Dartmoor is home to a fantastic diversity of wildlife and habitats, much of it rare and protected. The special habitats on Dartmoor are a result of the geology of the moor and the influences of people over 4,000 years
Dartmoor’s landscape is dominated by rocks. Granite is the main rock type and can be seen in many dramatic outcrops (tors) and on boulder-strewn slopes.
The granite was formed around 280 million years ago thrusting upwards under older rocks into the area we now know as Devon and Cornwall. Over a very long time, the overlying rocks have been eroded by nature to expose the granite beneath and shape the moor we see today. These processes have produced the soils and conditions to which certain wild plants are particularly suited.
The influence of farming
Dartmoor may look like a wild landscape but it has been shaped over time by the way it has been farmed. Through a very long tradition of grazing with cattle, sheep and ponies, certain plants and habitats have thrived. Habitats such as Postbridge’s wonderful wildflower meadows exist only because of the long tradition of haymaking in the area which has favoured these species to grow.
Discover more of the Dartmoor Story
Use the Heritage Trails interactive map to look for important wildlife areas across Dartmoor, plan your own walk or download one of the heritage trails.
Explore Dartmoor's Top Ten places for wildlife
Find out more about Dartmoor's amazing wildlife
See what other wildlife projects are being undertaken as part of the Moor than meets the eye Landscape Partnership