Animal Crackers – North (11.2 miles)

Grade:Strenuous Strenuous, 18 km / 11.2 miles, 200 m total ascent

This walk enters the following Military Firing Ranges: Willsworthy



‘It is surprising how, over the years on the moor, local accents and descriptive names have evolved into so many names of animals’ (Terry Bound, 1985)

The original version of this walk was published in ‘The Great Walks of Dartmoor’ (1985) by Terry Bound, Obelisk Publications, pp52-57. This walk is an old favourite of mine and really offers a stunning variety of terrain, scenery and interesting things to visit.

Dartefacting: The theme of this  walk is ‘animal collecting‘ (!) – to visit a number of north west Dartmoor locations with names that relate to animals. Terry Bound also mentioned a number of other ‘non-animal’ items in his original walk description and they have also been included. I have added in a few extra ‘Dartefacts’ too!

 This updated version of ‘Animal Crackers – North’ allows the collection of 7 Dartmoor 365 Squares;  G4 (Black Rock), G5 (Brat Tor), F5 (Great Links Tor), F6 (Bleak House), E6 (Tiger’s Marsh), E5 (Rattlebrook Railway) and F4 (High Down Ford).

Map may take a few seconds

Further Information:

Start/ Finish: For this updated version of ‘Animal Crackers – North‘ I have relocated the start/ finish to the large car park at High Down. Turn right at the ‘crossroads’ just after The Dartmoor Inn and go up the narrow lane. Don’t forget to close the moor gate after you go through!  This  car park avoids using the main road to finish which is quite fast and dangerous to walk along. The two pubs are still available to walk to via moor lanes or to drive to at the end of the slog!

Terrain: This walk ventures into the edge of a fairly remote part of the western moor and so good navigation skills will be required, especially in poor weather. There is an initial steep 200+ m of ascent from the River Lyd up to Hare Tor. The terrain is mostly open moorland and can get quite tussocky in places. The walk out to the furthest point east, Kitty Tor, can be boggy! There are some tracks and paths to follow but they are infrequent and a couple of minor stream/ river crossings are necessary.



The starting point is the large car park at High Down. There are no toilet facilities here.

Lydford Farm Shop is on the A386 right next to where you turn off to drive up the small lane to High Down Car Park.

There are two excellent pubs nearby, The Dartmoor Inn and The Fox and Hounds.

Downloads (under development):

GPX Track (not yet available):

Detailed Route Description:

Start: Highdown Car Park, Lydford (SX 525 853)

  1. From the car park, looking out towards the moors, take the gate in the right hand corner where the wall and fence meet.
  2. Either: Take the south easterly flat path across High Down. Soon the path drops down to the River Lyd where you cross to follow the path upwards. Alternatively: Follow a path from the car park eastwards over High Down and then drop down on to Black Rock to ‘collect’ the Dartmoor 365 item ‘G4: Hunter’s Plaque’. Cross the River Lyd (carefully!) at this point and then turn right to follow the path.
  3. The path continues upwards, crossing a concrete bridge and then continuing upwards following the Doetor Brook

Dartefacts to visit: 22