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Princetown to Fox Tor Circular Walk, Dartmoor National Park

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Dartmoor National Park is on my doorstep. I live in East Devon, just one hour’s drive from the sweeping landscapes of Dartmoor in South West England, one of the UK’s renowned beauty spots. And yet, it took me four years to actually visit Dartmoor and even longer to really start exploring it. Now I’ve spent some time getting to know the national park, I can’t get enough of the various hiking trails and I wanted to write about one I did recently – the Princetown to Fox Tor circular walk.

This hike is relatively easy walk for beginners with limited elevation. The trickiest part is navigating if you’re not used to it, as Dartmoor trails can sometimes be difficult to follow due to the rugged moorland.

Female hiker standing on stone bridge looking at amazing landscape in Dartmoor

Useful Info

Start/Finish – Princetown National Park Visitor Centre

Distance – Approx. 10 miles

Time Required – Approx. 4-5 hours – allow plenty of time to enjoy the views and a break at Fox Tor to enjoy the view

Parking – Princetown National Park Visitor Centre or if you want to reduce the distance, park at Whiteworks

Public Transport – No. 98 bus travels from Yelverton or Tavistock to Princetown

Facilities – Shops, pubs, public toilets and cafes in Princetown. No facilities on hike itself

Difficulty – 2/5 – Terrain is uneven under foot and tricky to navigate but the hike is fairly easy physically

Dartmoor ponies grazing on moorland in Dartmoor National Park

Princetown to Fox Tor Hike

Route Summary and Scenery

This walk is approximately 10 miles, starting at the Dartmoor town of Princetown and heading down to Whiteworks, the location of an old disused tin mine. We then hiked across Fox Tor Mires to Childe’s Tomb, up to Fox Tor and over to Nun’s Cross Farm before heading back along the road to Princetown.

The scenery on this hike is beautiful with vast rolling hills and open plains. You can really get a sense of how rugged Dartmoor is as you look out across the untouched landscape. And what’s more, this is one of the lesser known spots on Dartmoor, so if you want to get away from the crowds, this is a great spot to enjoy nature to yourself.

You’ll likely spot some typical wild Dartmoor ponies too, which is always a bonus!

Beautiful open landscapes in Dartmoor National Park

Hike Difficulty

I’d say this route is a fairly easy one, as long as you’re comfortable with the distance. The route is mostly flat, with only a short incline up to Fox Tor. The route from Princetown to Fox Tor is a great hike for beginners or those looking for an easier ramble.

If you’d like to reduce the distance, you can park at Whiteworks and start your walk from there. This will cut about 5.5 miles from your hike, reducing the distance to approximately 4.5 miles.

Difficulty rating – 2/5

Parking

As mentioned above, if you want to opt for the shorter route, you can park for free at Whiteworks as shown on the below map. This is the exact parking location.

Google maps screenshot of Whiteworks Parking Area

Or, if opting for the full 10-mile route, you can park behind the visitor centre and The Old Police Station Cafe in Princetown. This is a pay and display car park and this is the exact location for this parking spot.

Google Maps screenshot of Princetown and Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre

Princetown to Fox Tor Route Guide

Parking at Princetown, make you’re way towards Whiteworks via Tor Royal Lane and follow the lane around to the right when you come to Tor Royal, a guesthouse and wedding venue. Follow the road all the way to the end where you’ll come across two houses and a parking area.

From here, we decided it would be a good idea to cross the notorious Fox Tor Mires to reach Childe’s Tomb, as a bit of a short cut, but halfway across the mires, we realised this was a bad call. After jumping over a stream twice and having Jamie’s entire leg disappear into the mud, the ground was getting boggier by the minute and we understood the stories about Fox Tor Mires being able to swallow a horse whole was undoubtedly true. It hadn’t rained for weeks and still the ground was seriously boggy and sucking our boots into the liquid peat. So we made our way back to the safety of the public footpath as quickly as we could.

Hiker standing at gate overlooking field and beautiful view in Dartmoor National Park

Fun fact: It was, in fact, this very mire that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write about the Grimpen Mires, the fictional lair of the infamous hound in the Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Following the path, you will come to a semi-steep but short incline which leads up to Fox Tor. At this point, we decided to skip Childe’s Tomb and head straight up the hill to the Tor to enjoy the view from the top with a cup of coffee and some snacks. On most hikes, we always take a gas stove, camping mugs and some coffee so we can stop and have a hot drink at a nice viewpoint. And on this particular hike, Fox Tor is the perfect location for a break.

From Fox Tor, you will see a small cottage on the hill to the left of Whiteworks. This is Nun’s Cross Farm, our next location on the map. This part of the hike is fairly easy as the path follows the hillside towards the farm and as the ground is high, it’s also dry under foot.

Once you reach Nun’s Cross Farm, it is an easy walk along the well-marked path back to the road and along the road back to Princetown, the way you came.

Screenshot of hiking trail from Princetown to Fox Tor

Summary

I really enjoyed this beautiful Dartmoor hike from Princetown to Fox Tor. I love Dartmoor and there are endless possibilities for day, weekend or even long-distance multi-day hikes, but if you’re looking for an easy ramble through untouched countryside, this would be a great hike to start on.

If you’re looking for other hikes to do in Dartmoor National Park, check out this guide to hiking from Postbridge to Fernworthy Reservoir.

Princetown Accommodation

If you’re looking for accommodation in Princetown, look no further…

The Prince of Wales Bed and Breakfast – Beautiful modern bed and breakfast in Princetown

Duchy House Bed and Breakfast – Budget-friendly bed and breakfast in Princetown

The Ramblers’ Rest – Beautiful B&B with hottub in Princetown

If you have any questions about the Princetown to Fox Tor route, let me know in the comments below.

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6 Comments

  1. I love spending time in Devon and Cornwall, but not spent much time on Dartmoor at all really. We’re hoping to be exploring the south-west later on this summer. Maybe I should consider planning in a hiking day. Looks glorious.

    1. I’m fortunate enough to live in Devon and have Dartmoor on my doorstep. Definitely recommend!

    1. I’ve never been that far north! It’s my goal to explore more of my own country in the coming months as soon as possible! Where wouldd you recommend to start in Yorkshire?

      1. Skipton or Grassington are lovely little market towns in the Dales. On the Moors Osmotherley is a lovely little spot but can get busy in summer. You can do the Lyke Wake Walk from there down the coast to Filey. Completely beautiful. 🙂 🙂 I’m not homesick but I’d love to see my youngsters again. Hopefully you won’t mind if I include this in my Monday walk feature tomorrow?

        1. Will definitely check those out! It’s crazy because I go abroad often but there are so many parts of the UK I haven’t seen yet! AbsolutelY, don’t mind at all! Thanks 🙂

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