Lakeside airstreams in Fernworthy Forest

Woodland walks, lakeside picnics, and Bronze Age ruins are the highlights of this Dartmoor forest.

77% (11 reviews)
77% (11 reviews)

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Lakeside airstreams in Fernworthy Forest guide

Overview

Set on the banks of the Fernworthy Reservoir at the heart of the Dartmoor National Park, Fernworthy Forest has some of the NP’s most rewarding short walks. Follow the lakeside trail, enjoy bird-watching or fish for brown trout around the lake, then stop for a picnic by the lakeside. Hikers can choose from a variety of forest trails. Explore Bronze Age stone circles, follow scenic woodland walks, and spot herds of native Dartmoor ponies grazing the moors. There are no campsites at Fernworthy Forest, but wild camping is permitted—pitch your tent beneath the trees for a real back-to-nature experience.

When to go

July and August are the peak season in Dartmoor National Park, and popular spots such as Fernworthy Forest can get crowded—parking is limited, so get there early. Forest walks can be enjoyed year-round, but it’s most magical in autumn, with its canopy of fall foliage. Dartmoor weather is notoriously changeable, so pack a sweater and raincoat even in summer.

Know before you go

  • Fernworthy Forest is located north of Dartmoor National Park, about a 15-minute drive southwest of Chagford. There is a pay and display car park by the entrance to the forest.
  • Restrooms are located at the forest car park, but there are no other facilities, so bring everything you need with you. The closest village is Chagford, which has a few pubs and small shops. 
  • Trout fishing is possible on the lake between March and October, and fishing permits can be purchased on-site. 
  • Parts of the lakeside trail are accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
  • Dartmoor National Park is one of the few places in the UK where wild camping is permitted. Tents must be pitched away from roads and attractions, and large group camping is not allowed. 
  • Dartmoor has free-roaming ponies, sheep, and cattle, and these animals have the right of way on moorland roads. There is a strict speed limit of 40 mph throughout. It is a fineable offense to feed any of the animals in the park, and visitors are also advised to keep a distance for their own safety—these are feral animals and may kick or bite.

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