all you need to know

The small rural village of Belstone is well located for exploring the wild beauty of Dartmoor, as well as the picturesque countryside of North Devon.

About Belstone

Sitting on the northern boundary of Dartmoor National Park, Belstone is a small rural village that is extremely well located for exploring the nearby rugged moorland, as well as the stunning countryside of North Devon. Keen walkers will find that Belstone is a great base due to the many trails and walks available from the village.

The Tors Inn, in Belstone, is a highly regarded pub and restaurant serving good food and drink. The village is also renowned for its ancient stocks, medieval church and riding stables, and is only 2 miles from the A30 which offers easy access into Cornwall and the rest of the West Country.

The nearby town of Okehampton is home to some interesting shops, good pubs and restaurants and an outdoor activities centre. Okehampton is also the place to find the Dartmoor Railway, a unique dining experience where you can enjoy fine dining or afternoon tea while taking in the stunning local scenery by train.

Lydford Gorge National Trust is just a 20-minute drive away, and home to a spectacular river, woodland, and the deepest gorge in the South West with a 30 metre waterfall. The cathedral city of Exeter is a 30-minute drive in the other direction, offering excellent shopping and dining, and the underground passages that make for a fascinating all-weather activity.

High Willhays, the highest point on Dartmoor, is an easy morning walk from Belstone, and the area is well-known for letterboxing - where you search the many tors and ancient dwellings for small boxes containing a stamp and a visitor’s book to record your discovery. Cranmere Pool, where the oldest known letterbox (dating back to 1854) can be found, is a 6-mile walk from the village, so pack some sandwiches and a compass and get out exploring!

A holiday cottage in Belstone provides a tranquil base from which to explore the wild beauty of Dartmoor and picturesque North Devon countryside.


Finch Foundry
(2 miles)

Famed as the last working water powered forge in England, Finch Foundry gives an insight into Dartmoor’s industrial past.  With three water wheels powering hammers, sheers and sharpening stone, this was the basis of one of the South West’s most successful factories in the 1800s, and in visiting there’s the opportunity to learn about the lives of the workers as well as the enterprising Finch family to which it belonged. Parking is free and there’s also a shop and tea room available.

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Museum of Dartmoor Life
(3 miles)

Life on Dartmoor might look like it’s all sheep farming and wild swimming, but the history of it is all encompassing.  In an independent museum run by a charitable trust, the Museum of Dartmoor Life is a family friendly attraction detailing 5000 years of history in this magical and mystical part of the world.  Open seasonally, they have a range of activities available for children, and collections showcasing Dartmoor trades, the local military, prison and transport, as well as a reconstructed Bronze Age hut.  

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Okehampton Castle
(3 miles)

On a wooded spur above River Okement, Okehampton Castle is the remains of the largest castle in Devon, one that was built soon after the Norman Conquest as a motte and bailey castle.  In the 14th century it became a rather more luxurious residence to Hugh Courtenay, the Earl of Devon, but when he fell out of favour with Henry VIII, the castle fell to ruin, and the result is what you see today.  When you visit, it’s a chance to picnic in the grounds and walk through the woodlands nearby, taking in the scenery and the history, perhaps with the aid of an audio tour to bring it all to life. Okehampton Castle is open seasonally so do check the website for further details.

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Stone Lane Gardens
(6 miles)

An enchanting 5-acre woodland garden on the edge of the Dartmoor famous for National Collections of Birch trees and Alder trees and the annual ‘Mythic Garden’ sculpture exhibition.

Stone Lane Gardens Chagford  TQ13 8JU (T: 01647 231311)

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Castle Drogo
(7 miles)

Overlooking the dramatic Teign Gorge, Castle Drogo is a spectacular building with a wealth of history to go with it, and beautiful gardens to explore.  While it’s currently undergoing a conservation project, it remains open so that you can explore and learn about it’s fascinating story.  Outside, discover the beautiful Lutyens-designed terraced garden with dramatic views of Dartmoor, and see the quaint miniature gardens that go with it.  Beyond the castle there is the Teign Valley with its ancient gorge and magnificent wildlife, and after all that exploration there’s a cafe to refuel in with a traditional Devon cream tea.  Dogs are welcome.

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The Oxenham Arms
(2 miles)

A stunning 12th century former monastery and manor house now a popular hotel, bar and restaurant.  There are plenty of places to eat and drink with a choice of two bars and two restaurants along with a large terrace and garden with fantastic views.  Choose from a lunch or evening menu with daily specials along with coffees and afternoon cream teas.   

