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War Horse

War Horse"I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor .. And, with two-and-a-half-weeks of extensive coverage of landscapes and skies, I hardly scratched the surface of the visual opportunities that were offered to me".

                    Film Director, Steven Spielberg

Dartmoor National Park provided many of the stunning locations for the filming of the new Spielberg blockbuster War Horse, released in the United Kingdom on 13th January 2012.  Specialist staff from the Dartmoor National Park Authority provided advice and assistance to the production team before and during the filming process.

Inspired by the book written by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse, tells the story of a Devon farm boy who braves the trenches in a search for his horse Joey after it is sent to France as an army horse during the First World War. Richard Curtis and Lee Hall adapted Michael Morpurgo's novel for the big screen.

Dartmoor locations used in the making of War Horse include:

  • Ditsworthy Warren House and surrounding area SX 584661 (please note that the house is on private land; but visible from surrounding moorland)
  • Ringmoor Down - SX559668
  • Combestone Tor and area - SX670718
  • Haytor -  SX759771
  • Bonehill  area- SX732774
  • Hexworthy Bridge - SX659728
  • Cadover Bridge/Brisworthy - SX559645

There's a strong British feel to the film. Jeremy Irvine, a young actor who has worked with both the National Youth Theatre and the RSC, makes his film debut in the lead role of Albert, with Emily Watson and Peter Mullan playing his parents. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Major Stewart.

A winner of Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards, the stage play was a huge hit on the London stage, notable for its innovative use of giant puppets to depict the horses.

Experience the War Horse landscape

If you want to experience the landscape which inspired Steven Spielberg why not join a guided walk and see for yourself some of the locations used in the film. If you prefer to venture out on your own the National Park Authority produces a number of publications which will help you enjoy this inspiring landscape.

Visit the National Park Authority’s online shop for the best selling ‘Walks Around’ leaflets for Haytor and Princetown - taking you right into War Horse country.

There is a superb selection of cycling opportunities which enable you to enjoy some of the War Horse locations and leaflets and maps are available on our online shop.

If you need some advice on where to go and what to do to make the most of your visit to Dartmoor our Information Centres are there to help. Visit our Information Centres page for opening times and contact details.

Guided Walks

Saturday 28 April
10:30, 3hr Stroll, ranger led walk at War Horse Location (Gutter Tor) Join Ranger Paul Glanville and visit the Ditsworthy area to hear first hand experiences of the filming of War Horse on and more about the role of DNPA in helping to advise the film crew whilst on location. Booking is essential, please telephone the High Moorland Visitor Centre on 01822 890414.

Sunday 6 May
14:00, 3hr walk, Archaeologist led walk to the at War Horse film location and much more (Gutter Tor) Archaeologist led walk to the at War Horse film location and much more up the Plym valley to Drizzlecombe (Gutter Tor)  Join DNPA Archaeologist Jane Marchand for a look around this multi period archaeologically/historically important landscape which was the focus of filming for much of the Dartmoor scenes in War Horse.   As well as admiring the wealth of archaeology Jane will give an insight into the role she played in advising the film crew how to protect the archaeological features in this area.  Booking is essential, please telephone the High Moorland Visitor Centre on 01822 890414.

Summer Exhibition

Watch this space for news of the forthcoming Dartmoor National Park Authority summer exhibition at the High Moorland Visitor Centre Princetown, telling the story of War Horse from a Dartmoor perspective.

Other sources of information:

Dartmoor Partnership (external website, opens new window)

Visit South Devon (external website, opens new window)

Visit Devon (external website, opens new window)

For other organised walks on Dartmoor please visit the Moorland Guides web site (external website, opens new window)

Page last updated: 17 Nov 2014
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