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Dartmoor, Cornwall September 2014 - Where to Stay?

We'd like to tour Dartmoor/Cornwall by car and do some easy walks for a week in mid-September of next year on our trip over from the US. Because we'd like to get more bang for our buck, we thought to let self-catering accommodations somewhere in the middle of the two and use that as our base. We've been to Dartmoor twice before but Cornwall will be new ground. I'm poking around these boards looking for places that are a must-see while we're in the area (yep, we already know to avoid the "Devil's Toe Nail) but if you also have suggestions for great sites to see, that would be super, too. We like history, art, antiques, prefer villages to towns but a village-like town is okay (grin). At the moment, though, we'd like to buckle down on the accommodations even though we're almost a year away. Driving won't be an issue - my husband is an expat (Britain) so he's familiar with driving narrow roads. Thanks!

Posted by
837 posts

On the southern shore, Falmouth is charming and large enough to have eating choices. On the norther shore, St. Ives and Mousehole have charm. I wouldn't recommend Penzance.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks, David. I should also like to mention that we're planning to do some hikes and letterboxing on Dartmoor. Is staying in Cornwall the better choice of the two counties?

Posted by
521 posts

Gale, I think you should spend some time with a map and look at the places you want to see in Cornwall. If Dartmoor is the only place you want to go in Devon then that makes it easier, but driving times are longer than you expect down there and I'd be looking for somewhere central and not too far from the A30 or one of the other main roads that go north east to south west.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you, Kevin. I've grabbed a copy of Rick Steve's England which has a tiny bit about Dartmoor and Cornwall, and a meatier book by Rough Guides on Devon and Cornwall. I'm reading those as we speak. I was hoping to get a few recommendations from personal experience or local knowledge, of accommodations between Dartmoor and Cornwall. We were looking at self-catering but are now also considering the option of B&B's. Staying at a B&B would give us a bit more flexibility for 'home base' as we could split the visit.

Posted by
26023 posts

letterboxing I'm curious. I'm definitely a recreational walker but no hiker. I'm curious, what's letterboxing?

Posted by
5 posts

Hi, Nigel. Letterboxing actually originated on Dartmoor in the 1800s and has spread worldwide, now. A similar 'sport' is geocaching. Letterboxes are boxes containing a journal and a rubber stamp, sometimes an inkpad. In the case of Dartmoor, they're hidden in brush and among the Tors. You try to find them - much like a treasure hunt. You bring along a journal and a rubber stamp and when you find a letterbox, you stamp your journal with the stamp from the letterbox and then stamp the journal in the box with your stamp. Addictive!

Posted by
521 posts

Nigel, letterboxing is like geocaching without a GPS. You use a set of clues to letterbox locations, navigate to one using map and compass and/or the clues, and when you get there you'll hunt around for a small box which will contain a rubber stamp and a visitor book. Many letterboxers have their own stamp to put in the visitor book, or will just stamp their own book to show they've been there. I was in the scouts when we lived in Plymouth and we did a lot of letterboxing. Cuckoo Rock is the only one I can remember offhand though. EDIT: t'internet tells me Cuckoo Rock is one of the first 15 letterboxes placed on the moor, so that makes it 19th century: http://first15.blogspot.co.uk/

Posted by
988 posts

Letterboxing? Geocaching? Orienteering? I've never heard of any of them. I guess I don't get out enough. But it does sound intriguing. Is this sport limited to the UK? Do you need to have a good sense of direction to participate?

Posted by
51 posts

Elaine, Geocaching is somewhat popular in the US. My husband and I have done it a few times. It is fun and no, you don't need a really good sense of direction.

Posted by
5 posts

You can find a lot of info on letterboxing and geocaching, including how to get started and what it's about - and some clues to locations in your respective areas by googling 'letterboxing' and geocaching. Good sites for both: Letterboxing North America... (US) Atlasquest... Worldwide Geocaching... Worldwide I'd love to hear about accommodation recommendations for Dartmoor, Cornwall. We're now leaning towards B&Bs so we can be a bit more flexible with our travels in these two counties. Recommendations based on your own experiences, or local knowledge is much appreciated. We have the Rick Steve's England 2013 book which has a bit about these areas and also the Rough Guide for Devon and Cornwall but we'd love to get some additional input on accommodations.