The DogPeople Blog
Dog friendly articles and ideas
Our route starts from the Dartmoor National Park car park (grid reference SX 6460 7883) near the junction with the road to Bellever. An alternative would be the Forestry Commission car park right on the junction (opposite side of the road). A 50p fee applies in 'our' car park but it is better used and benefits from an information centre and toilets. The bus shelter by the entrance to the car park has useful maps and information about Postbridge and its clapper bridge (that you'll see at the end of the walk).
From the parking spaces go to the left hand side (LHS) of the building and pass through a hedge. TURN LEFT to reach the road you arrived by. CROSS DIRECTLY OVER into the Bellever road (also signed to a youth hostel). Go through a gate beside a cattle grid then TURN RIGHT into the access to High Dartmoor Bellever Forestry Commission land and car park (the alternative start point).
GO THROUGH A GATE with a footpath arrow marker diagonally left and uphill from the car park entrance. Note a yellow post marker (you'll be seeing several of these) beside the clear track and continue uphill. Continue ahead and uphill when another track joins from the right (follow the post marker). Pass a bench on your LHS near the top of the rise (there's a post marker on your right hand side – RHS). A short way further on take the RIGHT HAND FORK and follow the post markers. Shortly further uphill we started getting the first views – obviously, as this is managed woodland, the tree cover is likely to change over time. Keep ahead over a minor crossroads (side tracks more minor and without any surface) – Bellever Tor should now be in view ahead. As the track descends keep ahead on a RIGHT HAND FORK (actually a five way junction – but only three have a surface), still following the yellow posts and still towards the tor. Continue to remains of a dry stone wall – pass through then follow a grassy path slightly right and up to the centre of the tor – do not continue following the yellow marker posts that go more or less ahead (well to the left of the tor).
When you reach the tor there are great views all around with Princetown, Dartmoor Prison and a tall communication mast away to the West (right). Make the most of these at your leisure – the trig point is on the highest part of the tor, left of centre. Once ready to leave continue in broadly the same direction through the centre of the tor, downhill on a clear path towards a junction in two stone walls.
When you reach the walls TURN LEFT through a wooden five bar gate (don't cross the stile ahead). GO AHEAD uphill aiming to the right of a rocky outcrop (Laughter Tor) – don't turn right along the wall where there is a yellow footpath marker. Our route is a bridleway and fairly clear 'on the ground' – if visibility is good enough you will see Princetown and the mast more-or-less behind you as you climb the hill. The route passes well to the right of the tor but close to a large standing stone at the top of the hill. GO AHEAD through a wooden gate in a stone wall then take the LEFT HAND fork of a clear path through the gorse. After 100 – 200 metres TURN LEFT on a clear track.
Follow this clear track (the 'official' bridleway) with the wall and Laughter Tor away to your left. GO AHEAD through a five bar gate as signed public bridleway to Bellever and pass a bench on your RHS. KEEP AHEAD downhill (as indicated by a blue arrow marker) – don't take a better made track uphill. Keep ahead to pass a bungalow on your LHS then go through a five bar wooden gate, then pass more farm buildings to join a better made track. Go ahead through a gate, then keep ahead when a track joins from the left. Keep ahead when a track joins from the right (from Laughter Hole House). As the track bear hard left GO AHEAD through a wooden gate (marked Forestry Commission please shut the gate – finger post on LHS of track).
Follow the path down through a car parking and picnic area following a red post marker. The Lower Dart River is on your RHS and pass a toilet block on your LHS. GO AHEAD ACROSS A METALLED LANE when you reach it - note a bridleway finger post at the edge of the road. The start of the bridleway is clear on the opposite side of the road where the horses have worn the edge of the grass (slightly left). Follow the bridleway to the RHS of the house on the lane and through some gorse to reach a pine tree and wall. GO AHEAD through a wooden gate (not right through a gate into a property).
TURN RIGHT when you reach a metalled lane. Keep to the RHS of the lane and pass houses, a road on the right and an old telephone box. Just beyond the last house note blue arrow marker pointing diagonally right. This is the start of a bridleway that takes you to the clapper bridge – you can stay with the lane to a T-junction at the start of the walk if you prefer. Follow the bridleway to the right of the lane, slightly uphill around a fenced area with gorse then back down close to the lane. It then follows the lane parallel to it about 20 metres to its RHS. More-or-less at the top of the rise, and as the woods start on your LHS, cross a roughly made track. A short distance further on, where the road is painted with 40mph signs, the bridleway turns right, then left. Follow the bridleway as it bears further right away from the road. The going can be boggy in places. Keep ahead at a cross tracks – the way soon begins to descend towards three buildings and two bridges. Follow the bridleway down through gorse and some large steps to reach a gate.
Go through the gate into a meadow – the clapper bridge is in the top right hand corner. You can reach it directly or via a final gate to the road (the start is just up the road to the left beyond the bus shelter.