The Two Moors Way runs the length of Devon, through the National Parks of Dartmoor in the south and Exmoor in the north, hence its name! It offers a rich tapestry of moorland and rolling countryside. Walking the Two Moors Way, you will often find yourself in an expansive landscape of wild moors and hills topped with outcrops of bedrock. If you look carefully you may discern remains from the Iron and Bronze ages, as well as the odd disused shafts and buildings from its more recent mining past, which all add to the beauty of this remote landscape. Even when the moors give way to fields and farmland, the views are rarely spoilt by human touches. This challenging walk also leads you through undulating farmland with unspoilt open views and deep, wooded valleys. You will catch sight of the wild ponies and red deer, which roam this stunning landscape. You will enjoy tranquil overnight stays in the pretty villages and hamlets, little gems such as Widecombe-in-the-Moor and Scorriton in the South and Knowstone and Withypool in the north. Enjoy views of the sea and high cliffs as you make your way down to Lynmouth - this long and steady descent is a good reason for making the walk from south to north! Good navigational and map reading skills are recommended for this walk when visibility is low. It is challenging but well worth the effort for it. There is some debate about the exact distance of the Two Moors Way, as each guidebook seems to hve a different figure, but it around 100 miles (160 km) in total!
The Two Moors Way starts from the bustling little town of Ivybridge. A short walk from the town centre and you will find yourself in wild, open moorland, with little sign of recent human activities for the next 12 miles, until you reach Scorriton! The route initially follows a disused tram track and Bronze Age remains and former mining activities litter the route before the track is replaced by pathless, boggy grounds. Here is the first of many opportunities for you to show off your navigational skills. As you descend the last mile to Scorriton, you are rewarded with extensive views to Torbay. The ground is more solid and the barren moorland gives way to green farmland.
The sleepy hamlet of Scorriton offers the weary Two Moors Way walker rest and refreshment. From there, your journey continues over undulating steep-sided valley, through Holne and Ponsworthy. The latter is an attractive hamlet with thatched cottages and a single arched bridge that is worth a diversion. Continuing north, the route passes through woods and fields.
A diversion to Widecombe-in-the-Moor offers a good opportunity for an overnight stop. It is a popular destination for day-trippers, who are keen to explore the myriad of surrounding footpaths, as testified by the numerous tea shops in the village. Back on the Two Moors Way, Bronze Age burial mounts litter its length as it straddles the ridge on Hamel Down, including the well-preserved Bronze Age enclosure of Grimspound. Within the massive granite walls are the remains of hut circles and stone buildings. Past Bennett's Cross, there are more disused mine workings, a reminder of Devon's mining past. The path passes for a while alongside Fernworthy Forest, and Chagford Common before weaving through several small woodlands and along the River Teign.
Not far off the route of the Two Moors Way, Chagford makes an excellent overnight stop or even a rest day. This lovely small town enjoys a range of traditional stores and independent tea shops and restaurants. It boasts a large number of well-preserved old buildings, some of which go back to the 15th century, a reflection of its past importance as a centre for tin and, later, wool. Continuing on the route, the trail follows the River Teign to Castle Drogo, perched above the valley with great views across Dartmoor. This impressive medieval looking castle was actually built in the 1910s and 1920s, with themed rooms through the centuries but the mod cons of the 21st.
Drewsteignton is another pretty village in a picturesque setting, with thatched cottages and a parish church, which dates back to 15th century. Just north of Drewsteignton, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, is an impressive memorial stone to Joe Turner who set up the Two Moors Way. It is one half of a boulder, with the cut face mirroring the other half, which is 30 miles away to the north on the outskirts of Exmoor National Park. The path continues north through lush, green fields. After Hittisleigh, the trial continues on a two miles stretch on the road.
A short distance from the route, Colebrooke has a 14-15th century church with some interesting relief carvings - of a Wild Man and a fool! We normally arrange for you to be collected from here for transfer to your B&B, as there is no accommodation in the village. The Two Moors Way continues through remote farms and villages, including Clannaborough Church - a church without a village. Enjoy great views towards the northern parts of Dartmoor.
Nestling among low lying hills, Morchard Bishop is the halfway point of the Two Moors Way. The Path runs through the village up to the 15th century church, with good views of Dartmoor to the south and Exmoor to the North. From here, the trail rolls through an agricultural landscape. There are also a large number of streams and it can be muddy, even in fine weather!
Walking through the centre of Witheridge with its rich heritage of historical buildings, it is easy to believe that this was once a busy, thriving market town. From Witheridge, the Two Moors Way joins the Little Dart River before continuing on the road, which, being on high ground does compensate by offering extensive views to both the south and the north, taking in Dartmoor, Knowstone Moor and Hares Down.
