Visiting Dartmoor National Park British Nature At It’s Most Splendid

September 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Destinations

Just a few miles inwards from the South Devon Coast is the ancient Dartmoor National Park. It covers an area of 368 square miles and offers visitors a mix of superb scenery and legendary history. Dartmoor also has one of the most prominent moors to be found anywhere in Britain.

Many visitors view Dartmoor as a wonderful and diverse place – indeed it offers a multiple range of terrains from it’s tors and woodlands to rambling countryside, grass covered hills and river valleys.

The tors formations are actually quite splendid – the granite while being a very tough substance is vulnerable to chemical deterioration. This means that the acids in rain attacks the surface of the granite causing it to disintegrate into various shapes and colours.

Those who enjoy outdoor activities will have plenty to do in Dartmoor – just a sample of these include fishing, trekking and cycling.

Things To Do & Towns To Visit In Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor is made up of various small villages and towns – one of the very enjoyable experiences of visiting Dartmoor is the chance to drive from one to the other while taking in the great scenery en route. From Tavistock in the west to Ashburton in the east, there’s plenty to do and see in Dartmoor.

Entire books have been written on Dartmoor – so the following is just a brief description of some the places and activities that you can enjoy here:

· Check out the main visitor centre located in Okehampton. This town also houses the Museum of Dartmoor Life.

· Okehampton Castle is worth a visit – this is located in Cranmere Pool and these ruins are the remains of what was once the biggest castle in Devon.

· Walking & trekking opportunities are abundant all over Dartmoor – specific places of interest to walkers include South Okehampton, Princetown, Chagford and Postbridge. There are also specific routes popular with more experienced trekkers – for instance, Templar Way (18 miles) and West Devon Way (14 miles). Books on walking in Devon are also available in the information centres dotted around the park (Okehampton, Tavistock, Ashburton, Ivybridge and a couple of other locations).

· There are also plenty of routes for those keen on cycling, and it’s possible to hire bikes in Tavistock. The Dartmoor Way is a 90 mile cycle route that includes many of the parks towns including Okehampton, Tavistock and Buckfastleigh.

· Other outdoor activities available in Dartmoor include horse & pony rides, fishing and climbing.

· In the East lies the pleasant town of North Bovey – this is a great place to see quaint thatched cottages dating back to the 17th century. Yet another place to marvel at picture-perfect thatched cottages is in the charming little town of Buckland In The Moor. This lovely town faces onto woodlands and is also by the River Webburn (which joins up with the famous river Dart).

· Expect to see many Ponies grazing along the stretches of grassland while you drive through Dartmoor National Park.

· Buckfastleigh is home to Buckfast Abbey – one of the most visited icons in Devon. The Abbey dates back to 1018. Also in Buckfastleigh are the Dartmoor otter sanctuary and the Buckfast Butterflies Exhibition (where several exotic butterflies can be seen in an exotic environment).

· Postbridge is a small town in the centre of Dartmoor National Park – aside from being popular with walkers, the town is famous for it’s “Clapper Bridge” (granite bridges dating as far back as the 13th Century) which goes over the East Dart River.

· Another quiet town with sublime cottages and green surroundings is Widecombe In The Moor. Aside from it’s beauty, this location is famous for The Church House – dating back to 1537.

· The little town of Chagford is nestled just above the River Teign and is also worth a visit just to amble around the neat town square. Be sure to visit Market House while you’re there.

The Darkside Of Dartmoor – The Gruesome Gubbinses

In Lydford Gorge in the 15th century a “half human” tribe of creatures are said to have existed and caused much terror and fear to the locals. While this may sound like a myth or old wives tale to make children behave, the Gubbinses did in fact exist. They stole cattle, kidnapped or robbed travellers and there are reports that suggest that they were cannibals.


Things To See And Do In Durham For The Nature Enthusiast

September 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Destinations

With an endless list of fascinating things to see and do, it’s not surprising that Durham gets an astounding 5.2 million visitors every year. Most of them come to experience the wealth of nature and science activities that this amazing city offers.

You’d need to spend more than a day to take in everything at The Museum of Life and Science, an innovative, state-of-the-art outdoor and indoor, science-technology centre.

The ‘Explore the Wild’ exhibit at this museum takes you on a fascinating journey down a 750-foot boardwalk where you can see lemurs, red wolves and black bears in a preserved natural setting. There are plenty of opportunities to look closely into this dynamic natural landscape through the many natural observation areas, outdoor microscopes, field cameras and cutting edge technology.

The Museum also houses the largest butterfly house on the East coast, The Magic Wings Butterfly House. This three-storey tall tropical conservatory houses thousands of exotic and rare species of butterflies along with tropical rainforest trees, a flowering meadow and beds of colorful flowers as well as a stream garden.

Also at the Museum is the Bayer CropScience Insectarium, featureing over 25 species of native and exotic insects, insect predators and a vast assortment of mounted specimens from across the world.

The Duke Lemur Center, a research and study center is home to the 260 lemurs, the largest population of these pro-simians outside of their native Madagascar. You need to make an appointment in advance to enter.

Ramble around the unique rock formations and the fascinating wildflowers at Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve, an 84-acre peninsula that is formed by the Eno River.

Rollingview State Recreation Area, along the shores of Falls Lake lets you enjoy nature at its best with plenty of bird-watching, fishing, boating & sailing, water surfing, swimming and water skiing as well as hiking and camping.

For kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts the Frog Hollow Canoe & Kayak Service offers guided individual as well as group tours.

Visit the colorful 55-acre Sarah P. Duke Gardens. With over 200 species of exotic flowers it’s no wonder it is often called the “Crown Jewel of Duke U

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