Accessible Dartmoor : Bellever Woods

Just because you are mobility challenged doesn’t mean that you don’t love the outdoors, but how do you explore the wild when the wild comes with uneven ground and rocky paths?

So if you are fed up of admiring a view whilst sitting in the car park, come with me as I explore Dartmoor for the best spots for those of us who find walking more challenging.

First stop, Bellever Woods, just outside Postbridge.

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Bellever Woods is a beautiful stretch of the East Dart river, with pine forest on one side and open moorland on the other. It is also the site of an historic Dartmoor clapper bridge. Hugely popular in summer with families, it is still beautiful in the colder months.

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With a combination of stoned and unsurfaced paths, there is a choice of mostly level walks, either beside the river or through the forest. The car park has a fairly well maintained toilet block with a dedicated disabled toilet. A gentle slope leads down towards the main path.

An unsurfaced path leads along the river to the clapper bridge and back for a short, fairly level walk. This walk can become waterlogged in parts in the winter months and leaf debris can make progress more difficult.

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A second larger stoned path leads you through the forest on a longer half hour loop and returning to the car park. This walk has a long incline at the start and gate access to the forest.

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If you are looking for solitude, either go early in the day or out of season. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, every available patch of grass will contain a family and a barbecue. However, out of season, you are only likely to encounter a few dog walkers and the local Dartmoor ponies.

If you have a favourite accessible spot on the moors, let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. January 3, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    Absolutely amazing! I was going to write a piece on Avon Dam and how it is the perfect little trip out for people with mobility issues, children and the elderly (although the last bit is on gravel so will not be suitable for everyone), there is also Burrator, around the reservoir and in Arbitrator circuits which may be suitable.

    • Bryonie
      Author
      January 3, 2018 / 2:44 pm

      Yes, Burrator is on my list. I’ve never been to Avon Dam – is it worth a visit?

      • January 3, 2018 / 3:17 pm

        I would attach photographs but unfortunately I can’t seem to find them. It’s good if you only want a short little walk, the path is asphalt and you get a nice view of a river with lots of small waterfalls and eventually views of the dam. If you are able to traverse the shot gravel path (on a medium/step gradient) you can sit beside the reservoir. It’s not a circular* I’m afraid so it’s straight back the way you came. In the car park there is a blue-badge space, otherwise spaces are at a premium.

        If you are ever near to Plymouth Plymbridge woods is a lovely walk in the woods via an old railway trail (not a circular unless you can manage steps but the main trail is asphalt. You can watch peregrines nesting from the viaduct (viewing platform is 3-4 steps so that depends)

        Burrator to Princetown, or just around Princetown quarry railtrack (I’m sure you have this one if it’s suitable – but rougher ground/gravel warning)

        I haven’t actually read your blog (I picked this up on a twitter link) so I’m not sure of the extent of your mobility challenges so I’m a bit hesitant to suggest anywhere else just in case I’ve missed oblivious problems in the route! I would suggest Venford Reservoir to White Wood as it’s on a hard surface path (although a little rougher in places and I’ve seen branches on the path before, some gradient) but I jump over a locked gate to get to the path so I’m unsure if there is a ‘more conventional’ way to it.

        *A circular of sorts does exist at Avon Dam but I did it with a bad back after a car accident and hated every single second of it’s slippy, muddy, impassible, overgrown horribleness. Multiple bog and river crossing, unclear/non-existent path. I’d stick to just looking at the river to the side of the path and dam/reservoir.

        Hope you find lots more!

  2. Bryonie
    Author
    January 3, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    What a wealth of information! Thank you! I actually walk pretty well nowadays, but I was in a wheelchair and found getting around rather frustrating, it would be great to compile a proper list of accessible spots that still give a taste of the real Dartmoor.

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