3 Reservoirs Walk


Dartmoor covers some 954 square kilometres of granite uplands, Tors and areas of outstanding beauty that can be seen in all seasons, wet and dry. Walks on Dartmoor can be relaxing and exhilarating, calm and stormy and this walk around 3 of Dartmoor’s reservoirs was on a calm sunny day with water levels in the reservoir’s somewhat low.

What to look out for?

  • Early Summer – the rhododendrons
  • Trenchford – Pike Fishing
  • Kennick – Trout fishing

Dartmoor – 3 Reservoir Walk

For this walk I drove over to East Dartmoor to Trenchford Reservoir just past Moretonhampstead, a distance of about 17 miles from Tavistock. Not knowing the area I took the A382 from Moretonhampstead thinking there would be an easy left turn off this A road onto the road that would take me to the reservoirs.

3 reservoirs walk dartmoorThere was a left turn but onto a very narrow track which would have been difficult had it been later in the day and more traffic on the road. An easier route would be to go through Moretonhampstead and continue on the B3212 until you get to a right turn onto Pepperdon Hall Lane, this road will take you there and is somewhat wider than the other.

I arrived at Trenchford Reservoir about 9am on a Saturday morning and parked in the picnic area car park, (free stay). There was no one else around and the weather was sunny/cloudy and very quiet, I sat and enjoyed the view for a while before heading off.

I sat reading from a pathfinder book that I was given for Christmas, The walk I was about to take was featured in the book and is quite detailed and with a map was easy to read and follow. Normally I would be out finding my own walks, treading out with just a map and compass onto Dartmoor north or south but this year as I had been given the book I thought I would try these walks out.

I’d brought along Duke my black Lab who just loves the wooded walks and we both headed out of the car park eager to see the rest of the area.

From the car park I took the tarmac road, signposted to Tottiford Reservoir, carrying on down to the pier on Trenchford, as I was walking I did notice a track going parallel with me that went along the side of the reservoir and would have been a much better walk but I’m unsure as to where it stopped, I’ll check that next time I go.

The first part of Trenchford on this walk is quite small and coming round the bend onto the road I came onto the dam with a pier jutting out into the water. I’m not sure and you can see from my photo’s below whether or not the railings and gate here are original, to my untrained eye they look original and I can’t help wondering as I’m looking at the view how little it has changed since being built in 1907.

Walking on another few hundred yards I came upon Tottiford Reservoir, L shaped, the reservoir was quite low in water but still offering a stunning view first thing in the morning. Duke and I sat and took in the view by the pier at its southern end, the trees coming down to the water line almost.

We continued on going to the right side of the reservoir and along the road which was half hidden with dirt and had a canopy of trees making it quite dark as we walked through. The road took us to a Crossroads where we turned left and keeping to the road walked along it keeping Tottiford to our left. Although the next mile or so is walking on tarmac along this road you do get to see extensive and wide views across farmland, a quilt of green grass and a few cows grazing, the view covers some miles into the distance.

Keep to the road till you come across a path to your left and a bridleway to your right, at this point we leave the tarmac and head on into farmland and then woods. To gain entry to the path you have to climb a stile, unfortunately if you have a dog there is no gap for them to get through, luckily Duke is a big lab and easily jumped the stile after a few ‘C’mons’ from me.

Once in the field head toward the Iron Gate to your left, once at the gate don’t go through but turn right, keep the gate and fence to your right, you should see a worn path on the grass that heads to a small wooded area.

The day I walked this was after a month of rain, the wooded are was very boggy and wet so perhaps best walked in summer on a dry day!

Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see glimpses of the yellow arrow path signs; you’ll know you’re on the right path!

Keep walking through the woods and the line of the fence till you come across a watering tank and the fence turns abruptly right. Go right and follow the line of the wall till you come across another Iron Gate, go through the gate and keep the right edge of the field, it’s only a short walk around a few farm buildings till you come to another gate, go through that and then through the next gate about 50 yards on and left of the farm buildings.

Go through the gate and turn left and walk along the road with a stone wall to your right, after about 100 yards you will see another gate on your left, go through this and into the field, walk another 100 yards keeping to the left of the field till you come to the sign posts for paths going left and right.

This part of the path is quite boring… the woods we just travelled through were quite good; I wondered if that was an ancient track as the woods themselves looked very old. Walking through the fields seemed a chore!

From the path signs head right across the field, you should see a gate in the distance, head for that. Go through the gate and turn left, a few yards along the road you’ll see a ‘No Through Road’ symbol, head up along that road.

This road heads on up hill through conifer plantations and the road turns into a track. Continue along this track until you come to a crossroads, well its a junction of sorts. You’ll know your there as you’ll see a brick wall with a plaque on that marks the Clampitt Quakers Burial Ground (1674 – 1740).

At this point turn left, the track is quite wide and is used by tractors, horses and walkers. Keep going along this track and keep to the right of any tracks and you’ll end up at a road, cross the road and slightly to your left there is another path, I think its signposted to Kennick reservoir, take this track. Keep going along this path descending slightly until you come onto another road, climb the stile and walk a few yards along the road to Kennick Reservoir, the view to your right is quite attractive.

Look to your left and you will see a gate and sign for Tottiford Reservoir, take this path heading down among the trees, once down by the end of the reservoir, turn right and follow the path. Keep an eye out for a track that leads upwards along its right side are trees. Head up here and through more plantations. Again head across another road, the next style slightly to your left across the road, climb this and head for Trenchford Reservoir.

From this point there are several signs to keep you heading toward the car park from where we started.


January 14, 2016 |

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