Whether you’re interested in wild camping, campsite camping, self catering or even a bit of posh hotel life, there’s accommodation on Dartmoor to suit you. From freezing in a bog to luxuriating in a four poster, we really have got the accommodation thing sorted.
Don’t believe me?
It’s true! And I have the evidence to prove it. Here’s how Mr D and I set out to try as many different types of Dartmoor accommodation as we could during our three-night, pre-Easter visit.
Between us we managed four!
Night one – wild camping on Dartmoor
Night one on our three-day Dartmoor trip was all about getting back to nature.
Well it was for me.
For Mr D it was more about getting as far across Dartmoor as he could on his bike before settling down for the night in his bivvy bag. He was cycling from Okehampton on the North Moor to Ivybridge in the South.
I wasn’t. I don’t do bikes.
I do tents though so I was more than happy to watch him leave (with next to no gear at all) then heave my rucksack onto my back, and set off on my own exploration by foot.
I had packed light but not as light as him.
Wild camping on Dartmoor is a wonderful experience but these days it’s very popular so I prefer doing it during the quieter shoulder months than in the middle of the summer. If you’re interested in giving it a go, check out my top tips for solo wild camping in the UK.
Other people worry me far more than the dark.
Which is good because wild camping should take you away from everybody else. Pack your gear in a rucksack (or in Mr D’s case on your bike) then walk, run or cycle off into the middle of nowhere.
Here’s a quick checklist if you want to get it right.
- Keep it lonely
- Take everything home (including loo roll)
- Use stoves on rocks (instead of campfires or barbecues)
- Check the Dartmoor wild camping map to find your location
I’m pleased to report that Mr D found a sheltered spot next to some rocks, and slept well in his bivvy bag. There was a small amount of rain overnight but he’s used to bike packing in Wales so that didn’t throw him. He was up good and early for his second day of cycling.
And pushing his bike over those tussocks!
I opted to stay on the North Moor for my quiet camp. All went well, my noodles and veg were tasty, my tent was cosy, and in the morning I walked back to the camper van accompanied by the most impressive chorus of skylarks I’ve ever heard.
Then it was south in the camper van to Ivybridge.
Night two – a campsite on Dartmoor
I arrived in Ivybridge a little before Mr D but decided not to walk up and meet him. I have to admit to having a little doze in the van before he arrived.
Campervan day camps are fabulous!
But the byelaws don’t allow you to sleep in your vehicle on Dartmoor so it was off to a campsite for us.
And the luxury of a solid roof!
Harford Bunkhouse Campsite near Ivybridge shouldn’t be confused with Harford Bridge Campsite near Tavistock. I’ve enjoyed stays at both but you’ll find a more rustic stay at Harford Bunkhouse Campsite.
Which was exactly what we were looking for.
If you don’t count the sheep, peacock and guinea fowl, we had the whole field to ourselves. Relaxing in the luxury of flushing loos and actual chairs, we swapped adventure stories over the campfire, and dined on steak and asparagus.
Whilst counting mole hills.
Sunset was accompanied by the strange night-gathering calls of the guinea fowl. Assembled neatly on a thin branch, they looked composed and relaxed.
We were too.
Tired out by our day’s activities, we went to bed early. Being a weeny Toyota Granvia, Great the campervan has a tiny bed but it had a touch of luxury that night.
Night three – a hotel stay on Dartmoor
I love planning holidays. I love the research, the dates, the food prep, even the working and saving to provide funds. I like it even better though when additional elements that I haven’t planned just fall into place.
Like winning a hotel stay on Dartmoor.
A couple of weeks before our trip I’d entered an online competition to win a night at the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock. I love this quirky riverside town, and have been eyeing up the hotel for a while.
You can’t miss it. It looks like a castle!
When I realised that our Dartmoor venture was taking us up through the accommodation levels, it made perfect sense to round off our trip with a touch of luxury.
And a gigantic bed!
Honestly, you could have fitted my tent, Mr D’s bivvy bag and even a couple of guinea fowl in our lovely hotel room bed. There might even have been room for his bike.
And the peacock would have slotted nicely into the bathroom.
Luckily for the lovely staff at the Bedford, although I am most likely to be found camping, I do also know how to behave in a hotel. We left the bike, tent and bivvy bag in the van, and we left the peacock at the campsite.
The guinea fowl however turned up on my dinner plate.
I felt bad after enjoying their company so much at the campsite but I couldn’t resist it. I’ve only eaten fine dining food once before, and never tried anything called ‘fowl’ so it seemed only right to give it a go.
As it turns out guinea fowl is quite nice with a pea foam!
I feel obliged at this point to explain that pea foam is NOT the same thing as pee foam.
Which is a camping thing!
My favourite Dartmoor accommodation?
Even for a hardened camper, it’s a tricky choice to make between the freedom and nature of wild camping, and the organised comfort of hotel life. I like lukewarm noodles but coconut sorbet tastes better, I don’t mind a chilly swim but a hot shower always leaves me feeling cleaner, and I’m happy peeing in a ditch but a toilet…
Well a toilet brings luxury up to a whole new level.
Luckily for me I have a middle ground option parked outside the house.
I have Greta the campervan.
I don’t know which of my three nights on Dartmoor I would choose to have again. Hopefully I’ll be able to repeat all of them. There are plenty more wild camping locations to choose from, a couple of campsites I haven’t tried yet, and definitely at least one hotel I would love to visit.
Perhaps it’s time to start planning my next trip!
Find accommodation on Dartmoor
If you’re looking for accommodation on Dartmoor, I recommend heading on over to the Visit Dartmoor website. There you’ll find plenty of options as well as tips and ideas from the locals on how to enjoy our lovely moor.
Like all our wonderful favourite outdoor places, Dartmoor is a living community. Using local businesses is just one way you can help this special place to thrive.