I read recently that Bodmin Moor is less popular with visitors than Dartmoor because it has so few marked footpaths. There are numerous ‘routes’ across the moor but they are far less worn by foot traffic and in most cases not marked at all. But this is one of the reasons I and many others find this place so alluring.
Bodmin Moor is more manageable than Dartmoor, you can feel completely alone and ‘out in the wilds’ while in reality you are just a few miles from civilisation. Don’t misunderstand me however, it is easy to get lost, especially when the weather is so unpredictable.
Without the marked paths you have to use landmarks, such as the tors, to guide you and these can very quickly vanish into a blanket of impenetrable fog! My main piece of advice is never go walking without a good map. If nothing else it will help you pick out what you are seeing in the landscape around you. I use OS Explorer 109 Bodmin Moor.
Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love getting out on the moors. If I lived nearer I think I would be out there everyday. I just love the landscape, the peace and the feeling I get when I can see no one else for miles around, apart from the odd sheep!(Easier in the winter when there are fewer visitors and worse weather!) There is something about it that feeds my soul.
It is nearly impossible for me to pick my favourite places partly because I still have so much left to explore! But here are my highlights so far:
- Garrow Tor
This has been a favourite walk of mine for years now. Parking at Case Hill and walking out across the downs to the mysterious King Arthurs Hall, then past a stone circle to the spooky patch of woodland and on around Garrow. I have written about in a short story. And I daydream about living in one of the ruined cottages in the valley at the base of the tor near the De Lank river. There is an enormous amount of history here and I think you can feel it. Huts circles on the slopes date back to the Bronze Age. It is an area of the moor I happily return to again and again.
- Stripple Stones
This is a really special place both historically and because of its quiet isolation. I have only been here a couple of times because I keep getting distracted by pastures new but I will always remember my first visit. Climbing Hawks Tor and looking down on the bright white stones of the circle for the first time was magic. Many of the stones have been recently restored by Heritage England you can read the full story here and the right of way to the stones is pretty new so it has only recently been opened up to the public.
- Kilmar Tor
I visited this part of the moor for the first time quite recently and I really can’t wait to get back out there. The rock formations on the top Kilmar were amazing, they felt almost otherworldly. The views across to Trewortha, Sharp and Bearah tors were absolutely stunning! I am looking forward to a return visit and learning a lot more about this area.
- Logan Rock, Louden Hill
Ever since I first heard about logan rocks when I was a child I have been fascinated by them and the many stories that surround them. Perhaps the most famous one is down west not far from the Minack Theatre but it was knocked from its natural pivot years ago. I had started to believe that there weren’t any rocking stones left until I visited the one on Louden Hill. It really rocks!! Add to that the views of Rough Tor and Stannon and Fernarce stone circles and this is one of my all time favourite parts of the moor.
- Leskernick Hill
I spent a few weeks one summer working out on this part of the moor with a clearance team and during that time we hardly saw another soul – just a couple of lost Belgians and a man walking to John O’Groats! It is a truly awesome stretch of scenery. In a small area you can find medieval tin works, 2 bronze age stone circles and whole village of ancient hut circles, a hilltop carne and a very unusual propped stone. There are usually packs of semi-wild ponies for company and epic views from the top of the hill. What more could you ask for? I park at Westmoorgate and walk from there.
So those are just a few of my highlights, my advice is just get out there and enjoy it!
Don’t forget to wear good (waterproof) footwear especially in winter! I always have a hat for protection from the sun in the summer and the wind in the colder months. I never go anywhere without snacks and water and I always carry my wet weather gear and a jumper even on fine days. Don’t forget your map and Paul White’s book gives some ideas on some interesting shortish walks.