About Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor was designated as a National Park on 30 October 1951 and covers 368 square miles of upland moorland, river valleys, woodlands and enclosed farmland. It includes a number of small towns on its periphery, and many small villages and hamlets. The nearest cities are Plymouth and Exeter.
Dartmoor is known for its granite bedrock, which covers 65% of the National Park. Where erosion has exposed this granite, it forms Tors (rock formations) of which there are 160. The highest point on Dartmoor is High Willhays Tor at 621 metres or 2,039 feet above sea level. The lowest point on Dartmoor is Doghole Bridge at 30 metres or 98 feet above sea level. The predominant land use is farming with cattle, sheep and ponies found roaming on the open common land.
Dartmoor is known for its ponies, a unique breed to the area and a pony is the symbol of the National Park Authority. As well as its landscape and wildlife, Dartmoor is also known for its archaeology with remains dating back to the Stone Age. Evidence of both farming and mining can still be seen in the landscape we see today, which is among the finest archaeological landscapes in Europe.
Other things of interest include a prison built to house Napoleonic and American prisoners of war – still used today as a category C prison – and Dartmoor’s many myths, legends and literary influences such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles.