Tarka Trail




Location: Sticklepath
OS map: OL28 Dartmoor
Length: 4.8 km/3 miles
Length of Tarka Trail section: 3.2 km/2 miles
Time: 2 hours 30 mins
Sat nav postcode: EX20 2NW


  • Explore the historic villages of Sticklepath and Belstone
  • Views of the Taw valley, Belstone and the surrounding countryside


Sticklepath is a village set amid the beautiful Dartmoor countryside. Its name derives from the Saxon ‘staecle’, meaning ‘steep’, as it lies at the foot of a high mount. Sticklepath is home to Finch foundry, the last remaining water-powered forge in England that in its heyday made 400 tools a day; sickles, scythes and shovels for West Country farmers and miners. Finch Foundry is managed by The National Trust and is open to visitors.

Belstone is a quaint little village that has kept much of its character and architecture. The village church originated in 1260 but the present building dates from the 14th and 15th century though there was a major restoration in 1881. The church contains an incised granite cross that has been dated to between the 7th and the 9th centuries.

Belstone also has its own ‘jail’, although it is actually a holding pen for stray sheep.

The Route

Walking conditions vary from tarmac country lanes to muddy woodland paths.

This walk starts outside the Finch Foundry in the centre of Sticklepath. With the foundry on your left, head up the road and turn left down the lane where the main road bends to the right.

After about 500 metres on this lane take the track to your left which opens out into an informal parking area. Follow this track along the north of the river to Belstone village. Through Belstone keep left, past the ‘jail’ out onto the wide-open village common with views up to Cosdon Hill and out over the Cleave.

Find the path over the hill before dropping down to the bridge over the river. Follow the path up the hill to the pillow mounds and out across the side of the open hill to the edge of the walled Skaigh Warren.

Keep the wall on your left until you turn left through the gate and follow the bridleway off the moor back down into the woods and round onto the road at Sticklepath.

A short walk up the road to your left takes you back to the foundry.

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