This stunning 8km walk takes in the beautiful area of Sheepstor and Burrator Reservoir. Only 4 squares to tick off of John Heywoods 365 map, but still a lot of the diverse Dartmoor landscape to be explored, including leat-side woodland, and three great tors, so expect A LOT of UP today but its worth it for the stunning views of the reservoir!
Dartmoor 365 squares - Q5, Q6, P6, Q7
Again, this map and route is only a guide, we believe that it is always advisable to take a Dartmoor OS map and compass with you whenever you are out on the moors.
This walk was the first outing we made of 2017, in January, so we were lucky to see a little bit of snow up on the higher parts of the Tor, but I should imagine that this is a scenic walk no matter what time of the year you choose to go on. Follow the instructions below, and enjoy!
1. To start the walk, park at the car park just to the South West of the Dam at Burrator Reservoir, From here walk along the disused railway that runs parallel to the reservoir. The views of the reservoir with Sheepstor towering above in the background are amazing, as Nath put it, like a mini Snowdonia!
Soon you enter the gate into the woodland and this is where you join the leat. Stick to the path that follows the leat and it will eventually lead you up and around the Northern side of the reservoir, until you reach Crofts plantation.
2. Enter the plantation and head up hill, cutting through the plantation on the track that runs through on the left hand side. This is a steady climb, and gains you some height. You will eventually burst out at the edge of the plantation, and you will see the open moorland beyond the fence. Find the stile and enter the moor.
You will see Leather Tor up the hill and to the East, but you will want to head North, climbing more of the hill until the impressive rocky eminence of Sharpitor comes into view. Make your way up to the summit for some stunning panoramic views and take some time to explore it in its entirety.
3. When you have spent enough time on Sharpitor, its time to head back down, heading South East towards Leather Tor. A bit of fun scrabbling to the top of this tor gives you yet another great view3 of the Reservoir to the South of you.
4. Head South now, down the Western face of Leather Tor, and heading through the boulder field towards the road that lies just to the Eastern end of the Crofts plantation on the map. When you find the road, turn left and follow the road for about 1.2km, until you find the second car park leading into Narrator Plantation.
5. Navigate the woodland paths through the plantation until you arrive at the edge of the moorland, at Yellowmead Down, and the foot of Sheepstor. You will come across a fence, we stupidly climbed this, but there is a gate a little further down. Now the second big climb of the day to the top of Sheepstor.
As you climb the laborious hill of Yellowmead Down, the height gives you a terrific view back over at Sharpitor, Leather Tor and the surrounding forestries to the North, and to the South East the featureless barren expanse of the South Moor stretches off into the distance.
6. After taking in the views from the top of Sheepstor, including the reservoir and the village of Sheepstor, its time to head back to the car park (which you can see from up here). Head south-west, towards the reservoir, join the footpath and follow it clockwise around the reservoir. Eventually the path meet sthe road and you follow that over the dam, turning left as you past it, pass the toilets and a little way up the hill you will once again reach the car park.