East Dart Waterfall Loop from Postbridge (3.1 miles)

Grade:Moderate Medium, 5 km / 3.1 miles, 100 m total ascent

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


Route Special Concerns:

This walk contains a waterfall crossing that can be slippery and even impassable if there has been heavy rain. A suitable and interesting Alternative Return Route is provided.

Firing Ranges: 

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


The starting point is a large car park with toilets and tourist information centre. Postbridge is a small village with a post office store and a nearby pub. The car park can get quite busy in the summer but there is usually parking space available. There is further car parking space over the road. Should you wish to use public transport there is a bus stop and shelter just outside of the main car park.

This walk starts at Postbridge Village Car Park. The suggested route description follows my favourite direction for this walk, clockwise, by heading north along a track behind the National Park Tourist Information Centre. This leaves your Postbridge Village Post Office Stores ice cream reward to the end! Once walking beyond Lane End Gate you will step into some quite spectacular Dartmoor scenery, culminating in a visit to the famous East Dart Waterfall. Providing the East Dart isn’t in flood you should be able to cross (carefully!) at that point and continue back down along the Eastern side of the East Dart. A Beehive Hut, William Donaghy’s Memorial (a 365 item) and Hartland Tor await you as you head back to Postbridge, its famous Clapper Bridge (another 365 item) and that very welcome ice cream! Don’t forget to tick off those Dartefacts and 365 items!

Route Description:

  1. Leave Postbridge Village Car Park by walking around the back of the National Park Tourist Information Centre and head north along the track to Lane End Moor Gate.
  2. Not long after Lane End Gate you will be able to find Roundy Park Cist.
  3. Walking on you will walk down a slight slope and cross the small stream. Walk uphill, through a gate and then head up the slope towards the stile by the wall corner. This can feel like a long hill!
  4. Over the stile you will find the small, scattered lumps of Broadun Rocks. Not the best example of a tor, but the views here are truly 360 and on a clear day quite stunning. This is a good place to have a quick mug of tea from that thermos flask!
  5. Head North West from Broadun Rocks to the East Dart Waterfall. You will see it once you have walked over the rounded hill of Broadun Rocks and depending on the day you may well hear it before you see it!
  6. An easy track and then light trail will lead you quickly to the waterfall. This is a good place to have lunch and some of the rocks on the eastern side can provide good shelter and great views of the falls. To the West/ North West you should be able to see the narrow gap of Sandy Hole Pass. Something for another day perhaps?
  7. Take care crossing the falls as the rocks can be slippery. If it has been raining hard recently then the waterfall might not be safe to cross, in which case return via the Alternative Return Route below. After crossing the falls follow the vague track (an old leat) eastwards with the river below you on your right hand side.
  8. The track becomes clearer and eventually leads you down to a gate. There is a pleasant Dartmoor Island on the river here with some old tethering rings used by the wire fencing.
  9. Through the gate you will follow the track around, keeping your eyes peeled for the Lade Hill Brook Beehive Hut. This is an excellent and rare example of what is believed to have been a Tinners’ Cache (a place for the old tin miners of Dartmoor to keep their picks and shovels etc.
  10. Crossing the Lade Brook here can be a bit awkward, but once across follow the track uphill and then take the open flat area towards Hartland Tor in the distance.
  11. Just before Hartland Tor it is possible to drop down and search for William Donaghy’s Memorial. This can be tricky to find and is usually surrounded by almost impenetrable prickly gorse! It is higher up than you expect.
  12. From Hartland Tor it is an easy trail down to the moor gate below and a delightful ‘wooded’ passageway through to another gate and into the farm fields of Hartyland.
  13. Once through another gate follow the pathway around the edge of a large marshy field. This can get quite wet and so it really is best to follow the wall around.
  14. Eventually you will pass through another gate, over a small clapper bridge and arrive at a gate onto the main road, right next to Postbridge’s modern stone bridge.
  15. Take care of speeding cars and cross the road and head over the old clapper bridge (if there aren’t too many tourists on there!) and then head to the Post Office Stores for your ice cream reward (mine’s a chocolate with 99 flake, thank you very much!)
  16. Next back to the car park where we started, which also has toilets and a very good Information Centre full of Dartmoor books! I hope you have enjoyed your walk and enjoyed collecting some new Dartefacts! Don’t forget to ‘tick-off’ those new Dartefacts on this website and colour in those two 365 items in your Dartmoor 365 Book (probably available to purchase from here!)

Alternative Return Route:

  1. If it has been raining hard, or if you don’t fancy the slippery crossing at the waterfall then you can return by walking back along the track back towards Broadun Rocks. Instead of heading back up to the Rocks stay on the track and follow it around with the river below you on your left. Avoid walking down to the river – stay on the slope.
  2. Soon a clear path emerges and you will walk down to a flatter area. A Dartmoor island (the same one as in No.8, above) can be seen here and it also has a good couple of old tethering rings to look out for (near the fence).
  3. Continue around on the path and follow this path until it rejoins just above the stream you crossed earlier in your walk (No.3, above)
  4. Walk down to the stream, cross it and follow your earlier route back to the car park and your ice cream at the Post Office Stores!

Extra Dartefacts on route by SX Squares

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Further info box (appears below map)

Dartefacts to visit: 11