The Oxenham Arms South Zeal, Okehampton EX20 2JT (T: 01837 840244)

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Two Rivers Restaurant
(3 miles)

A welcoming, contemporary restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with menus full of good quality locally sourced ingredients.

Two Rivers Restaurant 16 Fore Street, Okehampton EX20 1AN (T: 01837 52981)

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Ma'ida Indian Restaurant
(3 miles)

High quality Indian food to eat in or takeaway served by friendly staff.  Unlicenced but guests are welcome to bring their own alcohol. 

Ma’ida Indian Restaurant 37 Fore St, Okehampton EX20 (T: 01837 318030)

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(3 miles)

A great local alternative to the coffee shop chains, this friendly café serves good coffee, teas and a range of delicious homemade cakes along with healthy smoothies and light meals.  

Toast 2-4 Market St, Okehampton EX20 1HN (T: 01837 54494)

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The Post Inn
(5 miles)

A warm and cosy traditional 16th century inn surrounded by beautiful countryside and serving high quality pub classics accompanied by an excellent range of real ales and ciders.

The Post Inn Exeter Road, Whiddon Down, Okehampton EX20 2QT (T: 01647 231242

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Bucks Mills Beach
(25 miles)

Bucks Mills beach is situated in a rocky secluded cove at the bottom end of the ancient fishing village of Bucks Mills. No public toilets, no shops or other facilities, just a lovely place. Car parking is available at Bucks Mills car park EX39 5DY.

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Exmouth Beach
(25 miles)

Exmouth Beach is a bustling two mile stretch of golden sand at the mouth of the Exe Estuary backed by a promenade of shops and restaurants.  Old meets new here, with traditional seaside donkey rides, swing boats and crazy golf alongside volley ball courts and a huge selection of modern watersports including jet skis, kite surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing. 

If you’re looking for some peace and quiet you can find that here too at the far end of the beach, where there are also some rock pools for children to explore.  Exmouth is known as the gateway to the Jurassic Coast and its cliffs are teaming with fossils and geological finds.  The coastline is also part of the South West Coast Path with the beach and surrounding cliffs providing some excellent long and short walks. 

Dogs are welcome all year on parts of the beach and on the main beach from October to the end of April. Dog bins are provided.

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Westward Ho!
(26 miles)

By the small seaside town of Westward Ho! is a comparatively huge and sandy beach, extending two miles north of the town.  To the north it is is backed by a pebble ridge and behind that is Northam Burrows Country Park.  You can access the beach from a number of places; via steps and a slipway in Westward Ho!, or by the ridge itself.  Dogs are banned from most of the beach from May to September, but they are allowed north of Sandymere all year round.  There are two small car parks by the sea front and plenty of parking behind the beach in Northam Burrows Country Park.  Toilets are available in various locations and there are cafes and shops close by in Westward Ho! itself.  The area is popular with surfers and happily there are lifeguards on hand in the summer months as well.

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Widemouth Beach
(27 miles)

Three miles south of Bude, Widemouth Bay Beach is a long, open bay that’s popular with families and surfers, while at low tide there are hundreds of rock pools to explore.  It’s a wonderful place to learn to surf or body board thanks to fantastic conditions and lots of local surf schools in the surrounding area.  There’s free parking at both ends of the bay as well as viewing points.  Dogs are welcome throughout the year on the south section of the beach, otherwise known as Black Rock, but on the northern part there are seasonal dog bans.  It has a wild feel to it, which adds to its appeal, and there is lifeguard cover in the summer, but nonetheless do be careful when swimming.

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Lovely clean beach.

May 2017

Lovely clean beach. Dogs enjoyed it!

May 2017

Summerleaze Beach
(28 miles)

Less the five minutes on foot from the centre of Bude, Summerleaze Beach is an easy beach to get to and enjoy for the whole day.  There’s a river flanking the sandy beach and it’s sheltered by a breakwater, making it popular with families and surfers.  You can book beach huts daily or weekly, and adding to its charm is a part man-made/part natural salt water sea pool to swim in at the foot of the cliff, that’s been welcoming swimmers since it opened in 1930.  There’s lifeguard cover in the summer months, dogs need to be kept on leads from May to September, and there are toilets and disabled toilets close by as well as an RNLI shop, sandy play area, a beach café, and a large car park that leads directly to the sand dunes.

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Busy car park but the sandy beach is worth it. Cliff top walks and a tidal pool made this a perfect spot on a sunny day.

August 2017

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