It's little wonder that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made Dartmoor the setting for his Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Hound of the Baskervilles. It's a suitably misty, wild and isolated landscape, with scores of prehistoric remains littering the landscape and at its heart Britain's most secure prison at Princetown. But don't worry, because elsewhere the mood is the polar opposite! Dartmoor is also home to pretty cascades and waterfalls, bubbling streams and picturesque thatched cottages. In the valleys around the moor's edges you can enjoy cream teas, and there's a great choice of accommodation too, from B&Bs to plush hotels.
The Ministry of Defence uses some of Dartmoor as a firing range (watch out for the warning red flags), but there are plenty of other parts of the moor to enjoy when you're based at a Devon hotel in the area. You can find the main information centre at Princetown and from there be directed to points of interest such as Hound Tor. This hilltop setting is home to a substantial medieval settlement that was inhabited from Saxon times down to about 1300. Becky Falls just to the north has a viewing platform from which to see the 72-foot drop of the waterfall. To the northwest of there is Castle Drogo, an impressive mock castle completed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1930.
Out and About on Dartmoor
When you're exploring Dartmoor on a day trip from your guesthouse, hotel or B&B in Devon you'll be struck by the wild, untamed beauty of the landscape away from the pretty towns and villages on the fringes. This awesome and seemingly inhospitable landscape has been the home of the famous Dartmoor Ponies since the 10th century, and they seem to be perfectly happy with it even in the winter! You'll occasionally see these small, tough ponies from a distance, peacefully grazing and enjoying their freedom.
When visiting Dartmoor from your hotel or guesthouse, be sure to see Buckland-in-the-Moor, a picturesque thatch-and-granite village that could easily stand in for Bilbo Baggins's Shire. Dartmoor is studded with unexpected delights such as this, contrary to many preconceived impressions.