Devon's Best Activities
Clear away with cobwebs with our pick of the best things to do in Dartmoor and South Devon, including horse-riding, electric biking, clay-pigeon shooting and learning artisan skills from master craftsmen.
Shilstone Rocks Stables in Widecombe in the Moor is one of the most safety conscious stables around, and offers hacks in small groups tailored to experience. Also very good, and slightly cheaper, is Babeny Stables. Liberty Trails do weekend tours across Dartmoor.
Dartmoor is renowned for its sparkling clean rivers teeming wild brown trout, sea trout and salmon. Bovey Castle runs private fishing lessons. If you have a licence, stretches of the East and West Dart Rivers can be fished on the purchase of a Duchy of Cornwall permit, available at Postbridge Post Office. Fingle Bridge Inn sells daily permits. Information on lake fishing is available from the South West Lakes Trust.
The Dartmoor Artisan Trail
This self-guided trail, founded by Suzy Bennett, Moorland View's owner, links the moor's finest artisans and gives visitors the chance to try out traditional Dartmoor skills.
There's complimentary use of his and hers' Giant mountain bikes at the cottage, with helmet, locks and trail guides. If you're put off by hills, Dartmoor Electric Bikes hire out electric bikes by the day and offer guided tours.
Clay Pigeon Shooting
Spitchwick is the place for this, with a leafy setting and clean water (that brown colour is healthy peat). There’s a gorgeous swimming and picnic spot with a high corner pool, a deep, tranquil lower corner pool for serious swimmers; and a cliff for daredevil jumpers.
Bovey Castle has an impressive free hawking display every morning at 10am. If you've always fancied yourself as a falconer, Dartmoor Hawking's Experience Day provides the chance to handle these powerful birds.
Perhaps the most unlikely of Dartmoor’s possible experiences, llama walking offers the opportunity to hike with a woolly companion (the animals are famed for their calm nature) who will also carry your lunch. There’s also the option of a llama-portered high tea which you can enjoy amongst the tors.
River Dart Country Park organize Adventure Days when visitors can experience caving, rock climbing, canoeing and much more. Salmon and sea trout fishing is another option.
Canoeing and Kayaking
The River Dart is the most popular canoeing destination in the national park - River Dart Country Park runs guided excursions. Sea Kayak Devon run trips to otherwise-inaccessible coves and caves along the south coast.
Discovery Surf School offer lessons for beginners through to advanced surfers from their base in Bigbury-On-Sea all year round.