The Two Moors Way; a tale of two national parks

At BCH Camping we know how lucky we are to be based in such a beautiful part of the country. We have stores in Bath, Trowbridge and Chippenham, all of which sit on the doorstep of four national parks, the Brecon Beacons, the New Forest, Exmoor and Dartmoor. Our local customers are spoilt for choice when it comes to walks and stunning scenery. One of the most popular long distance hikes in the south west is the Two Moors Way.

History of the Two Moors Way

Originally, the route started at Ivybridge on the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park, and stretched 102 miles north to Lynmouth on the north Devon coast. The walk was the creation of Joe Turner of the Two Moors Way Association, and officially opened on 29th May, 1976.
In tribute to Joe, following his death in 2004, Dartmoor sculptor Peter Randall-Page created two halves of an inscribed granite boulder which now sit on the edge of Dartmoor and Exmoor, facing each other, 30 miles apart.
The Two Moors Way also became known as the Devon Coast to Coast when, in 2005, the route was extended to be linked with the Erme–Plym Trail from Ivybridge to Wembury on the south Devon coast, creating a coast-to-coast route of over 115 miles. For those of you who like the finer details, although referred to as the Devon Coast to Coast, part of the Exmoor section is actually in Somerset!

What to expect from the Two Moors Way

The route takes, on average, a week to complete. It is waymarked in both directions, but given the chance of strong winds, normally from the south west, when crossing the wild moorland, it is usually preferred to follow the route from south to north. Also, the descent from Exmoor to the coast is said to make an ideal last day walk.
Most of the Two Moors Way is easy to moderate walking grade with challenging, but not too severe ascents and descents. The more difficult sections are on the open moorland where the weather can change very quickly, so it is advisable that you have maps to hand. You should also be competent with a compass in case the mist descends.
Expect a national trail of incredible variety and stunning landscapes. You will pass through isolated farmsteads, medieval bridges and remote villages with thatched cottages, pretty churches and traditional pubs. By contrast, the wild, isolated Dartmoor National Park offers open landscapes with moorland and sweeping wilderness.

The Two Moors Way route

This is the standard route that includes the Erme–Plym Trail, coast to coast element of the walk:
Day 1 Wembury to Ivybridge 16 miles
Day 2 Ivybridge to Holne 13.5 miles
Day 3 Holne to Chagford  17 miles
Day 4 Chagford to Morchard Road 18 miles
Day 5 Morchard Road to Knowstone 19 miles
Day 6 Knowstone to Withypool 14.5 miles
Day 7 Withypool to Lynmouth 17.5 miles
 

Starting out in south Devon

The Erme-Plym Trail can lead you into the false sense of security that you are skipping off on a gentle hike, as you wander across rolling fields and meander your way through groups of trees. It’s merely a kindly introduction to the Two Moors Way before you reach the more demanding section that takes you across Dartmoor.

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor is where you will experience the barren and lonely moorland with its granite tors and evidence of Bronze Age activity. The exposed moorland takes you to the highest point over Hamel Down (532m). (If preferred, there is a lower-level, alternative route you can take.)
But Dartmoor is not just about wilderness and moorland. There are sheltered wooded valleys, winding rivers and traditional hamlets such as Drewsteignton, a picturesque village in the Teign Valley, where the route leaves the National Park.

Mid Devon

From Dartmoor, the route leads you through mid Devon, referred to by many as “real Devon” with its remote and hilly country of scattered farms, hamlets and remote churches. The Morchard Wood Plantation presents to you its tall, dark spruces, before you cut through wild meadows, wetlands and small stream valleys.
At the hamlet of Black Dog there are views to both Exmoor ahead and Dartmoor behind. The Iron Age banks of Berry Castle can be visited with a short diversion. The Black Dog Inn is a walkers’ favourite watering hole, where it is believed there was once a secret tunnel to the castle from the well, the entrance to which was guarded during the Civil War by “a ghostly” black dog that gave the hamlet its name.

Exmoor National Park

Panoramic views herald your entrance to Exmoor National Park at Badlake Moor. Now in red deer country, you may see groups of these magnificent animals moving silently as you cross the deep valley. From here, you’ll pass through a diverse landscape of small walled fields, farmland and picturesque hamlets, and wild romantic moorlands as you head towards the coast. Towering sea cliffs provide a fitting, dramatic end to the walk at Lynmouth.

Preparation for the Two Moors Way

BCH Camping is ideally located and stocked to help you prepare for the Two Moors Way. We supply a range of footwear, along with a boot fitting service, clothing including waterproofs, camping and backpacking equipment and endless advice, enthusiasm and information!
If you’re able to pop in, you will find our stores at the following addresses:
30 Southgate, Bath, BA1 1TP
60 New Road, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 1ES
8 - 12 Islington, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8QE
Alternatively, please do call us on 01249 661501, or email us at websales@bchcamping.co.uk. We’d be delighted to help with any enquiries, and of course orders can be placed online via our website. Happy trails!
 

December 9 2019 | Garth
Filed under: Autumn, Backpacking, clothing, England, equipment, Footwear, Holidays, Rucksack, Walks, Weekend

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