory in the southwest. The open moorland consists of exposed granite Tors, wooded valleys, high moorland and peat bogs.
It is a wonderful environment, but be warned, it has many moods, and those venturing off the waymarked tracks should be well equipped and prepared. Guidance is available for all levels of walker from www.dartmoor.co.uk and the website provides excellent walking routes with maps and accompanying photographs in the immediate area of Chagford. Typical of these is ‘A Hole in One’ walk over Grey Wethers on a trail linking two 5,000 year old stone circles.
Prehistoric remains are widespread across the moors, as evidence of the earliest human habitation of this area and a number of guides specifically focusing upon this topic are available from www.dartmoorwalks.org.uk
Or how about a guided walk with activities? Dartmoor’s Daughter specialises in walks and activities for adults, children, groups and teams include navigation, dowsing, art, wild food foraging, mindfulness, tracking, history & archaeology, flora & fauna, and much more. See the Walks and Activities section below or visit www.dartmoorsdaughter.com.
NEW! An excellent map with walking routes around Chagford is now available from James Bowden & Son in the town square in Chagford.
A full range of walking and hiking gear is available from James Bowden & Son in Chagford – a real treasure trove making it a pleasure to browse.
WALKS AND ACTIVITIES…
Dartmoor’s Daughter focuses on nature connection to enhance physical health and emotional wellbeing. Our guided walks and activities for adults, children, groups and teams include navigation, dowsing, art, wild food foraging, mindfulness, tracking, history & archaeology, flora & fauna, and much more. Clients report a greater sense of wellbeing as well as enjoyment, fun and learning.
Emma Cunis’ maternal family has loved and lived near Dartmoor for generations. Her grandmother introduced her first husband Eric Hemery to Dartmoor in the 1950s where he set up and offered guided walks and pony treks then wrote a series of well-regarded books including ‘High Dartmoor’ described as ‘the bible for anyone who has the spirit of Dartmoor’.