Dartmoor National Park is a tract of land in south Devon covering 954 km2 (593 mi). The Park is an area of high, boggy moorland and heath. The area has many significant and biologically interesting habitats, including oak woods, cave systems and valley mires.
Dartmoor receives a much higher level of rainfall than the surrounding lowlands and as a result of the geography of the land, the moors are rarely dry. In many areas, dangerous bogs and mires occur. A particularly notorious bog is the Fox Tor Mires, an expansive area of peat bog that is treacherous to walkers. It is said that this mire was the inspiration for Grimpen Mire in Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Hound of the Baskerville’s.
Dartmoor is well-known for its many tors – rounded hills topped with exposed granite rock formations. An event known as the Ten Tors Challenge takes place annually with 2400 young people aged 14 – 19 walking long distances between ten tors on many different routes.
Dartmoor National Park is an area of significant archaeological interest and the entire landscape is rich in prehistoric sites. Dartmoor National Park features over 100 km2 of surviving Bronze Age field systems and is home to the largest amount of prehistoric stone rows in the UK. The majority of prehistoric remains found on Dartmoor date back to the Neolithic and early Bronze Age, suggesting that a large population moved onto the hills of Dartmoor during this period.
Dartmoor is a popular tourist destination and the public enjoy extensive access to the Park, with over 734 km (456 mi) of public rights of way. There are numerous walking routes across wild, open countryside as well as cycle routes for all abilities. Other popular activities include horse riding, climbing, wild camping, kayaking, fishing and paragliding.