Visiting FAQs

Visiting FAQs

What hours does the National Park open and how much do you charge for entry?

Unlike National Parks in other parts of the world, UK National Parks are areas where people live and work. Therefore, there are no opening or closing times, no barriers and no charge for entry. If you would like to support our conservation work we would welcome a donation

Where can I park?

There are a number of car parks on Dartmoor. If car parks are full, please do not park on verges, in front of gates and entrances or anywhere on the road where you will block access. Our car parking page will help you find a spot.

Where can I walk?

The public has legal open access to about 47,400 hectares of Dartmoor. Of this total, public access on foot (and horseback) to the Dartmoor commons, was secured under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985. On private land you may walk only if there is an agreement with the landowner. Find out where you can go

How can I join a guided walk?

Check the website for details of walks provided by Moorland Guides or the Visit Dartmoor website.

Can I camp anywhere?

No, you can only backpack camp (wild camp) in certain areas and rules do apply. Backpack camping is for those backpacking, not for groups with large tents to camp by the roadside. See our camping information.

If you don't fancy backpacking, there are lots of great campsites and caravan parks to choose from.

Can I stay in my camper van free on Dartmoor?

No, Dartmoor byelaws restrict the overnight sleeping in vehicles on Dartmoor. We suggest that you stay in one of the fantastic campsites on and around Dartmoor.

Can I ride my bike across the moor?

Cycling on open moorland or common land is not allowed unless on a public bridleway or a designated route. We have some great off-road and traffic-free cycling routes on Dartmoor, but please only cycle where you are legally permitted to do so.

Can I go Wild Swimming anywhere I like on Dartmoor?

You can swim in Dartmoor’s rivers as long as you access from points that are not on private land and you respect the other river users and most importantly the local wildlife.

Can my dog go anywhere and where do I dispose of dog mess?

Dartmoor welcomes responsible dog owners. However, we ask that dogs are always kept under control and during lambing and ground nesting bird season that dogs are kept on a lead.  Dartmoor National Park does not provide any bins and so all litter (including dog poo bags) must be taken home with you.

Where can we have a picnic?

On the open moorland there are no restrictions on where you can have a picnic. Please leave no trace, do not light any fires or leave any litter.

Can I fly my drone on Dartmoor?

The use of drones on Dartmoor where there is public access is not permitted under the Byelaws. On land where there is no public right of access it is up to the individual to seek the permission from the landowner. Commercial use of drones over Dartmoor requires the normal filming permissions of the landowner, which will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Are the ponies wild?

All the ponies are owned by someone but they are allowed to roam free on Dartmoor for large parts of the year until they are counted during the annual pony drifts. They will then be released back onto the moor or taken away to be sold.

Where can we see the ponies?

Ponies can be seen at most times of the year grazing on various areas of open common. Please do not approach or feed them as they can bite and if fed can loiter around the roadside which is dangerous for their wellbeing!

There is an exhibition at Powdermills of the Dartmoor Hill Pony and at Parke estate in Bovey Tracey you can visit the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust – please see their website for opening times.

Where are the best places to go stargazing?

Whilst Dartmoor doesn’t have official ‘Dark Sky’ designation yet, its skies are amongst the best in Southern England for star gazing. Away from major settlements, tree cover and in the middle of the moor are obviously good starting places.

How many tors are there?

Lots! Dartmoor Search and Rescue have produced a book identifying Dartmoor’s Tors and rocks and discovered more than 365 – so you can visit one every day of the year!

What is Dartmoor famous for?

Dartmoor is famous for its wide open spaces, the tors, Dartmoor Prison, Bronze Age archaeologyponies, Sherlock Holmes, myths and legends and for having the worlds largest land slug!

What are the military firing areas?

Dartmoor has a long association with the military and as part of their license they use three agreed areas for their training which can include live firing. Red flags are posted, as well as notice on websites, to show when and where the military firing is taking place.

May I scatter the ashes of my relative on Dartmoor?

There are no rules but we would ask that you exercise discretion and not scatter them at a popular site and/or at a busy time; there should be no flowers or permanent memorial and if it is off the common then landowner permission should be sought. It should be ensured that they are not scattered near any water course.