You have planned a visit to Dartmoor and amazingly it turns out to be a wet, miserable day, what do you do? Even worse, you are down on holiday and even more amazing the rain is bucketing down, the kids are grizzly, the wife is giving you ‘evils’ because she wanted to go to Spain and it wouldn’t be, “this wet” – what do you do? Believe me there is nothing more depressing than seeing holiday makers aimlessly driving around a sodden moor with faces like slapped arses. If 2007 is anything to go by then wet days will feature quite heavily but just to prove there are glorious sunny days to be seen on Dartmoor have a look at the photo – living proof. But fret ye not for here are a few categorised suggestions for the waterlogged Dartmoor visitor when rain has stopped play. The entry costs where applicable are based on two adults and two children,
NATIONAL TRUST PROPERTIES.
The Finch Foundry – for further details – CLICK HERE
Once a very busy 19th century iron foundry which produced a whole range of tools and implements. There is a working water powered forge which dates back to the foundry’s hay day.
Cost of entry = £14.00 (National Trust members free)
Buckland Abbey – for further details – CLICK HERE
Strictly speaking this old abbey is not in the National Park but who’s going to argue about a mile and a half. Seven hundred years ago the old abbey was once the home of England’s famous sea lord – Sir Francis Drake. There is also a splendid tithe barn which dates back to the time of the monastery.
Cost of entry to house and grounds = £27.50 (National Trust members free)
Castle Drogo – for further details – CLICK HERE
This was the last castle to be built in England and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the gardens which overlook the Teign Gorge are the of highest National Trust properties.
Cost of entry = £22.50 (National Trust members free)
If you were intending to visit all three properties then it’s nearly as cheap to join the National Trust with a family membership (£58.12) and carry on using it throughout the year.
MUSEUMS AND OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
The Museum of Dartmoor Life – for further details – CLICK HERE
This museum is packed full of Dartmoor memorabilia and exhibits and for anyone wanting to learn about yesterdays life on Dartmoor is thoroughly recommended.
Cost of entry = £10.00
The Dartmoor Prison Museum – for further details – CLICK HERE
An ‘must’ for those who want to learn more about prison life without having to partake in an extended visit. There are some excellent displays and collection, especially the ‘homemade’ weapons exhibit.
Cost of entry = £11.00 (family ticket)
The Valiant Soldier – for further details – CLICK HERE
Step back in time to the days of Double Diamond and Babycham to this faithfully restored pub of the 1960s.
Cost of entry = £11.00
Buckfast Abbey – for further details – CLICK HERE
Ashburton Museum – for further details – CLICK HERE
A good collection of Dartmoor social history and archaeology plus the Endacott North American Indian exhibition. The museum also has the earliest known tinning artefact,
Cost of entry = £3.00
Tavistock Museum – for further details – CLICK HERE
A small museum in the town of Tavistock with displays and exhibits on Tavistock and its history and traditions through the ages
Cost of entry – FREE (donations welcome)
The High Moors Visitors Centre
A good place to visit to get an insight into many of the past and present aspects of Dartmoor. Regarded as possibly the official Dartmoor National Park’s portal to the moor. The centre also holds various exhibitions of art but many can be a complete yawn. Also there is a smaller visitors centre at nearby Postbridge.
Cost of entry – FREE
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Chagford – for further details – CLICK HERE
One of the ancient stannary towns of Dartmoor, and a guaranteed delight with some excellent inns and shops. Do not miss a visit to the veritable Aladdin’s Caves called James Bowden & Sons and Webbers, both are shopping emporia in their own right. If there is literally anything you have been searching for the chances are one or another of these shops will stock it. The church is well worth a visit as is the Three Crowns Inn.
Ashburton – for further details – CLICK HERE
Ashburton is another of the old Dartmoor stannary towns and dates back to Saxon times. As well as the museum there are some interesting buildings and shops in this typical moorland town. If you are into second-hand bookshops then the one in Kingsbridge Lane is well worth a browse.
At one time the main A30 holiday route ran through Okehampton but today’s by-pass tends to send visitors straight on past. Not only is the Museum of Dartmoor Life centred here but there are some unique shops, a leisure centre and a huge landscaped park. If it is not too wet then Okehampton Castle is well worth a visit, however it’s all outdoors.
The largest of the Dartmoor towns, Tavistock has a lot to offer in addition to the museum and swimming pool. Drop in at the Pannier Market for a large selection of local stall which, depending on what day it is, sell everything from crafts, antiques, to local produce. The town is dotted with small shopping arcades lined with individual shops and cafes.
Widecombe-in-the-Moor – for further details – CLICK HERE
This tiny moorland village is worth a visit on a wet day, the parish church or ‘Cathedral of the Moor’ is full of interesting bits and pieces. But have a look at the hidden history of the place which lies around every corner and building. This is also the ideal place to pick up your ‘Uncle Tom Cobley’ mementoes.
FOR KIDS AND THE YOUNG AT HEART.
Tavistock’s Meadowlands Swimming Pool – for further details – CLICK HEREA large indoor swimming pool with slides and other wet things, the kids will happily spend hours here but check the timetable before visiting as there are specialised classes etc.
If you have children and none of the above appeal then sadly as Dartmoor goes this is about all there is to offer in keeping the kids happy on a wet day. However, there is still plenty to do in the nearby cities of Plymouth and Exeter.