England is blessed with many and a great many historical features which drawn millions of visitors to the country each year. The South West of the country is especially popular with the native British and foreign visitors alike because it offers some of the most beautiful scenery and a more forgiving climate by which to enjoy the many coastal and inland areas.
The county of Devon, one of England’s largest counties, is noteworthy for its two distinct coastlines and equally dramatic it’s two national parks that consist of extensive moorlands in the south and more rolling landscape to the north. To be accurate Dartmoor to the south of the county is entirely in Devon whilst Exmoor further north straddles both Devon and its neighboring county of Somerset. Never the less both offer a wonderful opportunity to see extensive areas of unspoiled beauty and a visit to the region would not be complete without visiting even just a small part of these amazing moorlands.
Dartmoor consists of 368 square miles of rugged land variously punctuated by deceptively deep bogs, majestic outcrops of granite rock and at times the most wonderful array of colorful gorse that seems to soften this often harsh and unforgiving canvas. Exmoor in contrast sits in 267 square miles of more diverse landscape featuring rolling hills, moorland, forest and coastline. Naturally unless you expect to stay in the region for some considerable time it would be impossible to cover both moorlands in their entirety and thus it is probably wise to spend a few days in the vicinity of each to really enjoy the full experience. The wonderful thing about this part of the country is that there is so much to see without having to spend a fortune. If you are a lover of nature and the outdoors, then you will find plenty to satisfy your cravings and even if you are not a fan of walking very far, riding across the moors either in your own vehicle, public transport or on an organized tour will be delightful.
As the moors are designated national parks they are protected by some fairly specific laws. However, there is no need to let this dissuade you from exploring. There are numerous roadways through both regions and more walking, cycling or horse riding trails and paths then you could possibly cover. It is wise to be mindful of the weather if you are keen on serious hiking as both of the moors are known for the often-quick onset of dense mist, especially in the winter months, which can make navigating the sparsely populated areas a bit tricky. However good preparation and common sense will ensure a safe visit. In addition, the wildlife of both moorlands is spectacular, and some species are common only to these areas. The ponies on both moors are named for the moor they reside in and the Exmoor ponies are considered a rare breed with only a few hundred surviving and having changed little in the many years they have existed. Flora and fauna abound in both these spectacular regions so be sure to venture to Devon and explore the wilds of the moors!