Tucked away in the middle of the countryside is the little village of Knowstone with chocolate-box, thatched cottages, narrow streets and high hedges. There is even a Michelin star restaurant at the local pub, for those who like fine dining. Leaving Knowstone, the route passes through fields and woodlands. North of West Anstey is the second half of the memorial boulder to Joe Turner. You are now entering Exmoor National Park and farmland gradually give way to commons and moorland.
North of Hawkridge, the Two Moors Way offers two options. The first approaches Withypool through predominantly wooded river valley alongside the River Barle. The route passes through Tarr Steps, where an impressive medieval clapper bridge, consisting of 17 flat stones, spanning over 55 feet across the river. Unsurprisingly, it is a well-known beauty spot, popular with families and walkers at the weekends. The second option is more direct and takes you across higher grounds along Withypool Hill with great views across the moors before dropping down to Withypool.
Withypool is one of the prettiest villages on the Two Moors Way. It is unspoilt by modern development with its colourful cottages and riverside setting. A six arch stone bridge spans the River Barle. A tea shop, adjacent a quaint Olden World petrol pumps, provides welcome refreshment for hungry walkers. Climbing out of Withypool, the Two Moors Way takes you over the moor with tremendous views over Sherdon Water, a main tributary of the Barle, and Bightworthy Burrows. The route eventually drops along the edge of a wood by the River Barle to approach Simonsbath through woodland. It is also one of the prettiest sections of the walk.
Simonsbath is one of the remotest villages in the Exmoor National Park. The houses are scattered over a wide area, rather than around the church, as is often the case with villages. The route climbs up through woodlands before crossing over Dure Down to enjoy wide ranging views. It drops down briefly into a river valley before emerging back up again and along Cheriton Ridge. Navigation on this stretch could be difficult when visibility is poor!! The Two Moors Way leaves the moors after the sleepy hamlet of Cheriton and descends into woodlands beside Hoar Oak Water. As the route climbs out of the woods, you are greeted with glorious views of the sea and high cliffs before a long, steady descent to Lynmouth.
Your journey's end! Make sure you drop-in at the National Park Visitor Centre in The Pavillion on the Esplanade to sign their Two Moors Way book to record your achievement. However, it doesn't have to end here though. Lynmouth has plenty to offer you with its quaint harbour, funicular railway which links it with Lynton at the top of the cliff, from where the Valley of Rocks, and the cute feral goats, which roam this rugged terrain, are just a short distance away. If you are feeling very adventurous, you can continue on the South West Coast Path for a longer walk.
The nearest railway stations to the route are listed below.
Ivybridge: On route
Yeoford: Colebrooke 2.2miles/3.5km
Copplestone: Colebrooke 2 miles/3.2;
Morchard Road: On route
Barnstaple: Lynmouth 19.6miles/31.5km
The National Rail Map provides a map of the rail network for you to plan your journey.
The nearest National Express long distance coach stops are listed below.
Ivybridge: on route
Totnes: Scorriton 9.2 miles/14.8km and Holne 9.8 miles/15.8km
Newton Abbot: Widecombe-in-the-Moor 11.7 miles/18.8km and Chagford 17 miles/27.4km
South Molton: Knowstone 10.6 miles/17.1km and Witheridge 10.4 miles/16.7km;
Tiverton: Knowstone 12.1 miles/19.5km and Witheridge 10.8 miles/17.4km
Ilfracombe: Lynmouth 19.6 miles/31.5km
National Express has a route network with over 1,000 UK destinations. The best value tickets will be secured with advance booking.
There is a limited bus network along the route due to the remoteness of some of the areas, in particular over Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park.
Ivybridge is easily accessible by car, being cose to Plymouth and just off the A30 dual carriage. Lynmouth in North Devon is a little more remote but is accessible via the A39 from Bridgwater.
We may be able to arrange car parking at your first nights accommodation for the duration of your walking holiday. This will be subject to availability and may incur a small extra charge.
It is possible to return to your car by a combination of bus and train services. Generally we recommend the bus from Lynton to Barnstaple and then train to Ivybridge via Exeter. We will be happy to advise on the public transport options and also to get quotes and book a return journey by taxi for you if you prefer.
We offer of a wide range of itineraries for the Two Moors Way to suit all walkers. These range from a challenging 6 day hike to a more relaxed 9 day walk.
Good navigational and map reading skills are recommended.
The route of the Two Moors Way is waymarked, although good navigational and map reading skills will be required over the moorland stretches
March to October.
We specialise in providing walking holidays in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and Somerset. We are enthusiastic about outdoor pursuits and have experienced climbing, canoeing, skiing, caving and potholing and windsurfing as well as walking throughout the UK, France, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
We use our experience to provide self-guided, pack-free walking holidays, tailored to the requirements and abilities of our clients.