As one of Dartmoor’s most iconic landmarks, Haytor and the surrounding area make a magical base for anyone looking for a truly rural escape. The tor itself is Dartmoor’s biggest, and draws visitors year-round to climb the granite outcrops which offer wonderful views of sweeping moorland, rolling countryside, the beautiful Teign Estuary, and the stunning coastline beyond.
Easily accessible from Devon’s major through-road, Haytor provides great access to nearby Exeter (with its Cathedral, theatres, shops and restaurants), the rest of the moor, and some spectacular coastline. Explore the vast wild beauty of the moor on foot, bike or horseback, or simply relax and soak up the peaceful tranquillity of the picturesque setting.
On Dartmoor, a friendly pub, country house or restaurant is never too far away. Haytor itself enjoys a great moorland café bar and a traditional Dartmoor Inn, whilst just a few miles away you can explore delightful villages such as Widecombe-in-the-Moor, home to the fantastic Rugglestone Inn which is everything a Dartmoor pub restaurant should be.
With horse-riding, cycle paths, kayaking, and rock climbing among the activities on offer on the moor, there are plenty of outdoor pursuits to keep you busy. Meanwhile, nearby attractions such as Becky Falls, Pennywell Farm, the Butterflies & Otters Sanctuary, the steam trains at South Devon Railway, Exeter’s Crealy Adventure Park (to name but a few!) make for brilliant family days out.
If you fancy a day at the beach, the coast at Teignmouth is just a half hour's drive away, and the wonderful beaches of the South Hams are less than an hour away.
A holiday cottage in Haytor provides the perfect spot for a relaxing Dartmoor holiday in a truly peaceful rural setting, yet with a vast variety of things to see and do within easy reach.
Voted the most beautiful place in Devon, Becky Falls is a famous part of the Dartmoor landscape, welcoming visitors since 1803. Providing activities for kids, nature trails, woodland and waterfall walks graded according to ability, and an abundance of wildlife to observe, the area allows you to really explore and understand what makes Devon such a beautiful and magical place thanks to its abundant natural assets. The site is open seasonally, dogs are welcome, parking is available and while there isn’t a cafe it’s the perfect place to bring a picnic.
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Loved this lovely walk
Surely there can be no finer way of seeing Dartmoor, this natural wonder of Devon, than on horse back. Shilstone Rocks riding centre allows adults and children alike to take up the reigns in this spectacular National Park, and really get back to nature. The horses originated from the famed Dartmoor ponies, who continue to roam today. You can join Shilstone Rocks Riding Centre for tailored lessons in the menage, or head out for a couple of hours on a hack to really take in the area that featured in Steven Spielberg’s film War Horse. Lessons are available for all ages and abilities.
On a site with a history for pottery and producing vintage toys and games, the House of Marbles is a working glassworks that’s a joy to visit. It’s free to explore and has free parking as well, providing hours of entertainment for adults and kids alike, with an array of marble runs, animated animals, fairground mirrors, a penny press and a giant floating marble. It is a place of old fashioned curiosities and childhood intrigue, the kind that computer games simply can’t manufacture. When you’re done exploring, there’s The Old Pottery Restaurant to visit as well, serving locally sourced and freshly prepared hearty fare throughout the day.
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Craft is written into the fabric of Devon; it is a creative community with a past and a strong tradition for production. As a result, the Devon Guild of Craftsmen is an acclaimed exhibition space for contemporary craft and design, but it’s also a charity for craft education, located in Bovey Tracey. There’s a craft shop with work by 250 makers from the South West, exhibitions, and when all that crafty stuff has worn you out there’s The Terrace Cafe for local food including a children’s menu. The Shop, cafe and galleries are open daily from 10am-5.30pm.
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Enjoy 10% discount in the cafe with your Toad Hall Cottages Discount Card
And now for something completely different ....Dartmoor Alpaca & Llama walks offer a range of walks suitable for all abilities and varying in length. Perfect for all ages over 8years this hugely enjoyable way to discover Dartmoors beautiful sweeping landscapes whilst leading a llama will be a hit for all animal lovers. The walks operate all year round weather permitting from Ponsworthy near Widicombe in the Moor and can be tailored to requirments.
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A traditional inn with award winning restaurant serving imaginative dishes using fresh local fish, meat and game accompanied by a selection of local ales, ciders and an extensive wine list.
The Rock Inn Haytor Vale, Dartmoor National Park, Newton Abbot TQ13 9XP
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The staff were very helpful and pleasant and it was a cosy traditional rural venue. The food was very good although small portions and I would say a little overpriced. Overall did enjoy this venue.
Superb evening meal. Fantastic quality, good choices and professional service. Very attractive interior too.
Really welcoming place, lovely garden and nice quirky interior to the pub. Staff very welcoming and helpful. Food absolutely yummy, perhaps a little expensive, but perfect for a special evening out.
