Walking around the estate

With 880 acres of verdant forests, abundant wildlife and clear rivers, the Dartington estate offers the perfect backdrop to walks of all lengths and difficulties.

Short walks

Walks suitable for everyone, that can be tailored to sort your needs – including trails for families and those with limited mobility.

Our Glorious Gardens

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The main Gardens sit at the heart of the estate, a couple of minutes stroll from the main car park.  It’s easy to spend as little or as much time as you like in them, but to explore them fully takes roughly 1-2 hours.

Head to the Visitor Centre on arrival to pick up a beautifully illustrated Gardens Map (£1) – the ideal way to learn more about the features and treasures you’ll find along the way.

The Gardens are fully wheelchair accessible, although some steeper paths may need to be avoided. A mobility scooter is available for hire from the Visitor Centre.

Please note that dogs are not allowed in the Gardens with the exception of recognised guide or help dogs. Dartington has large permissive areas where your dog can roam freely.

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Deer Park Trails

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The Deer Park is a free experience that aims to tell you a 700-year-old story – about the people who lived here, the magnificent landscape, the deer themselves and the abundant wildlife.

We advise that you head to the Visitor Centre on arrival to pick up your free trail map (and maybe one of our activity backpacks for the kids which includes brass rubbing trail resources and much else besides).

Short trail = 1 mile*. This takes you into the woodland and to the remains of a medieval viewing platform. Accessible for wheelchairs, Tramper and buggies. Allow 30 mins.

Long trail = 2¼ mile* circular route. This passes alongside the River Dart, before returning uphill. Allow 90 mins.

*calculated on a start and finish at the Visitor Centre. 

We also offer a dedicated learning programme centered around the Park’s unique history and environment, including resources for schools.

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Longer walks

Walks that go deeper into our leafy woods, explore ancient paths and meander alongside the sparkling, crystal-clear River Dart. Often along more challenging terrain.

Longer walks around the estate

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The Dartington estate has an abundance of public footpaths – a walk around the entire estate would be around 8 miles.  Our estate map clearly marks the footpaths with yellow lines – see the resources below.

For a superb 4.5-mile walk, park at the main car park and follow the Upper Drive to Schumacher College.  You’ll see a public footpath signposted to your right which you can follow into North Wood.  From there any right-hand path will take you through the woods to the River Dart.  You can then follow the river’s edge to the bottom of the Lower Drive and follow it back up to the car park.

Note for dog-walkers: due to our wildlife protection work and livestock on the estate, some paths require your dog to be on a lead. We have several large areas where your dog can roam freely. We are grateful for your help in preserving the estate and preventing the spread of disease.

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Walking to the Shops

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It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the central estate to The Shops at Dartington. The quickest route is to follow the Upper Drive until you reach the turning off to Foxhole on your left. At this point, the Shops will be signposted and you can follow the road past Foxhole and down the hill.

The Shops are significantly downhill from the core estate, and may present a challenge for the less mobile or those with pushchairs – particularly on the way back!  Car parking tickets are transferable across the estate, so if you get a ticket at either the Shops car park or the main car park, you can head elsewhere at a later point.

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Some useful resources

Further reading

Geocaching

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled mobile phones. There are a number of ‘hidden treasures’ across the Dartington estate to hunt – great fun for families. Head to Dartington’s page on the Geocaching website to get started.

Further information about walks in the area

To find out more about walks in the South Hams and surrounding area, try the following:

National Ramblers Association

Dartmoor National Park Authority

National Trails Website

South Devon AONB