Views across Dartmoor from Brentor Church

Things to see and do between Roadford Lake Lodges and Tavistock

In this piece, we thought we’d focus on a few things to do and see along the route between Roadford Lake and the famous market town of Tavistock to give you some ideas whilst staying at Roadford Lake Lodges. Just 10 minutes from our Roadford Lake Lodges, is the A386 off the A30 at the Sourton junction towards Tavistock, a scenic road with breathtaking views up to the dramatic North West edge of the moor. We think it is well worth taking the drive as along the road, before reaching the delightful market town of Tavistock, there’s so much to see and enjoy. Tavistock itself is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, great for foodies and packed full of independent shops with daily markets, it’s simply a must for any visitor.

The Pump and Pedal is a café and cycle shop that can be found directly off the A30 at the Sowton turn-off for Tavistock – less than 10 minutes from the lodges. It has a friendly café with good, local simple cafe food and a helpful team in the cycle shop and repair centre. Well worth a stop especially if you’re planning to enjoy this section of the Granite Way cycle path. For more information including opening hours, visit their website. 

The Pump and Pedal cafe

Photo by kind permission of the Pump and Pedal

Just down the same lane is Devon Cycle Hire if you are looking to hire bikes and helmets etc. Again, a friendly team is there to help you and there’s a nice little café there as well! See their website for prices and opening times. Both the above offer quick and easy access to the Granite Way cycle path.

The Granite Way

The Granite Way is 11 miles of cycle trail between Okehampton and Lydford along the northwestern edge of Dartmoor. The path is easy, traffic-free and surfaced throughout so suitable at all times of the year and for everyone – walkers too. If you’re interested here’s an informative map which we find really useful.

Bearslake Inn

Bearslake Inn

Bearslake Inn is within the small hamlet of Lake a little further along the A386 and is a great place to stop for a drink or a meal, not easy to miss right alongside the A386 with its thatched roof, easy parking and great scenery backdrop. It has an interior full of character and charm and plenty of outdoor seating if the weather is kind. You will also find discount cards in your lodge for 10% off a meal there (excluding special days and bank holidays). The Granite Way cycle path runs directly behind the pub if you’re cycling so easy to access. The pub is very dog friendly and a great place if walking on Dartmoor – wonderful tors nearby include Sourton Tor, Corn Ridge and Great Links Tor and visit the awesome 70’ high granite ‘Lake Viaduct’ dating from the Nineteenth Century all just a short walk away.

Road to Widgery Cross on Dartmoor

The Lydford Farm Shop

Right along the A386 just at the turning down to Lydford is a great little farm shop with a wonderful range of local and quality foods for sale. Their very friendly team source everything as close to home as possible to maintain the freshest produce and the lowest carbon footprint whilst supporting the local economy. They sell local honey, eggs, meat, fruit and vegetables, as well as freshly baked bread and pasties (which you can always smell when you enter!) along with speciality pickles and some wonderful local cheeses, fudge, ice cream and much more. For some additional information about the shop click here.

Lydford Farm shop

Lydford Village

Lydford village is found at the end of the 11-mile Granite Way cycle path (the other end from Okehampton) and is steeped in ancient history. If you’re interested, the link gives you some more information.

Lydford Castle

Lydford Castle

Lydford Castle with free entry this ruined castle is well worth visiting if you like your history, with a rich Saxon and Medieval past including its time as a prison used for enforcing the laws that regulated both Dartmoor’s forest and also is very important to the tin industry at the time.

The Castle Inn

The Castle Inn at Lydford is a great place to stop if you are looking for a nice meal or drink. As they say on their website, this 16th Century inn is a friendly pub with “low ceilings, wonky walls, open fires and character in abundance”. On a sunny day, it offers a delightful garden to sit in.

Lydford Gorge and waterfall

Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge – just down river from the village is The National Trust’s spectacular gorge – the deepest river gorge in the South West. Carved by the River Lyd which tumbles through it, you enter “… a prehistoric world filled with lush green growth and wildlife …” and we’d agree it really does feel like you’ve entered another world! You can enjoy a few trails of differing lengths including the Lydford Gorge trail which takes around 2.5 hours and includes the towering Whitelady Waterfall and dramatic Devil’s Cauldron, the shorter Railway path and the popular Waterfall trail. There are two tea rooms offering really good refreshments. Sensible walking shoes are advised as the ground is uneven and can be a bit slippery!
For more information including opening times, visit their website.

Widgery Cross on Dartmoor

Walking on Dartmoor

Returning to the A386, there are some wonderful walks along this edge of Dartmoor and it is worth looking into what you could take advantage of depending upon how long or short, easy or challenging walks you are looking for. One notable walk along this stretch we’d recommend is up to Widgery Cross on Bray (or Brat) Tor. Widgery Cross, constructed of blocks of granite, is the highest cross on Dartmoor at nearly 13’, erected to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887- by William Widgery a hugely successful and famous Dartmoor landscape artist. There is a free car park not far from the base of the Tor which can be reached by turning up a track which runs alongside the Dartmoor Inn on the A386. It is approximately a 45-minute walk to the top – a good climb, although not one of the highest tors at 454 metres it’s definitely well worth the truly spectacular view! Best avoid it in May as it’s a key area involved in the huge annual Ten Tors event!

The Dartmoor Inn

The Dartmoor Inn is another great place to stop for a drink or some good food with its cosy interior and award-winning country dining.

Views across Dartmoor from Brentor Church

Driving on towards Mary Tavy before Tavistock you will cross Blackdown – a stretch of relatively flat moorland with spectacular views of the western edge of Dartmoor. To the west, there are great views of Brentor Church perched at the top of its very own tor and, we believe, the highest working church in England – an ancient church that can be seen literally for miles!

Cholwell riding stables on Dartmoor

Cholwell Riding Stables

A little further along you will find Cholwell Riding Stables. The riding stables is a family-run business that has been providing escorted rides and riding lessons on Dartmoor for nearly forty years.
Situated next to the famous ‘Wheal Betsy’ silver and lead mine, they are perfectly located to ride straight out onto Dartmoor allowing you to admire Dartmoor’s breathtaking views from a different perspective! They cater for all types of riders from the complete novice to the most experienced rider with their range of lovely horses. For more details see Cholwell Riding Stables

Tavistock and Bedford Hotel

The Stannary town of Tavistock

A short drive away you reach the market town of Tavistock – what can we say about this ancient stannary town? There is so much to say – and we are biased and love it dearly! There’s a good deal to see and do in this vibrant town right on the edge of the moor. From its famous, ancient pannier market, (rebuilt in the mid-nineteenth century), its Victorian Guildhall, its Guildhall Gateway Centre and Tavistock Museum run by knowledgeable volunteers, its Wharf arts centre with cinema and regular live music events, Meadowlands swimming pool, and The Meadows a pleasant green space for the family to relax along the canal.

Tavistock Guildhall

Photo by kind permission of Tavistock Guildhall

As well as all of that, Tavistock has a great range of shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s locally rumoured that the cream tea originated in Tavistock, served by monks to workers restoring the Abbey after a Viking attack! Who knows, but you can certainly enjoy a choice of delicious cream teas today in the many cafes and restaurants around town!

There is a superb community spirit in Tavistock, they even have their own Tavistock Gift Card which is accepted by many of their local businesses and encourages people to spend in their local town.
For more ideas and information about Tavistock visit their website.

Tavistock Markets

Situated at the very heart of the historic town of Tavistock is the ancient Pannier Market. The Market was granted its Royal Charter in 1105 and has survived without a break for over 900 years.

Today, this wonderful indoor market attracts customers from far and wide, all revelling in the quality and variety of products on offer. Open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm each week.

Every 2nd, 4th & and 5th Saturday of the month the square hosts the popular Farmers’ Market, voted one of the best in the South West, with stalls selling fresh local produce.

The Butchers’ Hall hosts the Tavi Arts Market, every 1st Saturday of the month, here you can find high-quality, handmade wares from local artists and unique products not found on the high street, well worth a visit.

Whatever you’ve enjoyed that day, it’s only a short drive back to Roadford Lake Lodges to put your feet up, maybe relax in the hot tub and enjoy a good meal in your stylish and cosy lodge.

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