A family run country house hotel surrounded by beautiful countryside with two places to eat - the fine dining restaurant offering an inspirational menu using fresh local produce, along with The Blue Tiger Inn offering a bistro style menu and cream teas in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Ilsington Country House Hotel Restaurant Ilsington, Newton Abbott TQ31 9RR (T: 01364 661452)
A fabulous little farm shop and cafe. We stopped here for lunch when we arrived and breakfast during the week. We picked up all our meat from the onsite butcher, but there seemed less choice in the shop compared with our visit last year.
We were staying a mile away near HayTor for two weeks in June and used this excellent farm shop most days. The friendly staff make you feel welcome and the service is very efficient. We ate there several days and as much as we could used it as an alternative to supermarket shopping. The meals are excellent and the cakes are works of art!
Made a couple of visits during our stay, not a huge selection but lovely pies. Also tried the local wine & some of the coffee's. Worth a visit.
We were staying just up the road from this great place, so called in for lunch with my son and family, who joined us from Torquay. The place was quit busy, but the staff were really helpful, and let us know the approximate wait for our meal. This turned up fairly quickly and was excellent. The size of the steak and ale pie has to be seen to be believed! Will definitely call in again.
The pasties from here are lovely. We also got a lot of our gifts to take home from here. Great products on sale and very friendly staff.
One of the best quality cooked breakfasts we have ever had! Great value for money.
A good place to stop off for refreshments after enjoying the lovely walks in the area, this traditional Dartmoor pub serves good quality British cuisine along with a wide selection of local beers and ciders. The pub is full of character with exposed beams, flagstones and cosy wood burner and is dog and family friendly.
The Carpenters Arms Drewsmead, Ilsington, Newton Abbot TQ13 9RG (T: 01364 661629)
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Satisfactory. Service average. Wine not poured, no water offered at table. Main course average, dessert excellent.
A traditional Dartmoor Inn in a beautiful location with a homely atmosphere and pretty beer garden where farm animals roam. The bar is stocked with real ales, farm cider and a comprehensive wine list, and the home-cooked menu is made up of quality locally-sourced produce.
Rugglestone Inn Widecombe in the Moor, Newton Abbot TQ13 7TF (T: 01364 621327)
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The food and drink here is great. We had fish pie and wild boar stew both really really good. Friendly staff and good service and our dog was welcome.
Beautiful pub, just outside Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Wonderful place to relax after a long walk on the Moor!
In between Brixham and Paignton, this long, sandy beach is a popular spot with families, thanks to its sheltered waters, year-round facilities and easy parking. The Blue Flag beach is perfect for making sandcastles and searching for wildlife in the rockpools. There are toilets, and two places to get ice creams, coffees and soft drinks. What’s more, the car park is right by the beach, so there’s no need to lug your provisions a long way. Behind the pretty row of colourful beach huts, there’s a large grassy area, so don’t forget to pack a ball or rounders bat to keep the whole family entertained. Broadsands Beach is a popular dog walking spot throughout autumn and winter, but there is a seasonal dog ban during the summer months (1st May - 30th September).
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.
Far from the bustling crowds of Paignton and Brixham’s bigger beaches, this small pebbly cove is a truly relaxing spot. The calm waters are great for swimming and are said to have been one of Agatha Christie’s favourite bathing spots. Elberry Cove even features in one of her crime thriller novels, The ABC Murders. This picture-perfect cove, surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides and crystal clear water, can only be accessed by the coast path, with the nearest carpark at Broadsands Beach. From here, it is only a 10 - 15 minute walk, but make sure to pack a picnic or grab a bite to eat at Broadsands Beach before you set off, as there aren’t any facilities at here. Dogs are welcome on the beach throughout the year.
If you’re willing to venture off the beaten track, you’ll discover one of Brixham’s hidden gems, Churston Cove. Surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides, this beautiful little cove isn’t the easiest to get to, which makes it an idyllic, peaceful place to while away the day. The crystal clear water is safe for kids to paddle and play in, and is a popular swimming spot. Parking is available at Freshwater carpark, a 15-minute walk away. There are no toilet facilities or cafes, and the beach is accessed via a long, steep path, which is uneven in places, but this beautiful little cove is worth the effort. Churston Cove is dog-friendly all year round.
Take the coast path from Brixham and escape the crowds at Fishcombe Cove, a peaceful shingle cove, protected on all sides by tall red cliffs. Access to this little cove isn’t easy, via a steep path from Freshwater carpark, but it is definitely worth the effort. The clear, blue sea is sheltered and calm, making it a favourite with swimmers and kayakers. Fishcombe Cove is also a popular place for boats and yachts to moor up and make the most of the beautiful water. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a seal popping its head up to say hello. There is a café and toilets here, but both are only open during the summer months. Fishcombe Cove is dog-friendly all year round.