Bellever Tor from Postbridge (6 miles)

Grade:Moderate Medium, 9.65 km / 6 miles, 210 m total ascent

This walk does not enter any of the Military Firing Ranges.

Route Special Concerns:

This walk is moderate, with no major climbs although the first part, from Postbridge to Bellever Tor, is a steady climb, especially as you clamber up to the tor. Unlike most of the moor, much of this route is signposted but please do not solely rely on them; a map (particularly on a misty day) will prove useful. Allow for about 3 hours for the route. This route is not wheelchair or pushchair friendly. However, there are many trails within Bellever Forest that are suitable. Check out Miles Without Stiles.

Firing Ranges: 

This walk does not enter any of the Military Firing Ranges.

Facilities:

The starting point is the large car park in Postbridge, opposite the Visitor Centre. Postbridge is the heart of Dartmoor and the car park is suitable for coaches. In summer there is also the Dartmoor Explorer bus which passes outside; this connects Exeter to Plymouth via Moretonhampstead, Postbridge, Princetown and Yelverton. The car park is not often full but an early start is always recommended. The East Dart Inn is recommended for a pub lunch come the end of the walk, or for a lighter bite, you can purchase a pasty in the Post Office. Both are highly recommended after a day’s Dartefacting!

Route Description:

  1. Leave the car park by keeping to the left of the Visitor Centre (well worth a visit) and passing through a gap. Carefully cross the main road and pass through a gate beside a cattle grid. Turn right into the Forestry England car park but keep left to pass through another gate. Follow the wide gravel track up through the forest (this part felled c.2022). Take the first right at a fork and then bear left up a less obvious track.
  2. This ascends the hill onto open moorland at a prehistoric enclosure called ‘Kraps Ring’. This is marked by a few hut circles. Carry on up the broad grassy path when you crest the summit of Lakehead Hill. This eminence, at 420m, would have looked very different prior to the afforestation of Bellever. At the stone row, turn left and follow this towards the edge of the forest, where the track funnels between the trees. This leads to a huge burial cist at the head of another stone row.
  3. Carry on downhill and turn right onto the prominent forestry track. A short distance/ few minutes later, notice an opening to your left. If you briefly leave the track you will arrive at a cist and the site of a destroyed stone row, sadly lost to the encroaching conifers.
  4. Return to the track, turn left and, at a five lane junction, continue just right of straight ahead, signposted Bellever Tor. You will now follow an avenue to a pair of gateposts that mark the end of the forest here. Bellever Tor stands boldly on the horizon.
  5. Bellever Tor is a stunning symmetrical tor, with a classic ‘avenue’ between the two main lumps of rock. Views can only be described as tremendous, embracing a huge swathe of Dartmoor. It is often called the centre of Dartmoor because, geographically, there is no tor more ‘in the middle’. Clamber up to the trig point and soak up the views all around.
  6. Retrace your steps back down to the five lane junction and turn sharp right to descend downhill, passing a huge hut circle to your left. This hut is unique in that it was excavated using modern techniques. At the end of the track turn sharp left. This lovely forest track heads north and, at a track fork, keep right and soon notice the Shillibeer Bench below you. It is worth spending a few minutes here to enjoy the views east towards Hamel Down and Rippon Tor.
  7. Turn right (onto the Lych Way) through a gate and drop down the rocky path into the ancient tenement of Bellever. A tenement is a farm owned by the Duchy of Cornwall (presently Prince William) and leased to farmers (tenants). These all reside within the Forest of Dartmoor/ Dartmoor Forest Parish – previously administered by Lydford. Anyone who died within this parish – one of the largest in England – would be carried in their coffin across the high moor on the Lych Way/ Way of the Dead to Lydford Church.
  8. The track becomes a tarmac lane and, at a three-way road junction, turn left to pass a post box and telephone box and climb the hill. As the road reaches the top of a hill, a large layby appears to the right where you can take a grassy path initially parallel to the road.
  9. There are fine views northwards up the East Dart Valley flanked by Hartland Tor. You also cannot fail to notice Sittaford Tor, which resembles a massive pancake, some way above this. The track goes through a small gate and you must take care here, as there are several steep steps to negotiate. Enter a delightful grassy area beside the East Dart River and cross the clapper bridge.
  10. Walk along the right side of the road to the East Dart Hotel for a drink and a pub lunch or, for a lighter option, cross the modern road bridge and visit the Post Office. The car park is a couple of minutes up the road. Don’t forget to tick-off those Dartmoor 365 items and Dartefacts¬†once you get home!

Extra Dartefacts on route by SX Squares

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Dartefacts to visit: 23