5 of the best places to walk and swim
What could be better on a day off than getting out into the countryside for a walk in the sunshine, and finishing it off with a refreshing swim?
With an abundance of attractions and areas to walk, cycle, picnic and eat, Dartmoor has something for everyone and every type of family. Here’s our list of must-do family activities.
Situated in the heart of Devon, Dartmoor is known as one of the most beautiful areas in the UK. The infamously rugged landscape is home to dramatic, wide open spaces and fast-flowing rivers, but despite this wild landscape, Dartmoor is full of family-friendly areas too.
One of the best-loved family attractions in Devon, River Dart Country Park is nestled within 90 acres of parkland in Dartmoor National Park and offers over 25 family-friendly attractions, including pony riding, obstacle courses, rope courses and zip wires. Adventurers can take part in an Adventure Day and try their hand at caving, rock climbing and white-water rafting, while those who are seeking a more tranquil visit can watch owl and hawk displays or catch salmon and sea trout on the River Dart.
For a family day out like no other, Tree Surfers provide an adrenaline-pumping experience that your family is unlikely to forget. Courses of high ropes, rope bridges, zip lines and walk ways are immersed within the treetops, and range from junior courses to the heart-pounding ‘black run’ for more adventurous family members. For a full day out, head out on one of the many mountain bike trails- the Mineral Railway Trail is ideal for families with younger children, heading through beautiful woodland along parts of the old mineral railway.
What better way to see the beautiful sights of Dartmoor than on horseback? Shilstone Rocks is based in the National Park at Widecombe-in-the-Moor, and offers horse riding for beginners to experienced riders. For a unique experience tailored to your family, rides are organised into groups of four or less, and the instructors will give you as little or as much guidance as you need as you ride over the moor.
If you’re looking for a day out that will steer your kids away from their phones and tablets, then the spectacular South West Lakes are worth a visit. Roadford Lake is situated near the Devon and Cornwall border, and guarantees a great family day out. The lake can be explored by foot, boat or bike, and the surrounding open spaces make the perfect picnic setting. Roadford Lake is a fantastic trout fishery, and the Trust often runs fishing courses suitable for children. An ideal location for exploring woodland, spotting wildlife, building dens and venturing on nature trails, Roadford Lake offers a wealth of fun things to do with the family- most of it free!
Built in 1872, The South Devon Railway in Buckfastleigh is one of the West Country’s best-loved attractions. Both parents and children of all ages can enjoy steam train journeys running along the idyllic valley of the River Dart, which can be enjoyed even on the rainiest of days. The steam trains pass through some of the most beautiful, unspoilt countryside in Devon, transforming the journey into the perfect wildlife-spotting opportunity. Buckfastleigh is a haven of things to do and places to explore, with riverside walks, play areas, museums and gardens nearby.
Whether your family is seeking adventure, fun or rest in Dartmoor, the area offers plenty of family-friendly activities, catering to children (and adults) of any age.