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Wild Camping in Dartmoor National Park

There are a few bank holidays coming up and you might be wondering what to do. Last summer me and my boyfriend had the same dilemma. As we started planning our mini break quite last minute we quickly realized that most places filled up already. It seemed impossible to book B&Bs and it made me think back of our day trip to the Seven Sisters during the Easter holidays. It was really nice, but the bus was packed and super late due to the big traffic and the paths were filled with tourists as well.
Soon we came up with the perfect idea. A place which was stunning, peaceful and quiet and didn’t require much planning ahead. We decide to go wild camping to Dartmoor.

I love hiking and camping, but have never done wild camping in my life, so this was slightly new territory for me. I was mostly worried if I will be able to carry my heavy backpack and if we will be able to find water to drink. Even though the weather wasn’t always on our side we had a nice long weekend.

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Planning:
It is legal to wild camp in most places in Dartmoor. HERE is a map of the places where you are welcome to pitch up a tent.

The military occasionally have firing days in Dartmoor. You need to check this HERE before your visit and make sure you stay away from that area.

In addition it is advised to book your train ticket ahead especially if you are going during bank holiday. If you are 16-25 you can get a Rail card and save a lot on your rail journeys.

Check weather forecast and make sure you have warm, waterproof clothing.

How to get there:
We took the train from London Paddington to Ivybridge. The journey takes 3-4 hours depending on your connections. The entrance to the National Park is only a short walk away from Ivybridge station, so you don’t need a car. It’s a good place to explore the south part of Dartmoor.

What to take with you:

-Food
As we wild camped for 3 days we didn’t see any shops or civilization, so taking enough food was essential. I find Wayfayrer camping food great. You can eat it warm or cold and it’s really tasty. Mountain House also has a good selection. This is freeze dry food, hence lighter, but it needs some water to prepare.
-Tent
-Sleeping bag
-Sleeping mat
-Waterproof jacket, trousers and boots
We were very unlucky with the weather on our second day. It was raining the whole time. Having waterproof equipment makes your time less miserable.
-First aid kit
-Camera, battery
-Map
-Portable phone charger
-Water filter (We used one from Sawyer)
You won’t be able to carry water for multiple days. You will need to make sure to find a stream, pond or lake and filter the water before you drink it.
-Jet boil or cooking stove
-Gas for cooking
-Warm fleece
-Torch
-Water bottle
-Toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizers, tissues, deodorant
-Socks, underpants
-Plastic bags
This is to store your rubbish until you find a bin to chuck it.

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Hiking:

Day 1.
We covered 9 miles on our first day. We had nice weather mostly. Little bit misty at times. We headed north from the train station. Despite being a bank holiday we didn’t see many people. When it started to get dark, we pitched up the tent at a location we liked. We enjoyed a lovely chille concarne from Wayfarer then had a good night sleep.

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Day 2.
Unfortunately we weren’t lucky with the weather this day. It was raining most of the time. We still set off to start our way back towards the train station. We walked for 6 miles, then pitched the tent at a tor early afternoon. As we had waterproof rain coat, trousers and cover for our bag we managed to stay mostly dry. However our socks were soaked and it was an unpleasant feeling. This was the time we decided to acquire some waterproof boots. We spent the afternoon in the tent chatting and playing card games, had Wayfarer Lancashire Hot Pot for dinner and tried their Wayfayrer Chocolate Pudding for desert to cheer us up.

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Day 3.
We woke up to a lovely sunny day. We only had to cover about 4 miles to get back to the train station. We found a shop in town, where we got some sandwiches for lunch and then went back to the entrance of the National Park and enjoyed our meal in the sun overlooking sheep and green meadows. Great finish for our adventure.

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If you enjoy hiking and camping read my post about the Peak District and Seven Sisters.

Wildcamping

About Enikő

Hey, I'm Enikő! I'm currently an au pair and I want to share my experiences with you. I've travelled a lot in the past years. I'm gonna teach you how to settle in to a new country and get free accommodation anywhere in the world. Circle Enikő on Google+!

10 comments

  1. Nice post to share. Thank you so much for this wonderful share. Keep sharing and blogging..

  2. Does wild camping just mean camping that’s not in organized campgrounds? I’ve never heard that term before! Love to camp though. :)

  3. This is mega useful, I’m saving your post till our next trip to the UK. Would like to hike in Dartmoor!

  4. Anything that has greenery and oceans, is my thing. This looks like an amazing camping spot. Enjoyed reading this plus, you write so well.
    Thanks for sharing.

    http://www.theufuoma.com
    travel lifestyle passion

  5. I’ve never camped in the wild before but it’s on my to-do list! What a cool adventure and a great idea for a low-key getaway, despite the rain. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Eni!

  6. Just moved to London and I’m always looking for something different to do. Definitely going to keep this in mind.

  7. I haven’t been wild camping in a very long time, and this made me start pondering whether or not I’d be up for it again. Your pictures are so amazing, that I’m pretty tempted. Also, excellent tip on the Wayfayrer camping food. I’m actually looking into the right now, not just for treks, but as emergency supplies (I live in LA, and we’re encouraged to have emergency kits).Thanks for sharing!

  8. I live suuuper close to Dartmoor (in Plymouth!) and I’ve been a few times on day trips, but would LOVE to camp! I had no idea that you could walk from Ivybridge station straight onto the park so that’s really good to know as I don’t drive :)

  9. The natural beauty of this place is amazing. It definitely seems like the ideal place for camping with those wide open spaces.

  10. What a beautiful region. Your pictures are great. How was it wild camping? What does that mean exactly? Looks like you enjoyed a couple of great days. Seems like a wonderful time with good food :)

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